Society, as it is shown in the play and as it is promised to continue beyond the play, is a self-serving conspiracy of deceit, best summed up by Pinchwife's final lament, where cuckolding is defined as deceiving others and also deceiving yourself:
29) Horner doesn't manage to really avoid any of the evils of the state of nature in his cuckolding commonwealth; he and all those who are not trustworthy create a phantasm of lies.
The two other cuckolding plotlines of the play, which center around Margery and Alithea respectively, conflict in opposite ways with the ethos of cuckolding, on the literal and epistemological level.
Although she is not really an ideal character, she cannot yet be--either literally or epistemologically--a cuckolding character either because of her naive linguistic state.
Through the pressure of all those around her, the cuckolding commonwealth, Margery lies, puts up the facade that her marriage is not violated.
Although Alithea shows how to operate in a truthful fashion in a cuckolding world, her behavior might seem hopelessly naive.
In a providential fashion--"in the nick of an exigency, for the relief of innocence"--Alithea is delivered from the hell of a cuckolding world when Harcourt places faith in her word.
We are far from the Hobbesian world of a selfish grasping after power and of exclusive materialism, and far from the realm of cuckolding meaning.
This is in its own way a form of cuckolding meaning that is performed upon the audience by the playwright, hoisting them with their own petards.
That the dance represents the whole world of the plays social relationships and of meaning itself as cuckolding is not the end of the symbolism of the dance.
The passage in question is intertextually quite important, for it exhibits the first fragment from Ariadne's Catullan lament in "Sur des vets de Virgile," one single hexameter in a context addressing marriage and, as Rabelais's Panurge too well knows, its irremediable counterpart, the cuckolding
or "cocuage" of the husband:
Douglas Canfield points out, the hierarchical dynamics in this play become most clear through comparison to the more typical cuckolding
plots of this period, such as in The London Cuckolds, where city gallants use their superior worldliness to outmaneuver the less refined husbands.
On pages 115-16, the authors recognize this, and re-instate family ties as central to political power in the second tetralogy, seemingly a contradiction of their earlier argument that if family is central to kingship, women's cuckolding
power should still be threatening.