In keeping with his penchant for double-dealing, Ambidexter both echoes and expands on the commoners' grievances against the king.
9) The commoners and Ambidexter thus highlight Cambises's growing cruelty towards his subjects, and his counsellors' failure to curtail his tyranny.
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).
Ambidexter proves to be a forerunner of Iago when he very skilfully makes the King suspicious of his brother, no matter how ungrounded this suspicion is.
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.
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).
The appearance of Ambidexter ('Enter the Vice with an olde Capcase on his hed, an olde pail about his hips for harness, a Scummer and a potlid by his side and a rake on his shoulder', Cambises stage direction after 125) would presumably have produced at least a smile from most members of the audience.
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.
More importantly, however, Shame's confession exonerates Ambidexter from blame for Cambises' decline, since the king has not even met the Vice at this stage in the drama.