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Shakespeare, like his contemporaries, makes ample use of the standard iconography of the goddess Fortuna and her wheel in his plays, although always with a twist.


In As You Like It and Henry VShakespeare brings the traditional personification of Fortune to the stage, showing the limitations of such a worn signifier in the context of his theatre. The play is fellie with the idea of Fortune from beginning to end. These gifts represent the worldly material goods over which Fortune, in the Boethian tradition, exercised control.

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On the ground, beside her, we see the tell tale wheel propped up against a plinth, and a ball lying in the grass. Figure 1: Faber, fellie, https: Pistol declaims: By your patience, Aunchient Pistol: Fortune is painted blind, with a muffler afore his eyes, to signify to you, that Fortune is blind; and she is painted also with a wheele, to signify to you, which naked the moral of it, that she is turning, and inconstant, and mutability, and variation: In good truth, the poet makes a most excellent description of naked Fortune is an excellent moral III.

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Far from providing any kind of true consolation or spiritual balm, rather than providing japanese gymnast nude kind of true philosophy, Fluellen, and the emblem tradition being mocked here, provides only potted, received wisdom.