Scene 3 (of 12) : Good Counsel and the Vices

lines 554-1034

The entrance of Good Counsel returns the world of the play to the reason of Diligence’s opening speech. Good Counsel, however, tells the audience that she is powerless to act because Rex Humanitas is under the control of Sensuality. This is a potential moment of reflection for the audience with Good Counsel implicitly questioning the extent to which the audience itself has been seduced by Sensuality and her charms.

After Good Counsel withdraws from the centre of the stage (although not entirely from the play), the three vices enter: Flattery, Falset, and Deceit. Although these three figures seem to share some characteristics with Wantonness, Placebo, and Solace they are in fact very different. The vices are evil whereas the courtiers are human flaws. This difference is reflected in the way that the play constructs the different approaches the courtiers and vices have towards Rex Humanitas. The courtiers do tell Rex to indulge himself, but they do so in a straightforward way. There is no real deception, albeit their advice is clearly flawed and sinful. Flattery, Falset, and Deceit, on the other hand, plot to deceive Rex Humanitas for their own benefit. They adopt new names, Devotion, Sapience, and Discretion, in order to enter his service and to plunder the realm. Good Counsel then tries to approach Rex Humanitas but is rebuffed by the vices. She leaves them, however, in no doubt that she can see through their disguises. The scene ends with Rex Humanitas clearly under the thrall of Sensuality and with the vices in effective control of the land.

Try your hand at re-editing the film of this scene from the directors original camera feeds at the interactive part of the website:


Live Performance, Film and Viewer



  • Thierri Vieira dos Santos says:

    A very interesting video. I have studied this very scene in a Scottish Literature course at Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil) taught by Professor John Corbett. It is great to be able to see a staging of it. Congratulations!

    • Dan Goren says:

      Thank you Thierri!

      We’re planning to include this scene in our online video editing application which will allow visitors to this website the opportunity to explore hands-on how modern film directing choices affect how the scene is perceived. We’ll let you know when it’s ready. As someone with prior knowledge of the scene, we’d love to hear your thoughts.