That was fun, but I’m still no fan of Will’s comedies.
Still, this was one of the better of the comedies I have read so far (I am not a fan of A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and there are elements that I really loved in this:
For one, there are ideas in this play that seem to re-appear in later plays, and in more thought-out scenes.
Once Shakespeare was fond of an idea, he seemed to use them again and again.
There was one particular plot element that resembles one in Romeo and Juliet so much it made me laugh.
There was another that foreshadowed a scene in a much later play.
I have said this before, but even if I don’t love every play I am reading during this project, I love seeing the development in the way that Shakespeare wrote the plays.
I love seeing themes develop and scenes and plots become more complex.
I love how he develops his characters more deeply as he writes more plays, how their voices and personas become more confident and more comfortable in their own skin, and how this seems to give the author more time to focus on the content of the play, on the ideas, rather than having to convince the reader/audience of his ability to create characters.
And yet, apart from the interplay between two characters, which in itself seemed like an attempt to make good and re-write the messed up relationship we got to witness in The Taming of the Shrew, I just could not get into the play as much as I had hoped.
Maybe this was because there still seemed to be some elements of the plot that too much resembled some of the unreasonable courses of action of other Elizabethan revenge plays, when I had come to expect more…and better.
As for comedy, no, that just was not Will’s forte.
So, even tho Beatrice and Benedick were fabulous, they could not make up for some of the other ridiculous plot twists and unfathomable characters.
BENEDICK Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted. And I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none.
BEATRICE A dear happiness to women. They would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood I am of your humour for that. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.
BENEDICK God keep your ladyship still in that mind. So some gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate scratched face.
BEATRICE Scratching could not make it worse an ’twere such a face as yours were.