Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Winter's Tale, Act 1 (cont.)

So now that you've reached the end of act 1, what do you think? Favorite/unfavorite words or phrases? Confusions? Predictions?

My own interest has been piqued by Camillo. All of sudden he find himself in a very sticky situation. And I think it's notable that none of our previous comments focused on him at all. He's more or less come out of nowhere, and now everything is on his shoulders. Do you have any thoughts about this character and his problems? Or what his presence reveals about other people's problems?

Comment, comment, comment. According to my site meter, your remarks got a lot of hits last week. People are interested what you have to say.

I am going to the sea this weekend and won't have Internet access until Monday, but I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say when I get back. Meanwhile, I'll be writing, I hope. Wish me luck.

For next week: Act 2, scene 1.


Mr. Hill said...

Well, I'm having trouble identifying a protagonist now. It doesn't seem, to be Leontes--I mean, it's not like the first priority here is getting insight into his transformation; he seems, unlike Othello, to have started the play with a predisposition to jealousy and narcissism. As a go-between for two contrasting countries, Camillo for now looks like the most important role.

I really enjoy Leontes's tendency to dig into the, I guess, Anglo-Saxon side of the language to express his anguish, like that stretch with "hobby horse," "flax wench," and "troth-plight."

Ruth said...

Post/reaction number I
Othello came to mind, but then I wondered what had happened before we enter the action. Why was Leontes so worried already. Hermione, was she the prize betwwen childhood friends?

Dawn Potter said...

Leontes certainly is different from Othello. He reminds me a bit of a character in Iris Murdoch's "The Sea, the Sea": a man who defines himself as naturally jealous--preplanned jealous passion rather than inflamed distress. There's something calculating about Leontes, something very disagreeable. And I agree with Mr. Hill about those Anglo-Saxonisms: "flax wench" is especially good. Ruth, that's a good question about Hermione's prior position between the friends. That occurred to me as well.

Billie said...

I was going to remain a voyeur, but you've mentioned "The Sea, The Sea" and so I wanted to join the party, too (thank you for that great comparison). I couldn't help it and read past the first act. I keep looking forward to how each character (is that the word when discussing Shakespeare? actor? player?) is going to react to the seemingly sudden ferociousness of Leontes.

In looking back at the first scene, I like how, in being a relatively pleasant, almost mundane conversation between a couple of long-time friends, it really makes Leontes' violent language and behavior seem all the more so. The gently rocking boat before the appearance of Jaws, as it were.

Dawn Potter said...

Jaws! I love it, Billie!

Paul said...

Right now it's looking like Camillo is the smart go to guy for both kings while the two have no idea what the other is doing. Hermione and Mimilus are out of the picture for now so we don't have to worry about them

Al and Adam said...

Conor says:
Leontes clearly has issues, and Camillo is in a bad position. I like that he used the word nostril (from "Turn then my freshest reputation to a savour that may strike the dullest nostril when I arrive." line 420)

Allison says: Sorry for taking forever to comment. Conor and I are both prone to procrastination. I also enjoyed the "hobby horse," "flax wench," and "troth-plight passage," but I must admit that I'm finding some of the more suggestive language a bit uncomfortable to read and parse out together with my eleven year-old son who would, understandably, I think, prefer not to address any serious allusion to sex in the presence of his mother.

I think it's interesting that Camillo sees Leontes's jealousy as a "sickness" and that Polixenes seems to still respect Leontes even as he is about to flee in fear for his life, even seeming sympathetic to him, saying: "This jealousy is for a precious creature: as she's rare must it be great, and as his person's mighty, must it be violent..." I guess this attitude makes sense if you see the jealousy as an illness; otherwise, I find it hard to understand Polixenes's calm acceptance of his friend's suspicion and betrayal.