The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0595  Tuesday, 14 October 2008

From:       Arnie Perlstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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?

Any thoughts?

Arnie Perlstein
Weston, Florida

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