Slowly but surely the Bookshelf grows to a half-decent forty. Although actually, the opposite is happening …
… for the Ides of March.
Is there any date more portentous than March 15th after a tense – if truncated – month of waiting and worrying since the frolics of The Lupercalia?
Henry VI II: Act II
Sorrow on thee and all the pack of you
That triumph thus upon my misery!
(KATHERINA, The Taming of the Shrew: IV.iii.33-34)
When the nobility goes hunting; it seems they do it in packs …
What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do,
Were all thy children kind and natural!
But see,thy fault France hath in thee found out,
A nest of hollow bosoms. (CHORUS, Henry V: II.0.18-21)
Henry VI II: Act I
It’s a strange thing, patriotism.
I’ll try to make this the final time I mention how I don’t feel especially patriotic towards England as opposed to Britain, but the beginning of the play causes me to examine my attitudes again. It probably says something about my pedantic nature that I can’t simply conflate the two. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that my Welsh girlfriend would probably dump me! Either way, I suddenly became acutely aware of an inchoate fear for the country. Ye-e-es, there was some fear for Henry, about to be eaten alive by his Queen like a hapless spider, but the sympathy I felt for Henry as a child effectively evaporated in the white heat of his ineffectuality. It facilitated of the betrayal of my new Shakespearean heroes, the Talbots, and so isn’t easily forgiven or forgotten. So it wasn’t what Margaret might or might not do to Henry that worried me. It was how she might treat England …
As I finish each play in the Ponytail Shakespeare series read-through, I’ve decided to create a soundtrack album for my own personal Shakespeare Jukebox.
NOT necessarily representative of my musical tastes, of course! Just titles or indeed lyrics that made me smile in the context of the play.
I’d love to hear what I’ve missed, so get in touch!
I wanted to reflect on the play as a whole, looking back to my ‘Expectations’ back at the end of January.
Good literature is like a magic trick. It makes you believe you are in a different time and place, and care for characters who are constructs, and react to their (also fictitious) actions as if you were a participant.
Henry VI 1: Act V
[subtitled: “It’s always the quiet ones you need to watch out for.”]
As I finished the play, it occurred to me that women play a much larger role than I might have guessed back in the heady days of January, when I started seriously thinking about this project. Perhaps I might refine that to say that French women.
What was/is it about the allure of French women to English men?