Friday, February 12, 2010

The Reclamation of Valentine's Day: Part 4

The world's poetic hearts are bracing to quote Shakespeare.
And my heart resounds with the same bard, but with a different angle altogether.
From the angle of the witty woman, the one who disdains the man who cannot outwit her, and the man who can. The one who leaves Aphrodite well enough alone, and has made her peace with Cupid and his pesky arrows. She subscribes to the creed of, "know thyself," as best she can, and "love thyself," with great fervor. And until and unless she finds a man with as much wit as wisdom, she finds great joy in the love of others, and in the sanctity of her own ideals. Be it God's will, she'll die single and happy, and the devil will shun her for her purity, and St. Peter will recognize her joy in banter, and her eternity will be just as happy and clever as her earthly life. For she sees herself as man's equal, and will not compromise.

This is the same Beatrice who's duel of wit and words with Benedick comes to a brilliant climax, for she would be happy with no mean boy, nor any illustrious man, but seeks a balance of both. And it all ends with a Hey Nonny Nonny.

excerpt from Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2, Scene 1:

BEATRICE: He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore, I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd and lead his apes into hell.
LEONATO: Well then, go you into hell?
BEATRICE: No, but to the gate, and there will the devil make me and like an old cuckold with horns on his head, and say, "Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven. Here's no place for you maids." So deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter. For the heavens, he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
ANTONIO [to Hero] Well, niece, I trust you will be ruled by your father.
BEATRICE: Yes, faith. It is my cousin's duty to make curtsy and say, "Father, as it pleases you." But yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another curtsy, and say, "Father, as it please me."
LEONATO: Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
BEATRICE: Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust? To make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none. Adam's sons are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.

photos:, girl from, Much Ado About Nothing still

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