The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1065 Thursday, 18 May 2000.
From: Allan Blackman <
Date: Wednesday, 17 May 2000 21:44:19 -0400
Subject: R2 Query
This question concerns an interpretation of R2, 2.2.105 found in
Rubinstein, s.v. "sister(hood)":
"In addressing the Queen, York makes an error that reflects his feelings
on the illegitimacy of the King and Hereford: 'How shall we do for money
for these wars?/Come, sister-cousin, I would say, -- pray, pardon
me./Go, fellow, get thee home, provide some carts.' 'Wars', punning on
'whores' and like them requiring money, triggers York's slip of the
tongue, his misnaming the Queen 'sister' [whore] -- for which he begs
pardon and uses 'pray' as if speaking this time to a pure sister of a
religious order. But substituting 'cousin' reflects the same doubts,
since cousin/cozen is deceive. He associates sister with 'provide'
(pander) and 'cart', in which whores were removed from brothels."
Perhaps England's royals lived a more complicated life 600 years ago,
but can someone explain how implying that the Queen (a conflation of
Richard's two wives, according to the NCS) is a whore suggests that
Richard and Hereford are illegitimate?