The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1437 Tuesday, 28 May 2002
Date: Sunday, 26 May 2002 11:29:48 +1200
Subject: Master Slender
The Merry Wives of Windsor contains a great many inconsistencies,
perhaps best explained as the result of the author's haste in
constructing the play. One oddity that I have not found any editorial
comment on occurs at the beginning of 4.1(in the Folio text; Q 1 omits
the scene). Mistress Page, accompanied by Mistress Quickly, is taking
her young son William to school when they encounter Sir Hugh Evans, the
M. Page; ...I'll but bring my young man here to school: looke where
Master comes; 'tis a playing day I see: how now Sir Hugh, no School to
Evans; No: Master Slender is let the Boys leave to play.
M. Quickly; 'Blessing of his heart.
M. Page; Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits nothing in the
world at his Book: I pray you ask him some questions in his Accidence.
Evans; Come hither William; hold up your head; come.
M. Page; Come on sirra; hold up your head; answer your Master, be not
Evans proceeds to grill William on his Latin (with inappropriate
comments interposed by Mistress Quickly). One assumes that the parson,
Hugh Evans, is in fact the boys' teacher. Or is it just that Mistress
Page, knowing the parson knows Latin, is asking him to verify that a
nameless schoolteacher is doing a good job?
What baffles me most is this; how is it that Master Slender, who is
supposedly visiting Windsor with his Cousin Master Robert Shallow
Esquire and who has 'lingered about a match' to Anne Page, has any
jurisdiction over the students?
Can anyone shed any light on why Slender gets mentioned here?
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