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James Shirley, pleasure, patience


At the beginning of James Shirley's The Lady of Pleasure, Aretina's Steward tells her that if she will be patient, she will have her pleasure. Aretina, who has just come up from the country, makes it clear that finding pleasure is precisely her reason for coming to London. Thus introduces to her, we assume that she is the lady of pleasure referred to in the play's title. Indeed, Aretina's constant effort throughout the play to indulge in city fun seems to confirm our first impression. But we miss the play's subtlety if we accept the obvious, for Shirley seems to be looking at pleasure in a more complex way.