gbsteve (gbsteve) wrote,

Warming to it

I made better progress this morning, mostly by ignoring the notes. They purport to be helpful but really the play is so preposterous that the meter and language is more interesting that what is going on.

Sicily asked his aide to poison Bohemia but instead they have fled the country together. No one believes Scilly but he's the king so when he throws a strop, and his wife in prison, nobody can do much about it. The Queen gives birth in prison and one of her women takes the child to present to the king. Presumably in the hope that this newborn girl will soften his heart. But he's a nutjob so I don't suppose it will.

I've been trying to imagine what it must have been like to be present at the first night at the Globe in May 1611. Some alchemist, Simon Forman was present and described it in his diary (spoilers!):

Observe there how Leontes, the King of Sicilia, was overcome with jealousy of his wife with the King of Bohemia his friend, that came to see him; and how he contrived his death and would have had his cupbearer to have poisoned, who gave the King of Bohemia warning thereof and fled with him to Bohemia.

Remember also how he sent to the Oracle of Apollo, and the answer of Apollo, that she was guiltless and that the King was jealous, etc., and how except the child was found again that was lost, the King should die without issue; for the child was carried into Bohemia and there laid in a forest and brought up by a shepherd. And the King of Bohemia his son married that wench, and how they fled into Sicilia to Leontes, and the shepherd having showed the letter of the nobleman by whom Leontes sent away that child and the jewels found about her, she was known to be Leontes' daughter, and was then sixteen years old.

Remember also the Rogue that came in all tattered like coll pixci, and how he feigned him sick and to have been robbed of all that he had, and how he cozened the poor man of all his money, and after came to the sheep-shear with a peddler's pack, and there cozened them again of all their money. And how he changed apparel with the King of Bohemia his son, and then how he turned courtier, etc. Beware of trusting feigned beggars or fawning fellows.

Nice morale there but I'm not sure that the point that Will S is heading towards, certainly not in the early part of the play. Perhaps it was just as confusing now as it was then. Forman probably didn't set the town alight with his review.

But at least I'm not surrounded by hecklers, drunks and bawdy sorts when I read it. I am squashed in like a sardine and jostled from all sides on a rocking train so perhaps I'm getting some of the experience. Especially when standing next to someone who eschews washing and deodorant.
Tags: winter's tale

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