The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2337 Thursday, 11 December 2003
Date: Wednesday, 10 Dec 2003 10:26:40 -0600
Subject: 14.2320 Pop Culture: As the World Turns
Comment: RE: SHK 14.2320 Pop Culture: As the World Turns
Abigail Quart gives an update on Much Ado About As the World Turns:
"Bride and bridegroom (Rose and Paul) at the altar. Guests assembled.
Minister before them. Paul announces there will be no wedding because
the bride slept with another man the night before. He saw them thru a
window. No, insists the bride. No, insists the bride's sister
(identical twin, another story). Groom denounces bride and storms out.
Bride collapses on the ground.
"Any bets that word will be put out the bride is dead?
"BTW, bride slept with other man all right, but they just cuddled."
I find this quite interesting, for, among other reasons, the difference
between mythic fiction and pseudo-realism. There is an air of fairy-tale
about the mistaken identity (and subsequent denunciation) in MAAN. Even
allowing for the darkness of cities in older eras, the idea that Claudio
would not recognize the voice of his beloved, nor demand ocular proof,
nor confront the apparently corrupt bride-to-be, seems highly unlikely.
Nevertheless, we don't care. We are in the realm of the quasi-mythic
(even fully mythic when the bride returns from the dead), and things
like that can happen there.
But under what weird set of circumstances would any rational woman find
herself sleeping with one man on the night before her wedding to
another? It is not impossible, but what kind of woman would do it? And
they only cuddled. Oh, sure. "Only cuddling" is likewise not impossible,
but it is so unlikely as to verge on the comic. And it is not redeemed
by any mythic quality. The characters and situations are supposed to be
accepted as at least approximately real, while acting in ways that make
no sense, yet the acts are not explained by irrationality or stupidity.
(Except, perhaps, on the part of the writer.)
(You might contrast the situation in Philip Barry's, *The Philadelphia
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