Similarly to Merry Report who was reluctant to reveal his name to Jupiter, Ambidexter from Cambises (1558-69) (10) is creating suspense too by delaying disclosure of who he is, what name he is called by.
After Ambidexter has fought with the ruffians and taken part in the lewd and comic conversation with Meretrix in scene 2, at the beginning of scene 3 he prepares to meet Sisamness and says he will behave like a gentleman: "Beholde where he cometh, I wil him meet: / And like a gentleman I meane him to greet" (305-6).
Family Processidae Ambidexter
symmetricus Manning and Chace 1971
Similarly, this is another way in which he recalls the dramatic descendant of the Lord of Misrule in the medieval moralities, the Vice character, who stands, according to Robert Weimann, 'on the threshold between the play and the community occasion' and who, as an 'ambidexter
', is 'both object of and spokesman for the attack' on vice (Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition, pp.
Though the man's even temper and discreet bearing would seem to intimate a mind peculiarly subject to the law of reason, not the less in heart he would seem to riot in complete exemption from that law, having apparently little to do with reason further than to employ it as an ambidexter
implement for effecting the irrational.
Hephaestus is known as the ambidexter
(Hesiod, Theogony 571, 579; Erga 70).
de ambo et de dexter dicitur ambidexter
: esclanchiers 21.
Phillip Stubbes equated this duplicity of form with the figure of Ambidexter
, the "doble-dealing" Vice of Cambyses.
She identifies in Ambidexter
in Cambyses a 'cultural anxiety about acting's social and political subversiveness, which extends to the tyrant's acting', and further complicates the presentation of the tyrant in drama.
The only point of connection between the two narratives lies in the antics of the Vice, Ambidexter
, who seeks to corrupt nobles and commoners alike.
If he was not born a tyrant, Cambises is clearly shown to be predisposed to behave like a tyrant, and the Vice Ambidexter
brings Cambises' wicked qualities to the fore.
For instance, in Cambises Ambidexter
introduces the plot and characters and narrates offstage events, as when he promises the destruction of the judge Sisamnes (155-6), introduces Cambises's brother (621), and describes the wedding feast (938-50).