This Year’s Theme :: Cloak and Dagger
“Cloak and dagger” is an English term sometimes used to refer to situations involving intrigue, secrecy, espionage, or mystery.
The phrase has two possible origins. One dates from the early 19th century, and is a translation from the French de cape et d’épée and Spanish de capa y espada (literally “of cloak and sword”). These phrases referred to a genre of swashbuckler drama in which the main characters literally wore these items. In 1840, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “In the afternoon read La Dama Duende of Calderón – a very good comedy of ‘cloak and sword’.” Charles Dickens subsequently used the phrase “cloak and dagger” in his work Barnaby Rudge a year later as a sarcastic reference to this style of drama. The imagery of these two items became associated with the archetypal spy or assassin: The cloak, worn to hide one’s identity or remain hidden from view, and the dagger, a concealable and silent weapon.