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The Unfortunate Traveller by Thomas Nash

The Concept of Disguise in Tomas Nashe ‘s Novel The Unfortunate Traveller , or the Life of Jack Wilton The sixteenth century novel The Unfortunate Traveller , or the Life of Jack Wilton , written by Thomas Nashe , is traditionally marked as picaresque . The genre demands the presence of the so-called picaro or rogue as a central hero and is in fact a first-person description of his tricks . The current novel , however , is not a classical example of the traditionally Spanish genre . One of the peculiarities is the concept of disguise , which can be traced at different levels . In this paper I intend to show how the concept of disguise is implemented by the author not only as a traditional motif of the genre enabling the personage to play practical jokes but also at the structural level of narration splitting it into at least two voices .The very word “disguise ‘ may be understood differently , either as physical change of appearance or in a more figurative meaning as lies based on pretending . In both cases , it is associated with one of the most ancient and widely used poetic tools in world culture – that of a mask . Originating from ritualistic theatrical performance , it penetrated literary text as a literary pattern , on which characterization is being built . Mask signifies the simplistic narrative structure , close to that of a fable or parable . It is attributed to a personage , or rather a personage is confined to this or that mask , denoting one single static feature .There is a whole gallery of such mask characters in the novel , each embodying a certain vice . For example , a cider trader symbolizes greediness and cowardice the officer , whom Jack prompted to try and commit a heroic act by killing the French King , is the mask of conceited stupidity , the courtesan Tabitha embodies hypocrisy and treachery Esdras and Bartol are two absolute rascals . There are good masks in this row of knaves , like the pious Heraclide or sentimentally poetic Earl of Surrey , Wilton ‘s master and alter-ego . The most essential feature ,peculiar to all of these personages is that they are all flat ,demonstrating one or another idea , not a dynamic character .The concept of disguise can be considered a more complex version of that of a mask but it applies the conventionally static masks in a more dynamic way . In other words , disguise can be viewed as a combination of two motifs – mask and metamorphosis . In it pure meaning the concept is resorted to by the author only to depict Wilton himself . Let us consider what the role of Jack Wilton in the novel is . In fact , the personage has the two basic functions , that of a passive story-teller and the active participant of the events .As the novel is said to be a picaresque one , the main guise of Wilton is that of a picaro or rogue . Some authors , however , disagree that he is a pure example of the type . Thus , Ernest Baker writes the following :“Jack , in short , is remarkably…

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