I can usually do the bawdy thing in one or two segments, but methinks Eric Partridge was right when he said that Much Ado About Nothing is the “sexual-worst” of the comedies… so here’s another bawdy entry, and the same caveats apply: dirty thoughts, nasty language, adolescent humor ahead… skip to a clean entry if you’re quickly offended or blush a tad too easily…
Whereas the first nudge-nudge-wink-wink-inducing pieces of dialogue in the firsttwo acts of Much Ado were spoken by Beatrice, the third act’s first (and albeit relatively clean) bit o’ bawdy are spoken for her benefit. As part of her gulling scene, Ursula asks why Hero has told Claudio and Pedro to counsel Benedick not to tell Beatrice of his love for her since doesn’t “the gentleman // Deserve as full a fortunate a bed // As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?” (III.i.44-6). Here, a “fortunate bed” is one that is “the scene of happy lovemaking” (“fortunate bed”, Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge, 2008; pages 140).
This week’s Shakespeare news review includes The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth, “Shakespeare didn’t say that”, Marin Shakespeare’s prison theater training workshops, “Shakespeare’s Sonnets”, and Othello: The Remix. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.
NOTE: as this concerns the further bawdiness of Much Ado About Nothing, you are forewarned that this blog entry will contain some nudge-nudge wink-wink, adult language, and sophomoric sensibilities… skip to a later and cleaner entry, if you’re quickly offended or blush too easily…
Yesterday, we discussed Act One of Much Ado About Nothing, and how it contributes to the perception of Eric Partridge (in his Shakespeare’s Bawdy) that Much Ado is the “sexual-worst” of the comedies. Between horns and whores, the bawdy tone is set in the first scene. Let’s take a look at how the second act builds on that start.
NOTE: as it concerns the bawdiness of Much Ado About Nothing, you are forewarned that this blog entry will contain mature subject matter, adult language, and adolescent humor… skip to a later and cleaner entry, if you’re quickly offended or blush too easily…
In Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Eric Partridge calls Much Ado About Nothing “the sexual-worst of the Comedies” (Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge, 2008; pages 57). There’s certainly no scene like Love’s Labor’s Lost’s archery debauche-fest. So what exactly makes it so “worst” in Partridge’s view?
A couple of days back, we discussed the use of hidden stage directions in the dialogue of Much Ado About Nothing. But there are more clues for actors and directors to be found in the subtle variances in the rhythm and meter in the verse itself as well.
Interestingly enough, just as the majority of the found dialogue-based stage directions are found in or before the aborted wedding, the major verse-direction occurs in that scene.
As we’ve mentioned throughout the Project, there’s not a whole lot of stage direction in Shakespeare. A great deal is carried in the dialogue, and Much Ado About Nothing is no different. So, that being said, what clues do we have for the budding actor or director within the text?
This week’s Shakespeare news review includes Taming Shakespeare, Bard Fiction, Three Day Hangover, and a pocketful of reviews. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.