SCENES OF TRIAL abound in Renaissance drama, and they have almost received the critical attention they deserve. Not so the curious phenomenon of the ‘false trial’. Dramatic plots presented as trials often call into question the ostensible certainty of the knowledge arrived at through legal means. In Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, Helena uses producible tokens such as rings to prove that her marriage to Bertram has been made indissoluble by the fact that although he thought he was sleeping with Diana he was in fact tricked into bed with her. The play shares with many others an insight into the fragile relation between truths of intention and demonstrable proofs which in legal contexts often take the form of Aristotle's inartificial signs rather than the artificial or inherently probable...

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