Saturday, January 29, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 4, Scenes 2-6


tonight i got to see Twelfth Night at U.C.F tonight. it was set in the wild west. innnteresting.  i enjoyed the production, but i was wrong in my prediction yesterday. even with 29 days of Shakespeare under my belt, i feel i was at about 70% comprehension level. which was fine. i am also a fan of She’s the Man, which is very loosely based on Twelfth Night, so that helped too. =0) it will take a lot more time i think to get to a place where i can understand more easily.
and speaking of easy, i have a bone to pick with people who are ‘bored’ by Shakespeare because they don’t ‘get it’. the thing with Shakespeare is that you can’t stop using your brain. you have to listen actively. it’s not like most of the movies and tv shows we encounter every day. i mean, sometimes i do homework with the tv on in the background. i only pay maybe 30% attention and pretty much know what’s going on. so it’s easy to be a lazy listener. you can’t do that with Shakespeare! i used my brain to listen actively for a solid three hours tonight. it was awesome. Shakespeare takes practice. practice takes time and effort. and you know what? it’s totally worth it.

that being said, here’s what went down today in 2 Henry 6:

act 4, scene 2
Bevis and Holland: man, the nobility are so stupid. hey look, there’s a bunch of people gathered over there. let’s join them!
   (John Cade and a bunch of other people enter.)
John Cade:  i come from royal blood.
Dick & Smith: not true.
John Cade: i am valiant and noble.
Dick & Smith: also not true.
John Cade: i am worthy to be your leader.
Dick & Smith: riiiight.
John Cade: i will be King and everything will be amazing. we won’t even have money. i will just make sure you have food and clothes and are well taken care of.
ALL: woohoo!
   (someone brings in a Clerk.)
Smith: here’s a Clerk. he can read and write.
Cade: that’s terrible! is that true, Clerk?
Clerk: i was raised well, so i know how to write my name.
Cade: take him away and hang him!
   (Stafford and his brother enter)
Stafford: give up! the King will be merciful if you do.
Brother: but if you don’t, you will die.
Cade: um. i’m rightful heir to the throne so i’m not giving up.
Stafford: that is SO not true.
Cade: no for real. i’m the long-lost twin from a royal family.
Stafford: i don't believe you.
Brother: York put you up to this.
Cade: look. i liked Henry 5, so i will settle for being Protector.
Dick/Cade: oh yeah, and we also hate Lord Saye. so let him know we’re going to kill him too.
Stafford: (see quote below.)
 (Stafford and Brother exit.)
Cade: come on, people! we march to London!

act 4, scene 3
(Cade and Dick enter.)
Cade: you killed both of the Staffords! you will be rewarded!

act 4, scene 4
Margaret: i can’t believe Suffolk is dead. i am utterly devastated.
Henry: i will try to parley with Cade to prevent more bloodshed. Saye, Cade vows to kill you.
Saye: not if you kill him first.
Henry:(to Margaret) ‘i fear me, love, if that i had been dead
                                  thou wouldst not have mourned so much for me.’
Margaret: ‘no, my love, i should not mourn, but die for thee.’
   (Messenger enters.)
Messenger: Cade is getting close! he is going to claim the crown!
Henry: let’s all flee to Killingworth.
Saye: you go. i will stick it out here.
   (Messenger enters.)
Messenger: Cade has taken London Bridge!
Henry: let’s go!

act 4, scene 5
we must fight for our King!

act 4, scene 6
Cade: i’m the lord now. everyone must call me Lord Mortimer.
(Cade’s peops kill a soldier for calling him Cade, even though he didn’t know about the name rule.)
Dick: there’s an army waiting for us elsewhere!
Cade: ok, let’s go. but go burn down London Bridge and Tower too.

maybe someone can shed some light on Dick and Smith for me? i am über-confused by them. are they being sarcastic? i mean, obviously they are joking at first, but are they still joking when they follow Cade? what’s the deal? also, i am confused about the Clerk. what is a Clerk, that he’s not supposed to be able to read and write? help!

okay. i have to be honest. i’m all Shakespeared out for the day. thanks for reading! good night!

quote of the day:
‘herald, away, and throughout every town
proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade,
that those which fly before the battle ends
may, even in their wives’ and children’s sight,
be hanged up for example at their doors.
and you that be the King’s friends, follow me.’
     -Stafford, act 4, scene 2

for tomorrow:  act 4, scenes 7-10

-rebecca may


  1. Yeah, that clerk thing confuses me, too. I thought the job required writing. Must have changed over the years.

  2. I have not read the reading for today, so I am going to comment on Twelfth Night instead. I have made discovery that I am pretty much of a purist. It' not that I didn't enjoy the production set in the old west...I just didn't buy the premise. When I direct, and I select a transaction for the play, if the transaction doesn't work for one of the characters, it doesn't work for the production. There were many times tonight that I didn't think the wild west setting measured up. Although I enjoyed myself...because I like Twelfth Night. But sometimes the hokey accents garbled the language. And sometimes the altered the language to force it to fit. I loved the set, the levels were amazing. A director's dream. The costumes were awesome--my particular favorite was Malvolio's diamonds--vaguely reminiscent of a Harlequin--hmmmm. Was this intentional? The buffoon servant in a Harlequinesque role? Got to mull that one over a bit more. The snow...well...I didn't take much notice of the snow and I understand that was of great significance to the director. It's a shame that we get fixated on some of these trappings because they paid $500 for the snow machine that I would have rented to them for $50 and the effect was not very effective. Sigh. And why...given the western setting...was the snow so important? Hmmmm. A good tornado and some tumbleweeds might have been more tenable. Okay. So now I've vindicated myself for not reading the passages for the evening. All's right in the world.

  3. Okay. Clerks are supposed to read and write. That's the point. This is wanton ignorance run amok. That's what it's supposed to be. These are low born and educationally limited folks who've found a reason to riot, and gosh darn it, they're going to riot.

    Personally, I believe Dick, and others are clowns, in a fashion. They are there to tell you this isn't some "convention" about an actual lost twin coming to claim the crown. They're there to tell you it's okay to laugh. That this is ridiculous and becomes very apparent in performance.

    One thing I love about the Mag/King scene is that throughout the scene Mag is carrying Suffolk's head. Add's a certain mood to the room, don't you think?

  4. thanks for the comments! tyler, thanks for the clarification. thats what i thought, but wanted to make sure i wasn't missing something. i appreciate everyone's input!