Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Edward II - First half

This play by Christoper Marlowe is quite telling of the stereotypes surrounding homosexual behavior, and also demonstrates, as always, the role of social order within this society. Although I find it disturbing that any stereotypes exist, I also find that there are lots of similarities between this piece of literature and others works from the period. As soon as Gaveston opens his mouth to speak in act one I begin to compare him to Iago, from Shakespeare's Othello. Although he isn't as conspiring or as evil, he seems to be plotting something from the beginning. My favorite lines from the entire first half of the play are within the first act. When Gaveston says:

Sometime a lovely boy in Dian's shape,
With hair that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearl about his naked arms,
And in his sportful hands an olive tree
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring, and there hard by
One like Actaeon peeping through the grove
Shall by the angry goddess be transformed,
And running in the likeness of a hart
By yelping hounds pulled down and seem to die.

I must admit that the beautiful use of language is what really attracts me to this particular speech, but the homosexual implications within the description of the "lovely boy" whose parts "men delight to see", cannot be ignored. Neither can the implication that Edward, like Actaeon, will very likely be torn apart by his own hounds should anyone find him out. This implication made by Gaveston seems to hint toward a calculating conspiracy. I have to admit that after reading the first half of this play, I was extremely interested to see how it would proceed.

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