Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Shall love, in the building, grow so ruinous?" - Luciana

Comedy of Errors, Act III, Scene II.

I went to see Comedy of Errors a bit ago at Volunteer Park, which is a lovely venue for Shakespeare. Luciana's thoughts on love were what I thought was the most substantive part of the play....Here she is talking to the man she thinks is her sister's husband, but is actually that man's twin, and in love with her....


LUCIANA

And may it be that you have quite forgot
A husband’s office? Shall, Antipholus,
Even in the spring of love thy love-springs rot?
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?
If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
Then for her wealth’s sake use her with more kindness.
Or if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth—
Muffle your false love with some show of blindness.
Let not my sister read it in your eye;
Be not thy tongue thy own shame’s orator;
Look sweet, be fair, become disloyalty;
Apparel vice like virtue’s harbinger.
Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted.
Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint.
Be secret-false. What need she be acquainted?
What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
'Tis double wrong to truant with your bed
And let her read it in thy looks at board.
Shame hath a bastard fame, well manag├Ęd;
Ill deeds is doubled with an evil word.
Alas, poor women, make us but believe,
Being compact of credit, that you love us.
Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve;
We in your motion turn, and you may move us.
Then, gentle brother, get you in again.
Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife.
'Tis holy sport to be a little vain
When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.


"Muffle your false love with some show of blindness" is a tear-jerker...I wonder how many men have been told such things?

The end, that part where she says essentially that it's okay to lie a little if it's in the hope of harmonious relationship also makes me wonder.....

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