The following pages attempt to set out a case for interpreting Summer's Last Will and Testament as satire. This theory is the product of someone whose enthusiastic enjoyment of the literature and history of the late Elizabethan period is not matched by any disciplined grounding, so sensible readers will treat these ideas with the necessary scepticism.

I formed this theory because, while there are excellent reasons for supposing dramatic satire was too risky to be attempted at this period, I think the parallels between characters and situation in the play and contemporary persons and events are too numerous to be attributed to coincidence. They must therefore be deliberate. I would say the biggest obstacles to accepting this play as satire lie not in the text, or the track record of its author, but in the particular circumstances under which it was perfomed and later published. A good part of the argument is therefore concerned with speculation as to how such an aberration occurred.

Lastly, the whole thing is unfinished. I know one should never post work-in-progress, but I have dithered over this for nearly seven years. Time to put up or shut up.

Continue (at your own risk)