PTS 06/036: Losing My Religion

BH old man yells at cloud

Titus Andronicus, Act IV

Secular authorities had (and still have) every investment in discouraging revenge.  If citizens perceive that the law no longer serves them, then we get the kind of situation that Francis Bacon famously warned of:

‘Revenge is a kind of wild justice’

And this is a point that Jonathan Bate develops, quoting Fredson Bowers:

Private action undermines the authority of the state:  Elizabethan law felt itself capable of meting out justice to murderers, and therefore punished an avenger who took justice into his own hands just as heavily as the original murderer.  The authorities, conscious of the Elizabethan inheritance of private justice from earlier ages, recognised that their own times still held the possibilities of serious turmoil; and the were determined that private revenge should not unleash a general disrespect for law.

Act IV however adds the dimension of the breakdown of DIVINE justice to the individual’s decision to subvert the legal process.

Continue reading “PTS 06/036: Losing My Religion”

Tennis-balls, my liege …

BH tennis balls
No, YOU eat it!

(subtitled: it’s not life and death, it’s just Wimbledon, sigh.  Now can I have my radio back, please?)

It’s not that long ago that I effectively promised that the blog’s ventures into the real world would remain topical rather than political – that when major sporting events were on I would give them as much treatment as the current political situation.

I despise Wimbledon.  With a passion you could only vaguely grope at, like a sixteen-year-old boy trying to cop his first feel in the back row of the cinema.  Assuming that sort of thing even happens nowadays – they seem to be too busy on social media, throwing popcorn, or trying to record the film on their smartphones.

Continue reading “Tennis-balls, my liege …”

My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk (says Jeremy Corbyn)

BH HC Agincourt troops
We happy few … who voted Labour.

I’ve got a 4-period day tomorrow, so I could do with an early night.  Instead, I put a pizza in the oven at about 11pm …

Thanks a bunch, exit polls.

Yesterday, I explored how Shakespeare might vote in today’s General Election.  Reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that he and I might avoid discussing politics over our ale – a bit like I have to with my dad, to be honest.

Continue reading “My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk (says Jeremy Corbyn)”

What country, friends, is this?

BH castle-dracula
The hotel didn’t look like this in the brochure … !

Subtitled:  Vampire hunting in Shakespeare …

Five down, one to go.  The end of the penultimate half-term of the school year brings a sense of giddy euphoria.  And, just for once, I’m actually having a holiday … I’ll be spending next week in Transylvania.  This is the final instalment of a ‘Dracula’ pilgrimage which has seen me move eastwards: from actually being quite scared at the Bram Stoker museum in Dublin; to standing in schoolboyish excitement on the beach at Whitby, on the spot where the Demetr would have grounded, vomiting Dracula onto the shore in the form of a huge black dog; and now to the Carpathians

Has this got anything to do with Shakespeare?  Shouldn’t I just blog about this somewhere else?

Continue reading “What country, friends, is this?”

PTS 04/018 It’s Not You … It’s Me

BH christopher sly

The Taming of the Shrew (Induction)

For a while now, it’s been a vague ambition of mine to catalogue, mind map, or in some other way classify Shakespeare’s comedy, both in the comedic plays and elsewhere.  In doing so I AM mindful (for those who know their SF) of the Asimov short, ‘Jokester’ (1956), where finally getting an answer as to why humans laugh results in humour dying forever …

Still, I’m always and increasingly drawing intertextual links between and beyond Shakespeare’s plays, and this is what strikes me about what Arden calls the ‘Induction’ – the Christopher Sly frame.  It’s a cousin, maybe an ancestor, of the Rabelaisean idea of ‘Carnival’ that appears later on in:

Continue reading “PTS 04/018 It’s Not You … It’s Me”

PTS 03/014: Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable …

BH Blanche Dubois
“Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.  It is the one unforgivable thing in my opinion and it is the one thing of which I have never, never been guilty.”  (BLANCHE:  A Streetcar Named Desire (scene 10), Tennessee Williams)

Henry VI part III: Act I

So …

Part III begins, as Part II ended, with Warwick, perhaps reinforcing his role as ‘kingmaker’, and with the suspicion – to be dealt with later, maybe – that Henry is a ‘Jonah’ on the battlefield.  Whoever’s side he appears on (note I don’t say ‘fights’ on) he seems to suck the fighting spirit out of the army like a Dementor whose puppy has just been killed in a hit-and-run accident …

Continue reading “PTS 03/014: Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable …”

PTS 02/010 The Early Modern Period Hunger Games?

BH PST 02:010 Hunger
On your marks … get set … GLOUCESTER!

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 …

Continue reading “PTS 02/010 The Early Modern Period Hunger Games?”