Age of Reason

Random musing of books and stuff I am reading.


The Noble Kinsmen

Just finished the play "The Noble Kinsmen"
by Shakespeare and John Fletcher. The 1400s
version of this story by Chaucer was known
as The Knight's Tale in Canterbury Tales.

In this play the two knights and cousins
Palamon and Arcite vie for the love of
fair Emilia from a jail.
The unreality is balanced by the unbalanced
their gaoler's daughter. The greek gods
Mars and Venus symbolize the two knights
and their qualities, prayers and hopes.

The Knighthood bit and Greek setting
is overdone in this quick paced play.

The Knights are shown to be totally self centered
and selfish. They would rather kill their cousin
and noble friend for a lady they never spoken to.
Their caste system will not allow Palamon to fall
in love with a commoner, the jailer's daughter.

In a Hindi movie version of this play,
replete with the motifs of nobility, sacrifice
and equality, Palamon would be the winner of
the jousting and end up marrying the jailer's
daughter and Arcite would marry pricess Emilia.

The play gives you an idea what history was like
400 years back. Knights in ancient Greece?

This one is not difficult nor boring
unlike Shakespeare's history plays.

I should know, since I read Henry V last
week and Henry was the leading bore. Somehow
Henry 5th comes out as a plastic character.
And Kate, Princess Katherine of France comes
out as a dummy. Maybe that was the intention
of the Bard to show the superiority of the
British Army and Language over the French.


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