Monday, 16 July 2007

'A baggage for all gamesters'?

Here is a brief passage from Act V of John Ford's The Ladies Triall (1638), a play that I'm currently writing about in my thesis. Martino finds his niece Levidolche with Benatzi, a man that he does not know she has already married (Benatzi is actually her first husband in disguise whom she marries a second time - she has, since first marrying him, been seduced and abandoned by one man and rejected by another, and been staying with her uncle since). Martino lets loose this tirade against her:

Oh thou monster
Thou she-confusion! are you growne so rampant,
That from a privat wanton thou proclaimst thy selfe
A baggage for all gamesters, Lords or Gentlemen,
Strangers, or home-spun yeoman, foot-posts, pages,
Rorers or hangmen, hey day, set up shop,
And then cry a market open, toot, and welcome.

They don't write rants like that these days! Although sometimes, as a fellow Teaching Assistant just pointed out to me, undergraduate essays (critical and creative writing) come frighteningly close...

(Lest you think Ford is the misogynist this quotation might imply, I have to defend him by saying that the play actually attempts to knock down some of the contemporary cultural and social assumptions about gender and sexual misconduct upon which Martino's outburst is based.)


Sandra Lynn Gray said...

You have read The Changeling, I assume. I designed it once. I was intrigued by the script considering it was 1600's.

Sandra Lynn Gray said...

Look at me, Falling Leaves! I finally got onto this Google site to comment. It was a involved process so I really wanted to be able to leave you comments.