Every Man out of His Humour
Every Man out of His Humour is a satirical comedy written by English playwright Ben Jonson, acted in 1599 by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. It is a conceptual sequel to his 1598 comedy Every Man in His Humour. It was much less successful on stage than its predecessor, though it was published in quarto three times in 1600 alone; it was also performed at Court on 8 January 1605.
The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers' Company on 8 April 1600 by the bookseller William Holme, who published the first quarto of the play soon after. Holmes issued a second quarto later that year, with the printing done by Peter Short. Yet a third quarto appeared in 1600, published by Nicholas Ling, the stationer who would issue the "bad quarto" of Hamlet three years later. W. W. Greg characterized Ling's Q3 as "A careless and ignorant reprint" of Q1.
Every Man Out contains an allusion to John Marston's Histriomastix in Act III, scene i, a play that was acted in the autumn of 1599; the clown character Clove speaks "fustian" in mimicry of Marston's style. This is one instance of Jonson's involvement in the War of the Theatres. Individual scholars and critics have searched Every Man Out for allusions to or covert portraits of William Shakespeare, Samuel Daniel, Michael Drayton, George Chapman, and other figures of the theatre scene, though their hypotheses have not won general acceptance. Others have found references to Sir Walter Raleigh and Gabriel Harvey. With less uncertainty, the characters Fastidious Brisk and Carlo Buffone in Every Man Out—like Hedon and Anaides in Cynthia's Revels and Crispinus and Demeter in The Poetaster—are representations of Marston and Thomas Dekker.
When the play was reprinted in Jonson's folio collection of 1616, a cast list of the original 1599 production was included. From this, it is known that the leading players were Richard Burbage, John Heminges, Henry Condell, Augustine Phillips, Thomas Pope, and William Sly. Shakespeare was not part of the production, though he had played in Every Man in His Humour the year before.
Every Man Out of His Humour includes several references to Shakespeare and his contemporaneous works: a mention of Justice Silence from Henry IV, Part 2—"this is a kinsman to Justice Silence" (V,ii) and two allusions to Julius Casear, which help to date that play to 1599. "Et tu, Brute" occurs in V,iv of Every Man Out; in III,i appears "reason long since is fled to animals," a paraphrase of Shakespeare's line "O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts" in Julius Caesar, III,ii,104. Some critics have seen a dig at Shakespeare in the coat of arms that Jonson gives his character Sogliardo in III,1, whose crest features a " boar without a head, rampant - A boar without a head, that's very rare!" and the motto "Not without mustard." The motto of Shakespeare's family coat of arms granted three years earlier was Non Sans Droit, "not without right."
- Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, Vol. 3, p. 361.
- Chambers, Vol. 3, p. 363.
- Chambers, E. K. The Elizabethan Stage. 4 Volumes, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1923.
- Halliday, F. E. A Shakespeare Companion 1564–1964. Baltimore, Penguin, 1964.