Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ask the Experts

Oh, Arnold.

Well, what's interesting here (okay, interesting to me anyway) is that this is a topic Shakespeare touched on but never actually fully dramatized. Sure, his plays have their share of bastards, but he never has a husband having to deal with his wife's feelings about it. (Even "Game of Thrones" has it, and that show is one big Shakespeare knock-off.) In Shakespeare, either the cheating husband or the wronged wife is dead. And if they are both alive, it's always the wives who are suspected of bearing bastards. And then killed.

So what's the deal? Why would a playwright who embraced all kinds of nasty familial confrontations in his plays keep this one out? Why no smackdown between the Capulets when Lady C. finds out her serving-boy is really Lord C.'s bastard that he fathered with the Nurse? And raise your hand if you wish there was a scene in Hamlet where the ghost of Hamlet Senior shows up while Ophelia and Hamlet are making out and then tells them that they're half-siblings--and then Gertrude goes nuts and tries to stake him.

Bottom line: I have no Shakespearean men to ask who can help Arnold out here. They all got off easy. Maybe it wasn't so newsworthy back then. Even when Henry VIII did it.

But Arnold might enjoy this fantasy piece from 1668 called The Isle of Pines. George Pine (that's him in the lower left hand picture with his four wives and his 1,785 progeny) fathers children ad infinitum after they all get shipwrecked on a lush uninhabited island.

Sweet dreams, Arnold. Maybe you should take up sailing. Or try time travel.


  1. Arnold is a wicked man. I think even Shakespeare tried to find some redeeming quality in his bad characters and perhaps that is why there is no option for him now... to live under the same roof, lying daily and daily lying (I might surmise) with both a wife and a mistress is truly offensive.
    First time on your blog... quite interesting, thanks!

  2. Well put, Sandy.

    Welcome to Everyday Shakespeare!