Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Shakespearean England, women trick you!

Rhyme.  Don't talk to me about rhyme.  I haven't discussed Love's Labour's Lost much because the constant wordplay and copia (a Renaissance practice of finding as many ways to say the same thing as possible) have been getting to me a little bit, as I mentioned previously

Anyways, rant that could possibly draw ire from Prof. Burton and his love of English over.  I found the way the women were portrayed to be quite fascinating, especially in light of the time period.  The Princess and her friends deceive Ferdinand and his friends, who have disguised themselves as Russian dignitaries in an attempt to get close to the Princess and her retainers.  (On a side note, this is the second time I've seen Shakespeare mention Russia-the first mention is in The Winter's Tale- which had only become a major state in 1547.  He might simply be using it to represent foreignness, as Russia was the farthest country away that could still really be considered European). 

We are not amused.

The Princess sees right through their disguises-come on, who wouldn't?- and has her ladies disguise themselves as each other.  Hilarity ensues, and the women come out on top in the end, even setting the terms on when they will allow the men to court them again and possibly marry them.  Umm...redefinition of gender roles, anyone?  It seems as though these kinds of things are a lot more likely to happen in comedies than anything else. 

Maybe it's because people in his time felt safer with pushing the envelope if it was in a comedic format.  Maybe it had to do with the fact that a woman, Queen Elizabeth I, was currently ruling England and definitely fell into the category of a strong woman. 

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