For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground, and tell sad stories of the death of kings …
PTS read-through: Richard II, act III (part ONE)
Witnessing the utter disintegration of a human being – even a fictional one – is, I’d suggest, an uneasy, distressing experience. And yet …
Voyeuristic shame accompanies the compulsion to keep spectating what is usually such a private affair. My first experience of this type of slow-mo car-crash literature was Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, when I was about 12. It scarred me – I’ve never quite been able to revisit Michael Henchard’s self-induced immolation; it also, I think, gave me my first seductive bittersweet taste of tragedy. Like that initial stolen underage drink, whilst I wasn’t quite sure I liked it, I wanted another – just to be certain.
Richard’s collapse is the most devastatingly beautiful in Shakespeare, perhaps in the wider canon: it begins here, spanning three poignant acts.
Continue reading “PTS 11/066: Alas, poor Richard …”
Who gives this woman away?
(For non-students, this is part of a series for my A Level students looking at important secondary texts which will assist their studies.)
Gayle Rubin, ‘The Traffic in Women: Notes on the “Political Economy” of Sex’ (1975)
An [If] you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;
And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee
(Lord Capulet, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, sc v)
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her:
Which shall be either to this gentleman
Or to her death, according to our law.
(Egeus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act I, sc I)
Not much fun, being a teenage girl in Shakespeare’s day, was it? These intelligent, independent and emotional young women must often have felt like second-class citizens …
Continue reading “Cultural Capital 04: Gayle Rubin, ‘The Traffic In Women’”
Ponytail Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act III.
Like so many of Shakespeare’s villains (and here perhaps I have Iago uppermost in mind) Proteus is a decent dissimulator, and Act III begins with his breathless betrayal of his best friend.
How does Shakespeare make Proteus credible?
Continue reading “PTS 05/029: Would I Lie To You?”