The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0595 Tuesday, 14 October 2008
From: Arnie Perlstein <
Date: Monday, 13 Oct 2008 11:51:10 -0400
Subject: Theseus's Private Schooling
I have some private schooling for you both.
[ . . . ]
Demetrius and Egeus, go along.
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial, and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves.
I have checked, and cannot find any opinions or guesses having been expressed by
commentators as to what "private schooling" Theseus had for Demetrius and Egeus,
and whether it is the same "business against our nuptial" he refers to in his
next comments to them.
I start from the assumption that Shakespeare would not have chosen to have
Theseus place such an emphasis (in the presence, by the way, of Hermia) on this
private schooling and nearly concerning business, without a reason. He raises an
expectation in the audience that we will eventually learn what they were about.
However, as far as I can tell, we never get any further hint as to what that
private schooling and that something nearly concerning them, was about. The next
we see Demetrius, in Act II, he is out in the forest on the trail of Lysander
and Hermia, in reliance on Helena's snitching to him about them. He tells Helena
(who is in turn pursuing him) to bug off, and he tells Hermia he will kill Lysander.
Does this mean that Theseus encouraged Demetrius to jump the gun and go grab
Hermia, or was Demetrius acting on his own, based only on Helena's lead?
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