Page of Staffs - Costard
Dramatis Personae: Costard.
Text & Subtext: Costard is foil to the men of letters that crowd Love's Labors Lost. Caught copulating with Jaquenetta, he is sentenced to a week on bran and water in the custody of men themselves thin gruel and prisoners of their own fancy.
The word costard means both a dried apple used for cooking and a man's head; Costard's is either empty or full of apple custard. To Berowne he bemoans, "I suffer for the truth", and nothing could be truer - both the conceptual contraption of "truth" and the reality of Nature. Incompetent messenger to the courtiers, incapable of keeping secrets, Costard gives off warmth in a court blinded by its own light.
Tellingly perhaps, the men of learning enlist Costard's talents as a player; if or how he is remunerated is never said. Unless it be in the atavistic song and dance which crowns the play, more befitting the bucolic clown than the etiolated pedants.