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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Re: Parallel Scenes
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0247.  Thursday, 20  February 1997.

[1]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 10:51:42 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0233  Re: Parallel Scenes

[2]     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 18:54:32 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Parallel Scenes


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 10:51:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0233  Re: Parallel Scenes
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0233  Re: Parallel Scenes

For Bernice Kliman,

I thought of another possibility.  You might try putting Gascoigne's
*Supposes*, which is the English source for the Lucentio/Bianca subplot
of *Shrew*, up against Shakespeare's version.  The play is pretty
readily available in Vol. 1 of Fraser and Rabkin's edition *Drama of the
English Renaissance.

For Dale Lyles,

Here are some more details about Davenant's *The Law Against Lovers*
culled primarily from G.C.D. Odell's *Shakespeare from Betterton to
Irving*, with a few of my own observations after reading the play itself
at the Folger.

Nearly all of the comic characters from *MFM* are eliminated entirely,
and Lucio's part is cut way down and sanitized.  Juliet's part is
enlarged considerably in what Odell refers to as several "depressing
scenes".  Mariana does not appear at all, and Claudio does not beg
Isabella to save his life at the cost of her honor.  Juliet makes that
request instead.  Isabella retaliates by suggesting that Juliet should
play a role similar to the one Mariana plays in Shakespeare's version.
Juliet isn't too happy about that suggestion.

Odell continues, "The greatest weakness of the play is in the character
of Angelo, who pursues his villainous course only up to the middle of
the fourth Act, when he confides to Isabella the interesting fact that
he really loved her for a long time before she came to plead for
Claudio, and that he has merely been trying her; furthermore, he never
intended to kill Claudio, anyway, and has sent off a pardon for him.
Isabella naturally disbelieves this, and departs, leaving Angelo rather
low in spirits.  But the tale turns out to be true, though Angelo is
severely punished by the Duke and others, before he is allowed to marry
Isabella, as Davenant preferred to have him do" (I, 26).  I would also
add the interesting fact that the Duke retires to a monastery at the end
of the play.

As for the additions from *Much Ado*, Beatrice and Benedick are included
as witty battling lovers in a subplot.  Benedick is Angelo's brother,
Beatrice is Angelo's ward, and Juliet is Beatrice's cousin, taking
Hero's place.  About halfway through the play, Benedick and Beatrice
conspire together to rescue Claudio from prison (rather than "Kill
Claudio").  In Davenant, Beatrice and Benedick aren't really central to
the action and appear to have been grafted onto the *MFM* plot to
provide interesting comic material in the absence of Pompey, Mistress
Overdone, and the rest.

I find the play fascinating in terms of the way it alters the original
plot of *MFM,* and I hope to write something about it someday.

                                                Michael Friedman
                                                University of Scranton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 18:54:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Parallel Scenes

There's also W.S. Gilbert's brilliant satire of Irving, "Rosencrantz &
Guildenstern", brief and very funny.  We revived it for radio broadcast
in Illinois, and found it to be a real crowd-pleaser, even for those who
weren't aware of Sir Henry's bizarre stage habits.

Andy White
Arlington, VA
 

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