Light of love

In his Shakespeare talk, which is studded with countless phrases from the bard's works, and again in Circe, Stephen uses a term for promiscuity that he has encountered in Much Ado about Nothing: "light-of-love." In Circe the phrase also shows up in Bloom's mouth: "No, no worshipful master, light of love." Here the Shakespearean diction of Much Ado overlaps curiously with the language of Freemasonry to produce a sentence that can be read in radically different ways, painting Bloom either as a morally upstanding and reasonable man or as a clownish and lewd figure.

John Hunt 2023

Hess Burgler as Hero, Lara Mielcarek as Beatrice, Juliana Blischak as Margaret, and Katie Zarecki as Ursula in a 2015 Ohio Shakespeare Festival production of Much Ado About Nothing. Source:

William Chappell's 1859 transcription of a page from William Ballet's late 16th or early 17th century Lute Book, held in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, showing the lute part for "Light of Love." Source:

Note cards for a Master of the Lodge. Source:

Dogberry, Verges, and the Watch in a print by an unknown artist.

Michael Keaton as Dogberry in the 1993 film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Source: