April 26, 2013
Thank you for attending this story, “Atomic Meat Monsters On Broadway.” It is a very good one, and I insist that you read it right to the end, otherwise I shall be very angry. If you offend me, my little friends will open a portal into your bedroom, render you unconscious, and take you far away. Some of their experiments are fatal, and I have told them I will provide the necessary subjects to be sacrificed.
This story is sponsored by Mattel, makers of Barbie and Hot Wheels. They have paid me $400 and have asked me to promote their products. I am fond of Barbie, as she is a nice object for men to work out their sexual fantasies and aggressions. I am not familiar with Hot Wheels, but I assume they are some sort of toy cars. I don’t know if they are big enough to sit in. But in any case, boys like to crash toy cars into each other and create imaginary carnage. I approve of this, as I believe it is normal. Some foolish parents do not allow their children to play with toys in a way that they consider to be socially or politically incorrect, but they are not stockholders of Mattel, and we should disregard them as unimportant in the march toward Progress.
People on Broadway are jaded and bored because it is not the glamorous Broadway of the old days, with fine shows and well-dressed patrons of the Arts. Now it is just another street clogged with traffic and too many foreigners. But within a few minutes the Atomic Meat Monsters will be unleashed. They will arrive through a portal in space-time, but not from alien spacecraft hovering stealthily above a city that no longer looks up. Instead, these monsters will appear from below. They have been developed in disused subway tunnels and subterranean caves by a combination of genetic engineering, atomic energy, and alien imagination. Thousands of years ago, similar monsters were created and became creatures of “mythology” — meaning, stories too fantastic to be true. But this story is true and is happening now, even if you do not read about it in your newspapers or see it on TV. (A very great many things happen that you don’t read about or hear about. I don’t blame you for that, but I don’t sympathize either. A blind, ignorant, and apathetic world fixated on trivialities and degenerate amusement deserves to be surprised. — Surprised? –No .– Stunned! Stupefied! Terrified!)
The monsters have been fed every kind of meat known to man — except man himself. And now on Broadway they will satisfy an unfulfilled craving for human flesh. Heavy applications of cosmetics, scents, and chemical goo may deter them to some degree. We can’t know that yet. But my alien friends are curious to find out. The monsters may also devour animal meats sold on the street, but I think they will mainly want to eat people. I don’t think this is a bad thing. People like to think they are at the top of the food chain, and now it is time to surprise them with a dramatic demonstration that they are not.
Those off-off-Broadway are enjoying avant-garde plays in which pretentious actors and directors explore “different modalities of body consciousness.” They will be safely far away from what is happening now on Broadway, so we will continue to be stuck with them indefinitely — alas!
When the monsters have finished eating their fill of modern people, they will be guided back into the space-time portal and be withdrawn into their subterranean spaces. The authorities will deny that anything has happened. Only I am the authoritative source on this event.
Barbie looks best when naked, and it is okay to suck on her hard body and masturbate. The newer Barbies have legs that bend at the knee, but I have never liked them much and never get off on them. Buy a traditional Barbie and brush her hair so it doesn’t get knotted, which will happen if she takes a bath with you every day. You can put her in your bathtub, but sooner or later the plastic around her neck will crack. The Hot Wheels I haven’t actually seen, but buy some anyway. Surely you know a boy who would like one. Mattel thanks you.
This concludes the story, and to those who are still here, thank you for your patronage, and do not make any disparaging comments to others because I will find out and you will be punished. Those who love me should find any old book of mine at www.abebooks.com and buy it.
Those who did not read this story to the end have been designated as expendable and may be “taken” at any time.
The power of words is no longer what it used to be — if it ever was — so I am thankful for the Atomic Meat Monsters and the aliens who have produced them. And I encourage them in their worthwhile enterprise.
Copyright@ 2013 by Crad Kilodney. E-mail: email@example.com
April 14, 2013
(Index to the Series appears on Oct. 7, 2010 — http://cradkilodney.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/ )
Pericles — Prince of Tyre (Also referred to as King of Tyre. He’s young enough to be thought of as the Prince he was when his father was alive. Now, of course, he rules as King. Also, please note that this character is not related to the historical Pericles, who was an Athenian statesman in the 5th century B.C.)
Antiochus — King of Antioch
Daughter of Antiochus (No name given)
Helicanus and Escanes — Lords of Tyre
Simonides — King of Pentapolis
Thaisa — daughter of Simonides; later, wife of Pericles
Marina — daughter of Pericles and Thaisa
Lychorida — nurse to Marina
Cleon — Governor of Tharsus (Tarsus)
Dionyza — wife of Cleon
Leonine — servant to Dionyza
Lysimachus — Governor of Mytilene
Cerimon — lord of Ephesus; a doctor
Philemon — servant to Cerimon
Thaliard — lord of Antioch
Madam (Referred to in the original as “Bawd” — i.e., brothel-keeper.)
Pander — husband of the Madam
Boult — servant to Pander
Diana — the goddess
Gentlemen of Ephesus
Servants in Ephesus
Gower — the “Chorus” (narrator)
Gist of the story: Pericles goes to Antioch to woo the King’s daughter, but he must answer a riddle or lose his life. He figures out that the King and his daughter are involved in an incestuous relationship, but he doesn’t want to make trouble by exposing them. He flees before Antiochus can have him killed. He returns to Tyre, but Antiochus sends Thaliard after him. Helicanus advises Pericles to go away until the trouble with Antiochus blows over. Pericles sails to Tharsus (Tarsus), a city beset by famine. He provides food, thereby earning the gratitude of Cleon and Dionyza. He then sails to Pentapolis, where he is shipwrecked. He makes his way to the court of King Simonides and competes against other knights in a tournament to win the hand of Thaisa in marriage. He wins and marries her. Sailing from Pentapolis, the ship encounters a storm. Thaisa apparently dies giving birth to their child, Marina, and Thaisa’s body is sealed in a coffin and thrown overboard. Pericles stops at Tharsus and entrusts the baby Marina to Cleon and Dionyza until she is fourteen. Meanwhile, Thaisa’s coffin washes ashore at Ephesus, where she is found still alive and is revived by Cerimon. She stays in Ephesus and becomes a priestess. Marina has grown into a beautiful and talented girl, which arouses terrible envy by Dionyza because her own daughter seems inferior by comparison. Dionyza orders Leonine to murder Marina. He is about to do so when pirates appear and kidnap Marina and take her to Mytilene, where they sell her to a brothel. Cleon and Dionyza build a monument on Marina’s fake tomb to deceive Pericles when he returns for her. Marina will not cooperate with the keepers of the brothel. Governor Lysimachus arrives as a customer, but after talking to Marina, he decides to help her leave. Pericles returns to Tharsus and is told Marina has died. Heartbroken, he leaves, and his ship stops at Mytilene for replenishment. There he is reunited with Marina. A vision of the goddess Diana tells him to go to Ephesus and tell his story to the priestess, who is Thaisa. She recognizes him and now all are happily reunited. Marina will marry Lysimachus. Gower, the narrator, tells us how Cleon and Dionyza were punished.
(Pericles has one of the most bizarre, complicated plots of any Shakespeare play. It is often compared to The Winter’s Tale, which was written about the same time. Both plays are categorized by Shakespeare scholars as “late romances.” (Another one is The Tempest.) Scholars also believe that Shakespeare was working from an existing play by some unknown author and that he basically rewrote it starting from Act 3. Although Pericles was well-liked in the 1600′s, it fell into obscurity for a long time afterwards and has only had a revival in recent times. To me, it’s a big Hollywood movie waiting to be made. You can’t beat this story! Just get a couple of big names to fill the starring roles and give it to a really clever director like Julie Taymor. We’d need a more modern title, like Voyage of Lust. And, oh , yes, the “story consultant” should be Crad Kilodney, Duke of Sherbourne.)
Act 1, Prologue. Before the palace at Antioch. Gower comes in as the Chorus (narrator). He is wearing weird or inappropriate clothes. (In fact, every time he appears, he will be dressed differently.)
Gower: Hey, how’s it going? My name is Gower. I’m a writer. I lived a long time ago, but I have good connections in the spirit world, so I get to come back once in a while to narrate stage plays. And I get to wear anything I want from the wardrobe department. We’ve got an incredible story for you. It’s totally over the edge, believe me. This here is the ancient city of Antioch–which was the ancient capital of Syria, by the way. Now, the King of Antioch is a fellow named Antiochus. Lucky for him he was born in the right place–ha! Now, Antiochus is a widower, and he has a very beautiful daughter. We won’t tell you her name. It doesn’t really matter. And I think she prefers not to be named–for reasons I will explain to you. The King loves his daughter–in the wrong way, unfortunately. He loves her–incestuously. Now, this relationship has been going on for some time, and he doesn’t want it to end. But there are men who want to marry her because she’s so beautiful. Now, the King doesn’t want her to get married, but he also doesn’t want to give the impression that he doesn’t want her to get married. Instead, he wants to give the impression that he’s being very fussy–that he’s holding out for the best possible man. So what he’s done is to devise a sort of test that any suitor for his daughter has to pass. It’s a riddle. The suitor has to answer it correctly or–he dies! So far, nobody’s gotten it right. And all those who have tried, have died. The heads are supposed to be displayed on the wall behind me, but the Director was afraid that that would be politically incorrect, so he didn’t put them up. In my day, however, there would’ve been no problem. Hell, you could see people’s heads stuck up in plain sight in almost every town, and it was considered quite correct. Very instructive to the young people. I’m all for it.–Okay, so here in Antioch we have this incestuous relationship, and so far nobody has solved the King’s riddle.–But–like I said, this story is totally over the edge. Somebody has come to Antioch to seek the daughter’s hand in marriage. And that somebody is going to figure out the riddle. And then–(He looks offstage as if getting a prompt from the Director) Okay, I can’t say any more. You’ll have to see for yourself. I’ll see you later.
Act 1, Scene 1. In the palace of Antioch. (Author’s note: In the original, it says “before the palace,” which puts the scene outdoors. But there is no reason for this action to be taking place outdoors.) Coming in are King Antiochus, Pericles, and Lords and Attendants.
Antiochus: So, Prince Pericles, do you still want to marry my daughter?
Pericles: I do, indeed, my lord.
Antiochus: You understand that if you are unable to answer the riddle you’ll be executed?
Pericles: Yes, my lord.
Antiochus: And you’re willing to risk your life so you can marry my daughter?
Pericles: Yes, my lord. After what I’ve heard about her beauty. I want to take that chance.
Antiochus: She is the most beautiful woman in Antioch–as you’ll see for yourself.
(Antiochus signals, and his Daughter comes in with a flourish of music.)
Pericles: I can see why men have been willing to risk their lives for her.
Antiochus: And so far they’ve all died.
Pericles: May the gods give me wisdom and let me succeed.
Antiochus: You have courage. Perhaps the gods will be kind to you.–And now for the riddle. (He produces a scroll and drops it on the floor.) Go ahead. It’s all yours. Figure it out.
Daughter: Good luck to you, good Prince!
(Pericles picks up the scroll, opens it, and reads aloud.)
Pericles (Reading): “Father, son, and husband are three; and mother, wife, and child are three again. Yet they are one to the other. You would see but two if they were all before you. If you hope to live, explain how this can be.”
(There is a long pause as Pericles looks at the riddle, the King, and the Daughter. He turns to the audience and speaks aside, very grimly.)
Pericles (To the audience): You know what this means? The two of them are–(He makes a gesture representing intercourse.) Now I don’t want her any more. But I can’t expose him here in his own court.
Antiochus: All right, Prince. What’s your answer?
(A pause while Pericles considers what to say.)
Pericles: My lord, any man who understands this riddle will no longer want your daughter–for the same reason that you don’t want him to understand it in the first place.
(The King is startled. The suggestion is embarrassment.)
Antiochus (Aside): He knows. He figured it out. (To Pericles) Is that your answer?
Pericles: It is all that I should speak. Anything more would do great harm.
(Another pause for efffect.)
Antiochus: By the rules, I could have you executed right now.–However–as a kindness–I will reprieve you for forty days–to let you think it over.–I don’t want anyone to say I wasn’t totally fair with you. In the meantime, you may have the freedom of the palace.
(The King leaves, taking his Daughter by the hand, and followed by the Lords and Attendants.)
Pericles: The freedom of the palace? And after forty days, what then?–He’s not going to let me live forty days. He knows that I know his secret. He’s not going to take any chances. If he’s so foul that he would fuck his own daughter, he won’t hesitate to have me killed. He’ll make it look like an accident.–Well, I’m not hanging around here, that’s for sure. I’m getting the hell out of here.
(Pericles leaves. Shortly thereafter, Antiochus returns.)
Antiochus: What the hell was I thinking? Forty days to think it over? And then what? Have him expose me? He could do that at any moment. (Ponders. Then calls) Thaliard!
(Thaliard comes in.)
Thaliard: Your Majesty!
Antiochus: Thaliard, you’re my chamberlain. [Author's note: Manager of the household.] I know I can trust you.
Thaliard: Absolutely, my lord.
Antiochus: I need you to do something for me, and it has to be kept secret.
Thaliard: Anything, my lord.
Antiochus: I’ve given Prince Pericles a forty-day stay of execution. It was a mistake. We have to get rid of him now. Don’t ask me to explain why. He’s a threat to the kingdom, that’s all. You help me with this and there’s a big reward in it for you.
Thaliard: You can count on me, my lord.
Antiochus: You’re in charge of all the food and wine. I want you to poison him. I’ll provide you with the poison. You figure out the best way to slip it to him. I want it done tonight. Can you do that?
Thaliard: Yes, my lord.
(A Messenger rushes in.)
Messenger: My lord, the visitor Pericles is gone. He has fled.
Antiochus: Damn! (He takes Thaliard aside and speaks confidentially.) Go after him. Kill him.–And don’t fail me–(More sinister tone) or I will be very unhappy with you.
Thaliard: Don’t worry, my lord. I’ll get him. You can count on me.
Antiochus: Okay. Go.
(Thaliard leaves, and Antiochus leaves separately with the Messenger.)
Act 1, Scene 2. Tyre. A room in the palace. Pericles comes in, looking very grim.
Pericles: I don’t feel safe even here in Tyre. That bastard will come after me. He’s going to worry about me. He might even send an army to destroy the whole city–and we’re no match for him.
(Helicanus comes in with two other Lords.)
1st Lord: You’re looking well, my lord! We’re so glad to have you home!
2nd Lord: We’re all happy, happy, happy! And you do look exceptionally well, sir!
1st Lord: As I always say, a happy prince makes a happy city.–Isn’t that right?
2nd Lord: I couldn’t agree more.
Helicanus: Why don’t you guys shut up.
Helicanus: You guys are such suck-ups.
(Pericles appears offended for a moment. Then he signals the two Lords to leave.)
Pericles: You guys can go.
(The two Lords leave.)
Helicanus: Sorry, my lord. It’s just that I don’t like flatterers.
Pericles: They were only trying to cheer me up.
Helicanus: What good is that, my lord?
Pericles: You’re being contrary, Helicanus.
Helicanus: No, sir, I’m just being honest. If there’s a problem–and there is–I want to help you deal with it. Otherwise, what good am I as an advisor?
(Pericles considers for a moment.)
Pericles: You’re a good man. I appreciate your honesty. So what do you think I should do?
Helicanus: Be patient. Let a little time go by.
Pericles: That’s easy for you to say. My head’s on the chopping block and Antiochus is holding the axe. He doesn’t mind killing people. And he’ll do whatever he has to do to make sure I don’t expose his dirty little secret. Of course, I never had any intention of exposing him. But if he sends an army, the whole city’s in trouble.
Helicanus: Go away for a while. Get out of Tyre. This whole thing may blow over. He may calm down.
Pericles: Better he should have a heart attack and die.
Helicanus: Either way it’ll work itself out. Take a few ships and go away for a few months.
Pericles: Who’ll run the city?
Helicanus: I will. You can count on me. Tyre will be safe in my hands.
Pericles: All right. You’re the best man for the job.–I’ll go to Tharsus. You keep me informed. Send me letters.
Helicanus: I will.
(Pericles links arms with Helicanus and they leave.)
Act 1, Scene 3. Before the palace at Tyre. Thaliard comes in but remains to one side.
Thaliard: So this is Tyre. I have to find Pericles and kill him. If I succeed, I’ll be hanged here. And if I fail, I’ll be hanged in Antioch.–Tsk!–This is what I get for being the King’s right-hand man.
(Coming in from the other side are Helicanus, Escanes, and other Lords. They are in conversation and don’t notice Thaliard, who makes himself inconspicuous.)
Helicanus: My lords, all I can tell you is that the Prince decided to leave and he left me in charge.
Thaliard (Aside): What? He’s gone?
1st Lord: But can’t you tell us why?
Helicanus: Like I said, he had a little bit of diplomatic trouble in Antioch. Exactly what, I don’t know. But he thought he had offended the King in some way, and he felt bad about it and, em, he just wanted to go away for a while and think it over.
2nd Lord: So he’s taken a boat somewhere?
Helicanus: Yes, but I don’t know where.
Thaliard (Aside): That’s convenient. I’ll just tell the King that Pericles was, em–lost at sea. Yeah. (He steps forward and addresses the Lords.) Hello! Greetings! Peace to you!
Helicanus: Hello, sir. Do we know you?
Thaliard: I’m Thaliard–chamberlain to King Antiochus.
Helicanus: Ah.–Yes. What brings you here?
Thaliard: I was sent with a message for Prince Pericles–but it appears that he’s–gone away? Is that the case?
Helicanus: Em, yes. He’s taken a trip.
Thaliard: Oh. Too bad. My message was for his ears only. I’ll have to report to my King that I was unable to deliver it.
Helicanus: That’s all right. Since you’ve come all this way, you might as well stay for a while and enjoy the hospitality of the palace.
Thaliard: Thank you–my lord–
Helicanus: Helicanus. Temporary governor.
Thaliard: My lord Helicanus. Your friend, sir. Thank you.
(They all leave.)
Act 1, Scene 4. The Governor’s house in Tharsus. Cleon, the Governor, comes with his wife, Dionyza. They look very worried.
Cleon: What shall we do, Dionyza? The city is starving. I can’t believe what’s happening. Tharsus used to be so happy and prosperous. Now–
Dionyza: I never thought such a famine could happen here.
Cleon: Mothers can’t even nurse their babies. Men are killing themselves so their families can eat what little food they have.–There have even been instances of–cannibalism!
Dionyza: I never knew hunger before. Now I do.
Cleon: I’ve lost so much weight.–How many more days can we hold out?
(A Lord comes in as messenger.)
Lord: My lord Governor, there are ships on our shore. One has already landed.
Cleon: Are we being invaded? That’s the last thing we need.
Lord: I don’t think so, sir. They’re flying white flags. I think they come in peace.
Cleon: I hope it’s not a trick. See who’s in charge and bring him to me.
Lord: Yes, my lord.
(The Lord leaves.)
Cleon: If they’re enemies, we’re at their mercy.
Dionyza: They’ll be friendly. I’m sure they’ll be.
(After a few moments, Pericles comes in with Attendants. [Shakespeare doesn't say whose, but I would assume they are Tharsian.])
Pericles: My lord Cleon! Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
Cleon: Prince Pericles.–Why are you here?
Pericles: Don’t be alarmed, sir. We come in peace. I understand you have a famine.
Pericles: I’m loaded with food. You can have it.
Cleon: Food! Thank the gods!
Dionyza: We’re saved!
(Cleon embraces Pericles.)
Pericles: My lord, I need a safe place to stay for a while.
Cleon: Stay here. As long as you like.
Pericles: Thank you. I will.
Cleon: Oh, Dionyza, this is a miracle!–Oh!–We must distribute the food. I must get all my lords.–Dionyza, you help the visitors get settled in.
Dionyza: Yes. At once.
Cleon: Come. We have to get busy.
(They all go out.)
Act 2, Chorus. Gower comes out, dressed differently and eating an apple.
Gower: Hi!–Gower.–Excuse me.–This is the first thing I’ve had to eat since I came back to a physical body.–Mmm! Good!–Okay. Let’s move the story along. Now–Helicanus has sent a message to Pericles in Tharsus warning him that Antiochus sent an assassin to Tyre to murder him. That was Thaliard, as you recall. Helicanus is no fool. He realized why Thaliard was really there. He let him go back to Antioch, but then he worried that Antiochus might have spies out searching and might possibly learn that Pericles was in Tharsus. So the latest message from Helicanus warns Pericles not to stay in Tharsus too long. So Pericles, taking this advice, has sailed away, taking only his flagship. And guess what’s happened. He’s been shipwrecked. Why? Because this is Shakespeare, and people are always getting shipwrecked. But, of course, Pericles is alive, even if everyone else on board has died and his friends back home think he’s dead. How do I know? Hey, if the guy was dead, the play would be over, right? And we’ve got four more acts to show you, okay? I told you this a hell of a story, didn’t I? Hell, yes. Wait till you see what happens when–(He gets a signal from offstage)–Yeah, right.–Okay, just watch and see for yourselves.–Mmm! Good apple. It’s a Mac-in-Tyre. Get it? Mac-in-Tyre?–Okay, whatever. I’ll see you later.
Act 2, Scene 1. The beach at Pentapolis. Pericles staggers in wet and exhausted.
Pericles: I made it! (Looks back) My ship.–They’re all gone.–I’m the only one who survived. (Looks around) Where am I?
(He sees someone coming and hides. Then three Fishermen come in.)
1st Fish.: What a storm that was! You know, sometimes I wonder how the fish can live in the sea when it storms like that.
2nd Fish.: It don’t make no difference to them. They’re under the water. It don’t matter what’s happening on the surface.
3rd Fish.: It only matters to people on ships. Like those poor devils that got drowned out there.
2nd Fish.: That was terrible. I feel so sorry for them.
1st Fish.: It would be a miracle if anyone survived.
2nd Fish.: I wonder if we can still find our nets. They might have been destroyed.
(Pericles steps forward.)
Pericles: Fishermen, peace to you!
2nd Fish.: Good God, man! Where did you come from?
Pericles (Pointing to the sea): That was my ship that went down. I think I’m the only survivor.
1st Fish.: Well, you are the lucky one!
2nd Fish.: I’ll say!
Pericles.: Where am I?
1st Fish.: Near Pentapolis.
Pericles (Shivering): I’m cold.
3rd Fish.: Here. Take this.
(He gives Pericles something to wear.)
Pericles: Thank you.
1st Fish.: You’d better come home with us. We’ll take care of you.
Pericles: Thank you. I appreciate it.
2nd Fish.: We just have to check our nets. Just wait.
(The 2nd and 3rd Fishermen go out.)
Pericles: Who is your king?
1st Fish.: The good King Simonides.
Pericles: You must like him.
1st Fish.: We do. He’s a good guy. This is a good place.
Pericles: How far is his court from here?
1st Fish.: Half a day’s journey. Why? Do you want to go there?
1st Fish.: It’ll be crowded. There are lots of knights from all over come for the tournament.
1st Fish.: Yes. You know. The manly skills. That sort of thing. Are you into that?
Pericles: Mm–yes, actually. What’s the tournament for? Just for fun?
1st Fish.: No. It’s his daughter’s birthday. Her name is Thaisa. She’s very beautiful. All the knights want to marry her. So the tournament is a way for the King to size them up.
Pericles: I’d love to compete, but I lost all my gear.
(The other two Fishermen return, dragging a net full of armour.)
2nd Fish.: Look what we found in the net!
3rd Fish.: No fish. Just a lot of armour. It’s pretty dirty. We’d have to clean it up.
Pericles: That’s my gear!
2nd Fish.: Ah–well–we caught it, sir. It’s ours by the rules of the trade.
Pericles: Please! Let me have it. I want to compete in that tournament. If I win, I’ll give you all a reward. I’ll make it worth your while.
3rd Fish.: Think you’re good enough? There’ll be a lot of competition.
Pericles: I can win.–Of course, I’d need a horse.
3rd Fish.: I’m afraid we don’t have a horse.
(Pericles reaches into his pocket and pulls out a jewel.)
Pericles: I have this jewel. That’s all I’ve got. But it should be enough to buy a horse, don’t you think?
1st Fish.: You are the lucky one, sir. Yeah, I think we can find you a horse.
2nd Fish.: You’ll need some clothes. You want to look respectable.
3rd Fish.: We’ll fix him up with something. (To Pericles) Nothing fancy. Just functional.
Pericles: So we’ve got a deal, then?
3rd Fish.: Yes, yes. You come along with us, and we’ll feed you and clean you up. And then we’ll escort you to the city ourselves.
Pericles: That’s great! Thanks!
(They all leave.)
Act 2, Scene 2. Pentapolis. An open space with a pavilion at rear stage. Simonides comes in with Thaisa, Lords, and Attendants.
Simonides: Are the knights ready to present themselves?
1st Lord: They are, my lord.
Simonides: Then let’s have a look at them. One at a time.
1st Lord: Yes, my lord.
(The Lord goes out.)
Simonides (To Thaisa): You see how popular you are? All these brave knights are here to impress you. And I can’t blame them.
Thaisa (Laughing): Oh, father!
Simonides: Now let’s see how well you’ve learned your languages. When the knights come in, you read the mottos on their shields.
Thaisa: Okay. I think I can do that.
(Simonides and Thaisa sit in the pavilion, followed by other Lords. The Lord who left returns and sits down, too. Then a flourish of music announces each Knight, who is accompanied by his Page. The Page holds up the Knight’s shield. The First Knight comes in.)
Simonides: Who is this fellow?
Thaisa: He’s from Sparta. And his motto is “Lux tua vita mihi.”–”Thy light is life to me.”
Simonides: Very good.
(The First Knight goes out with applause from the audience. Then the Second Knight comes in.)
Simonides: And who is this?
Thaisa: A prince of Macedonia. His motto is “Piu per dolcezza che per forza.”–”More by gentleness than by force.”
Simonides: Very good.
(The Second Knight goes out, and the Third Knight comes in.)
Simonides: And where is he from?
Thaisa: Antioch. And his motto is “Me pompae provexit apex.”–”The crown of the triumph has led me on.”
(The Third Knight goes out, and the Fourth Knight comes in.)
Thaisa: This one says, “Qui me alit me extinguit.”–”Who feeds me puts me out.” That’s a strange motto.
Simonides: It’s a paradox. The same beauty that inspires can also kill.
Thaisa: I’m afraid I don’t understand.
Simonides: You’re too young. It’ll make more sense when you’re older.
(The Fourth Knight goes out, and the Fifth Knight comes in.)
Thaisa: This one says, “Sic spectanda fides.”–”Thus is faithfulness to be tried.”
Simonides: I like that.
(The Fifth Knight goes out, and Pericles comes in as the sixth knight, but without a page.)
Simonides: He doesn’t have a page. But he seems very noble. Where is he from?
Thaisa: I can’t tell. But his motto is “In hac spe vivo.”–”In this hope I live.”
Simonides: Hope. Yes, he must have plenty of that.
(Pericles goes out.)
1st Lord: His armour’s rusty. I guess he doesn’t use it much.
2nd Lord: And his clothes are a bit on the shabby side, I’d say.
3rd Lord: I don’t think he’ll do very well.
Simonides: Don’t be fooled by appearances. It’s what’s inside a man that matters, not what’s on the outside.–Come, everyone. Let’s go watch the action.
(Simonides leads them all out.)
Act 2, Scene 3. A banquet hall in the palace of Pentapolis. Simonides comes in with Thaisa, the Marshal, Lords, Ladies, the six Knights, and Attendants. They are conversing happily as they come in, except Pericles, who is quiet. Simonides claps his hands for silence.
Simonides: Knights, you have performed brilliantly, and now you shall be feasted as you deserve.–Thaisa, you may have the honour of announcing the winner of the tournament.
Thaisa: The winner is–the mysterious stranger!–Sir, I crown you with this wreath of victory!
(She puts a wreath on Pericles’s head as all applaud.)
Pericles: I was just lucky.
Simonides: Lady Luck always kisses the one who deserves her the most.–Sit down, everyone. Eat. Drink. Have a good time.
Marshal (To Pericles): You’ll sit beside the King, sir.
Pericles: Oh–I’m hardly worthy.
Simonides: Yes, yes. You sit down right here.
1st Knight: He won fair and square, didn’t he?
Other Knights: Yes!
Pericles: You gentlemen are too kind.
Thaisa (Aside to Simonides): He’s handsome, isn’t he?
Simonides: You think so? (He shrugs.)
Pericles (Aside, looking a bit sad): The King reminds me of my own father. Now there was a man. Better than I’ll ever be.
Simonides: I want to see everyone happy! Drink up, gentlemen!
Knights: We’re happy, sir!
Simonides (Aside to Thaisa): This fellow doesn’t look happy. Tell him to drink.
Thaisa: I’m too shy.
(The King raises a cup.)
Simonides (Aside to Thaisa): Just do it. And tell him we want to know who he is and where he comes from.
Thaisa (To Pericles): My good knight, the King drinks to you.
Pericles: I thank him.
Thaisa: And he wants to know who you are and where you come from.
Pericles: I come from Tyre, and my name is Pericles. I was on–shall we say–an adventure. And I was shipwrecked on your shore.
Simonides: Shipwrecked!–No wonder you seem sad.–Let’s have some music! Let’s all be happy! (Lively music is heard.) You knights have a good time and sleep in as late as you want.–And you, Sir Pericles, will have the best guest room in the palace.
Pericles: I’m grateful, sir.
(The scene ends as couples begin to dance.)
Act 2, Scene 4. Tyre. Helicanus and Escanes come in. A conversation is in progress.
Escanes: Incest? Antiochus and his daughter were committing incest?
Helicanus: Yes. And you know what happened to them?
Escanes: No. What?
Helicanus: They were out riding in a chariot and this great fire came down from the sky and burned them up.
Escanes: No! Really?
Escanes: Wow! Talk about divine punishment!
Helicanus: That’s exactly how the people in Antioch took it–divine punishment. They wouldn’t even bury them.
(Three Lords come in, talking to each other.)
1st Lord: Do you want to tell him, or should I?
2nd Lord: No, you go ahead.
3rd Lord: You can speak for all of us.
1st Lord: Okay.–My lord Helicanus.
Helicanus: Yes, lords. What can I do for you?
1st Lord: Well, sir, we’ve been talking it over, and we’re very concerned about the Prince. Nobody knows where he is or whether he’s dead or alive. We want to go out and look for him.
2nd Lord: If it turns out he’s dead, we’d like you to be the new Prince.
3rd Lord: We all have the greatest confidence and respect for you, sir.
Helicanus: Thank you. That’s very kind. But I think we should wait for him a while longer.
1st Lord: But how long, sir?
Helicanus: Let’s give him another twelve months. If he’s not back by then, we’ll assume something’s happened to him and I’ll be your new Prince. But if you want to go out and look for him, that’s okay with me.
(The Lords exchange nods of agreement.)
1st Lord: Yes, I think we’ll do that, sir.
Helicanus: The kingdom will be safe in any event.
1st Lord: Thank you, my lord.
(Helicanus shakes hands with them, and the Lords leave.)
Act 2, Scene 5. Pentapolis. King Simonides comes in slowly, reading a letter. Three Knights come in from the other side.
Knights: Good morning, my lord.
Simonides: Good morning, gentlemen. I have a letter from my daughter. She says she’s decided not to get married for another year, although she won’t say why.
1st Knight: Ah. (He exchanges looks with the other Knights.) That is awkward. Could we possibly speak to her, my lord?
Simonides: I’m afraid not. She prefers not to see any suitors for a year.
2nd Knight: Then I guess there’s no point in hanging around. (Looking at the other Knights) Is there? (They shake their heads.)
Simonides: I’m sorry, gentlemen.
1st Knight: Then we will take our leave of you, sir. And we thank you for your very kind hospitality.
2nd Knight: And we wish your daughter happiness.
3rd Knight: And you, too, sir.
Simonides: Thank you, gentlemen. It’s been a pleasure to have you here. Good luck to all of you.
Knights: Thank you, sir.
(They shake hands and the Knights leave.)
Simonides: Good. They’re out of the way. (To the audience) My daughter wants to marry Pericles. She’s quite insistent. That’s all right with me. I like the fellow. But I won’t tell him yet. I just want to put him to a little test.
(Pericles comes in.)
Pericles: Good morning, my lord.
Simonides: Ah, there you are, Pericles. I want to ask you something.
Pericles: Yes, my lord?
Simonides: What do you think of my daughter?
Pericles: I think she’s wonderful.
(Simonides assumes a serious expression, pretending to be displeased.)
Simonides: Frankly, I think you’ve bewitched her.
Pericles: Bewitched her? No, my lord. Certainly not.
Simonides: Read this.
(He hands Pericles the letter. Pericles looks surprised as he reads it.)
Simonides: How could a virgin be so adamant about marrying a man she hardly knows–unless he did something improper to manipulate her mind?
Pericles: I’ve done nothing, sir. I swear it.
Simonides: Liar! Traitor! Is this how you repay my hospitality?
Pericles (Angrily): No man has ever called me a liar or a traitor! My conduct here has been as noble as my thoughts! I came here to compete honourably, not to manipulate your daughter in any way!
Simonides (Aside to the audience): He’s got courage. I like that. (To Pericles) Well, we’ll just see what she has to say about it.
(Thaisa comes in.)
Pericles: Madam! Your father thinks I’ve done something–that I’ve bewitched you–to make you want to marry me. Tell him it isn’t so.
Thaisa (Laughing): It isn’t so. But even if it were, who cares? I’m happy.
Simonides (Holding up the letter): So you’re quite serious about this?
Thaisa: Oh, yes.
(Simonides winks aside to the audience.)
Simonides (Pretending to be stern): Now then, girl, you’ll not do anything without my consent. You hardly know this man. (Aside to the audience) Although for all I know, he could be a prince or something. (To Pericles, pretending to be stern) And you, sir, must be governed by my wishes, not my daughter’s–otherwise–
Pericles: Otherwise what, sir?
Simonides: Otherwise–(Smiling) I shall have to marry the two of you!
(Simonides takes both their hands and pulls them beside him. Thaisa laughs.)
Simonides: Well? Are you both happy now?
Thaisa: Yes! (To Pericles) That is, if you think you can love me, sir.
Pericles: I will love you as I love life itself.
Simonides: Excellent! We’ve made a match. Now let’s get this marriage done with before the spell wears off!
(Thaisa laughs. They all leave.)
Act 3, Prologue. Gower comes in wearing a hockey jersey and holding a hockey stick.
Gower: This is the craziest damned game I’ve ever seen. We never had this in my day. You have two teams with six guys on each side, and they have to run on this big sheet of ice. And they wear these shoes with steel blades underneath, and they skate on the edges of the blades. I swear, I don’t know how anyone can do that. And everybody’s got a stick like this, and they try to hit this disc sort of thing–they call it a puck–and they try to whack it into a net. It’s a bit like field hockey, except they’re constantly banging into each other. And every now and then they get into a fight and try to beat each other up–except they’re wearing so much padding they can’t really do much, and it’s really awkward because they’re on those skates. It looks really stupid, but the crowd loves it. I swear, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s very un-English, as far as I’m concerned. It’s strictly for the wackos and misfits in the colonies. Goodbye, London–hello, Cannibal Island.–Anyway, back to the story. Pericles and Thaisa are married, and she’s pregnant. Helicanus has finally found out where Pericles is, and he has sent him a letter telling him Antiochus is dead and he should return to Tyre if he still wants to be Prince.–Or King. Same difference.–So Pericles and Thaisa and her nurse Lychorida have left Pentapolis and are on a ship headed for Tyre. Now, since this is Shakespeare, one of two things has to happen. Either–the ship will be attacked by pirates–or–the ship will run into a storm. Who wants to guess pirates? Raise your hands.–And who wants to guess storm? Raise you hands.–Well, in fact, it’s going to be a storm. And believe me, you don’t want to be on this ship.
(Gower goes out.)
Act 3, Scene 1. On board the ship during a storm. Pericles comes in.
Pericles: You gods stop this storm now! Right now! My wife is going to have a baby!
(Lychorida comes in holding the baby.)
Lychorida: My lord–you have a daughter.
(She gives the baby to Pericles.)
Pericles: What about Thaisa? How is she?
Lychorida: My lord–she is dead.
Pericles (Looking up to heaven): You gods!–Have you no pity?
Lychorida: I’m sorry, my lord.–You must think of the baby. That’s all you can do.
Pericles (To the baby): What a way to come into the world!
(Two Sailors come in.)
1st Sailor: Are you all right, sir?
2nd Sailor: This is a terrible storm.
Pericles: I’m not afraid–not for myself. I’m only afraid for her (Indicating the baby).
2nd Sailor: We’re sorry about your wife, sir.–But–the storm–you see, it’s bad luck to keep–
1st Sailor: The body. It’s bad luck to keep the body on board. The storm won’t stop until–madam’s body is thrown overboard.
Pericles: That’s superstition.
1st Sailor: No, sir. This is the rule for all sailors. The whole crew knows it’s bad luck. There’ll be a panic unless your wife’s body is put over. We have a coffin all prepared.
(Pericles gives the baby back to Lychorida.)
Pericles: Take the baby below. Stay close to her every moment.
Lychorida: She’ll be closer than my shadow, sir.
(Lychorida goes out with the baby.)
Pericles: I must say goodbye to my queen. And I want to write a letter to put in her coffin for whoever finds it.–Where are we?
2nd Sailor: Near Ephesus.
[Author's note. There's a glitch in the original play, which is not at all unusual for Shakespeare. In the original, the sailor says they're near Tharsus. But Thaisa's coffin washes ashore at Ephesus. Since they're about to dump the body, they must be near Ephesus, which is confirmed in Act 5, Scene 3. After dumping the body, they go on to Tharsus so Pericles can leave the baby in safe hands rather than put her at risk in the storm. This is awkward, however, because the two cities are very far apart, so the ship must still travel a very great distance. Shakespeare is sometimes careless about geography. Neither edition that I worked from -- Signet or Cambridge -- makes any comment about this problem of Ephesus and Tharsus.]
Pericles: All right. We’ll do what we have to do here. Then I want to go to Tharsus to leave the baby with Cleon. I don’t want to put her at risk all the way to Tyre.
Sailors: Yes, sir.
Pericles: I want to give my queen a last kiss.
(Pericles leaves, followed by the Sailors.)
Act 3, Scene 2. Ephesus. The home of Cerimon, a doctor. Cerimon is already present when the curtain goes up. He looks tired. His sleeves are rolled up, suggesting he has been working.
Cerimon (Calling): Philemon!
(Philemon comes in.)
Philemon: Yes, my lord?
Cerimon: Have the patients been taken care of?
Philemon: They’re resting comfortably, sir.
Cerimon: Make sure they’re fed and kept warm.
Philemon: They will be, sir. I’ll be with them every moment.
(Philemon goes out.)
Cerimon: What a night!–What a storm!
(Two Gentlemen come in.)
1st Gent.: My lord Cerimon, have you been up all night?
Cerimon: Had to. I had a dozen men who almost drowned in the storm.
2nd Gent.: We were afraid your house would get blown down.
Cerimon: I think it almost did.
1st Gent.: You’re a hero, sir. You’re the best doctor in Ephesus.
Cerimon: I get a certain pleasure out of cheating death.
2nd Gent.: You’ve got the knack for it. That’s for sure.
(Two or three Servants come in, dragging or carrying a chest, which is the coffin containing Thaisa.)
1st Serv.: My lord! This chest got washed ashore in the storm!
Cerimon: Oh! Let’s have a look.
2nd Serv.: Looks sort of like a coffin to me, sir.
(Cerimon tests its weight.)
Cerimon: It’s heavy, whatever it is. (He examines it more closely.) Look at this. See how it’s sealed with caulking? It must have floated despite its weight.
1st Serv.: A big wave picked it up and left it on the beach.
Cerimon: Open it.
(The Servants pry it open with bars.)
1st Serv.: It’s a body!
2nd Serv. (To the 1st Servant): What did I tell you?
(Cerimon examines the inside of the coffin.)
Cerimon: There’s a letter.
(He takes the letter and reads it.)
Cerimon: Pericles–this is his wife–daughter of a king–died in childbirth–had to toss her overboard in the storm–Tsk! The poor man! What a tragedy!
1st Gent.: She was a beautiful lady. And so young.
(Cerimon examines the body.)
Cerimon: Hold on!–Wait a minute!–I think she’s alive!
1st Gent.: Alive!
2nd Gent.: How can that be?
Cerimon: This is extraordinary! (To the Servants) Get me my box of medicines.
(A Servant rushes out.)
Cerimon: This is something very rare, but it can happen. The body can go into a coma for several hours and be mistaken for dead. It can still be revived–assuming the doctor knows what he’s dealing with.–Yes.–She’s breathing–just barely.
(The Servant returns with the box of medicines. Cerimon takes a phial and administers the medicine, either on the lips or in the nose.)
1st Gent.: She’s moving!
Cerimon: Help her up.
(Cerimon and the two Gentlemen help Thaisa sit up in the coffin.)
Thaisa (Confused): Where am I?–Where is my lord?
Cerimon: You’re all right, madam. You’re safe. (To the Gentlemen) Let’s get her into a bed.
(Cerimon and the two Gentlemen lift her out of the coffin and carry her out.)
Act 2, Scene 3. Tharsus. Curtain up finds Pericles, Cleon, Dionyza, and Lychorida, who holds the baby Marina in her arms.
Pericles: My lord Cleon, you’ve been very gracious to put up with me for so long.
Cleon: Nonsense. You can stay as long as you like.
Pericles: I’m needed back at Tyre. They’re anxious to have me home. Now, regarding the baby, I’ve been considering that I really shouldn’t take her back to Tyre. With her mother gone, I can’t give her the attention she needs. I’d rather leave her in your care–with her nurse, of course.
Cleon: No problem.
Dionyza: We’ll take good care of her, don’t you worry. We’ll treat her like our own daughter.
Pericles: Can you keep her until she’s fourteen? Give her a proper education?
Cleon: Absolutely. We’ll raise her to be a queen someday. We’ll give her the best.
Dionyza: And the people will love her. They haven’t forgotten how you helped us during the famine.
Pericles: I may not see her again until she’s married. Until then I won’t cut my hair or my beard.
Cleon: We’ll arrange a fine marriage for her, don’t worry. Come, we’ll escort you to your ship.
Pericles: Thank you.
(They all leave.)
Act 3, Scene 4. Ephesus. Curtain up finds Thaisa sitting on the edge of a bed or cot. Cerimon is sitting in a chair.
Cerimon: We found certain items in the coffin–some jewels–which, of course, are yours to keep–and this letter. Do you recognize the handwriting?
(Thaisa looks at the letter.)
Thaisa: It’s my lord’s handwriting.
Cerimon: Can you remember what happened?
Thaisa: We were at sea. There was a storm. I had just given birth. After that I don’t know what happened. I don’t know about my baby or my husband.–I think perhaps–perhaps the ship sank.–Maybe there’s no one else left alive.
Cerimon: Well–we can’t know for sure.
Thaisa: I think it’s best if I went someplace and just lived a secluded life. I don’t want to marry again.
Cerimon: There’s a sanctuary where you can live. It’s very peaceful there. My niece can stay with you and attend to you.
Thaisa: Thank you–although my thanks are hardly enough reward for all you’ve done.
Cerimon: Seeing you well is my reward, madam. You’ll be all right. You’ll like the sanctuary. It’s a spiritual place.
Thaisa: That’s what I need.–To devote myself to spiritual things.
(Scene ends without an exit.)
Act 4, Prologue. Gower comes in, dressed differently again.
Gower: Pretty good story, eh? I hope you’re following this. Pericles is in Tyre, and Thaisa is in Ephesus, and they both think the other is dead. Now we’re going to fast-forward fourteen years. Marina, the baby who was left in the care of Cleon and Dionyza in Tharsus, has grown into a beautiful and talented girl. She’s admired by everyone–even more than her companion, Philoten, who is the daughter of Cleon and Dionyza. And that’s the problem. Dionyza can’t stand the fact that Marina gets so much attention while Philoten is ignored. So she has decided to get rid of Marina. She’s going to have her murdered–by her servant Leonine. As for Lychorida, the nurse, she has conveniently died, so Marina has no one to protect her. Wait till you see what happens next!
Act 4, Scene 1. The beach at Tharsus. Dionyza comes in with Leonine.
Dionyza: You promised you’d do it. And I’m paying you for this. One quick blow and it’s done. What’s the problem?
Leonine: Well–I mean–okay, but I really hate to do it. She’s such a lovely girl.
Dionyza: She’s too lovely for her own good. Now don’t get soft on me. You’re my servant. Are you going to do this or not?
Leonine: Yes, madam.
Dionyza: Good.–Here she comes now.–She’s still sad over her nurse’s death.
(Marina comes in, looking sad. She is a bit disheveled.)
Dionyza: There you are, Marina. You mustn’t grieve like that. You should take a nice walk on the beach with Leonine. It’ll make you feel better.
Leonine: Yes. A little walk. That’s what you need.
Marina: I don’t really feel like it.
Dionyza: Oh, come on. You need to snap out of it. Suppose your father were to come back right now and find you in such a state? He’d blame me.
Marina: When is he coming?
Dionyza: He could come at any time now that you’re fourteen. Come, now. Take a walk with Leonine.
Marina: I will if you insist.
Dionyza: That’s a good girl.–Leonine, remember.–You know.
Leonine: Yes, madam.
Dionyza: All right, then.–I’ll see you both later.
Marina: I don’t really want to walk on the beach.
Leonine: Why not?
Marina: It makes me think of when I was born at sea in a storm.
Leonine: But you can’t remember that.
Marina: Nurse told me. She told me how my father gave orders to the men so they wouldn’t panic. He told them what to do with the ropes and sails. Nurse said it was the most terrible storm ever. But he saved the ship.–My mother died, of course. She died when I was born.
Leonine: You must say your prayers now.
Marina: Say my prayers? Why?
Leonine: I’ll give you a minute, but that’s all.
(A pause for effect.)
Marina: What?–Leonine, are you going to–kill me?
Leonine: I have to obey the Queen.
Marina: Why does she want me dead? What have I ever done to her?
Leonine: It’s not for me to explain. I just have to do what I’m told.
Marina: Leonine! You can’t be serious! You’re not a murderer! I can’t believe you could do such a thing! You mustn’t!
(Leonine grabs her.)
Leonine: I have no choice! I’m sorry!
(Suddenly three Pirates rush in.)
1st Pirate: You’re ours now!
(Leonine pushes Marina into the arms of the Pirates and runs out.)
2nd Pirate: Should we chase him?
3rd Pirate: Don’t bother. This one’s the prize. We’ll get a lot of money for her. Let’s get her on the ship and get out of here.
(The Pirates drag Marina out. After a brief interval, Leonine returns.)
Leonine: Well, that was damned convenient!–Pirates!–Okay, this works for me. She’s gone for good. I’ll tell the Queen I killed her and threw her into the sea. Problem solved!
Act 4, Scene 2. A brothel in Mytilene. Curtain up finds the Madam and her husband, the Pander, sitting and looking glum.
Madam: We’re losing business. Mytilene is full of horny men right now, and we’ve only got three girls.
Pander: And they’re worn out.
Madam: Don’t you think I know? They’re complaining. A woman’s got her limits. Never mind the money.
Pander: I sent Boult to the market to search around and see if he could recruit a girl for us.
Madam: He’ll have to get lucky. The other houses are looking for girls, too. It’s a competitive business.
Pander: I told him if he didn’t find someone I’d fire him.
Madam: Why aren’t you out there yourself?
Pander: Me? I’m management.
Madam (Sarcastically): Ohhh.–Management.
(Boult comes in with the Pirates and Marina.)
Boult: Boss! Look what I brought you!
1st Pirate: This girl’s for sale.
Madam: Well! She is a pretty one. Is she a virgin?
Marina: Of course, I’m a virgin!
Boult: Isn’t she a beauty? And she ain’t low-class either. Look at those clothes.
Pander: Yeah. She obviously didn’t come from no slum. (To the Pirates) Where’d you get her?
1st Pirate: Never mind. You don’t need to know. We just want to sell her.
Madam: How much?
1st Pirate: A thousand farthings.
Boult: It’s a good deal, boss. Go for it.
Pander: Yeah. (To the Pirates.) I think we can do that. Come into the office.
(The Pander and the Pirates go out.)
Marina: What is this place?
Madam: Don’t you know?
Boult: She’s a virgin. She’ll make us a ton of money.
Madam: Aye, with the first customer. After that, she has to learn.
Marina: This is a brothel!
Madam: Yes, my dear. And you’re going to learn how to use what nature gave you.
Marina: I’d rather die!
Madam: Now, don’t be melodramatic. You’ll get to like it. And you’ll make friends with the other girls.
Marina: I’ll drown myself! I’ll take poison! I’ll–
Madam: Don’t talk foolishness. This is a profession like any other. We all live by selling something.–Boult, go out and circulate in the market and let the sailors and countrymen know we have a fine young girl they’ve never seen before. The prettiest in the whole city.
Boult: I’ll do that.
Madam: Now you come with me, dearie. I have to give you a quick indoctrination.
(The Madam takes Marina out.)
Act 4, Scene 3. Tharsus. The palace. Curtain up finds Cleon and Dionyza.
Dionyza: Stop moaning about it. It’s done with.
Cleon: But to kill such a nice girl! I never would have approved. What will we say to Pericles when he returns to take her home?
Dionyza: She died of natural causes. No one can say otherwise. Leonine has left Tharsus.
Cleon: The gods don’t like this at all.
Dionyza: Never mind the gods. Think of our own daughter. Her future was in jeopardy as long as she lived in Marina’s shadow. The girl had to be gotten rid of.
Cleon: Heavens forgive us!
Dionyza: When Pericles arrives, we’ll take him to the monument, and he’ll read the inscription with all the praises about how wonderful she was. (Sarcastically) How everyone loved her.
Cleon: I never realized you could be so wicked. You should be ashamed.
Dionyza: No, I’m not. And you just play your part and do what I tell you. And forget about–the heavens!
(Dionyza goes out.)
Act 4, Scene 4. Gower comes in with a sprightly step, smiling. He’s dressed differently again.
Gower: Okay. We managed to find some pirates for you after all. You’re getting your money’s worth. Now, then, we’re going to fast-forward just a bit and move the story along. Pericles and Helicanus both came to Tharsus and were taken to Marina’s fake tomb. Very sad. And they were completely taken in by Dionyza’s explanation. And then they left. And now we take you back to Mytilene and the brothel.
Act 4, Scene 5. This scene is deleted.
Act 4, Scene 6. The brothel in Mytilene. The Pander, the Madam and Boult come in.
Pander: That girl is ruining us! She’s preaching to the customers, telling them how wrong it is to patronize prostitutes! And they’re listening to her!
Madam: They won’t come back. They told me straight out.
Pander: She’s a nut case.
Madam: The biggest. She prays like a nun. It’s unnatural.
Pander: Either we get her laid or we have to get rid of her.
Boult: Let me have her for one hour. I’ll straighten her out.
Pander: Yeah, you want to rape her.
Boult: No, no. It’s not rape. It’s behaviour modification.
Madam: That’s rape.
Boult: Well, either way, I’d be glad to do it.
(The Madam looks out a window and sees someone coming.)
Madam: Wait. I have a better idea. We have to give her to a high-class customer. Somebody with finesse. Somebody with experience. And I know just the person.
Pander: Who’s coming?
Madam: The Governor. In his disguise, of course–ha! He doesn’t want people to recognize him. Let’s let him deflower that virgin.
Pander: Good idea!
(Lysimachus, Governor of Mytilene, comes in.)
Lysimachus: Hello, my friends!
Madam: Hello, your Honour!
Pander: Nice to see you again, sir!
Lysimachus: I’ve heard you have a new girl–a virgin.
Madam: We do, indeed. In fact, we’ve been saving her for you. And I guarantee she’s not like anyone else you ever met here.
Boult (Ironically): That’s for sure.
Lysimachus: Ah! Well, then, I want to meet her!
Pander (To Boult): Go get her.
(Boult goes out.)
Madam: You’re going to like her a lot.
Pander: She doesn’t have any experience. She needs, em, you know, a man of the world like yourself to, uh–
Madam: To use finesse with her.
Lysimachus: I understand perfectly.
(Boult returns with Marina.)
Madam: Well? What do you think? Ain’t she a beauty?
Lysimachus: She’s a man’s comfort, that’s for sure. (He takes out his purse and gives some money to the Madam.) Here.
Madam: Thank you, sir. Let me just have a quick word with her.
(The Madam takes Marina aside.)
Madam: Now listen, this man is a gentleman and a good friend of the establishment.
Marina: What sort of gentleman would be a friend of this establishment?
Madam: Now don’t be contrary. This man is the Governor of Mytilene. He’s got power and influence–and money. If you’re nice to him, he’ll be your friend. And you couldn’t find a better friend in all of Mytilene.
Marina: I’ll be nice to him if he shows that he really is my friend.
Madam (To Lysimachus): She’s nervous and inexperienced, your Honour. You’ll have to make allowances.
Lysimachus: That’s quite all right. I understand.
Madam: Then I’ll leave you to it.
(The Madam, the Pander, and Boult leave.)
Lysimachus: What’s your name, girl?
Lysimachus: That’s a pretty name.
Marina: I was named Marina because I was born on a ship at sea.
Lysimachus: How interesting. And how did you get into this, em, trade?
Marina: Trade, sir? What trade do you mean?
Lysimachus: Come, now, you know what I mean.
Marina: No, I don’t.
Lysimachus: Oh, come on. You don’t need to be coy. This is a brothel.
Marina: Then why are you here? I’m told that you’re a gentleman–the Governor of Mytilene, in fact.
Lysimachus: Ah. Your mistress told you, did she?
Marina: My mistress? I didn’t know I had a mistress.
Lysimachus: The lady who runs this establishment.
Marina: She’s no lady. I know what a lady is.–And I know what a gentleman is, too. If you’re a gentleman, you have to prove it to me.
(Lysimachus pauses. He is surprised at Marina, but also intrigued.)
Lysimachus: What sort of girl are you?
Marina: Not the sort who belongs in a place like this, sir. I was brought here against my will, and I want nothing to do with this place. I’d rather be a fly and fly out of here than be a human being and be stuck here as a slave.
(Another pause for effect.)
Lysimachus: You’re not like the other girls here. I can see that. You don’t belong here. You obviously come from a better class of people.
Marina: The best class, sir.
(Lysimachus takes some gold from his purse.)
Lysimachus: I want to help you. Take this. And please forget what I came here for.
Marina: Thank you, sir.
Lysimachus: I like you. You have character. Just be true to yourself and have courage, and things will turn out all right for you.
Marina: The gods preserve you, sir.
(Boult comes in, noticing Lysimachus holding his purse.)
Boult: Oh! Do I get a tip, sir?
Lysimachus: A tip? I’ll give you a clout on the head, you miscreant! Nobody mistreats this girl, understand?
(Lysimachus goes out, angry.)
Boult: What the–? (To Marina) I can see we’re going to have problems with you. We’ll just have to do something about that.
(The Madam comes in.)
Madam: Where’s Lysimachus?
Boult: Gone. She said something to him and he left.
Boult: She bad-mouthed us, and now he hates us.
Madam: Damn it!–Boult, you take her and do whatever you want with her. I should’ve known better than to buy a virgin.
Marina (Looking up): You gods are witnesses.
Madam: You damned virgin! You freak!–Boult, you deal with her.
(The Madam goes out.)
Boult (Smiling): You heard her.
Madam: You low-life! You take orders from people like that? Any dog is better off than you!
Boult: I just work here.
Marina: You call this work? This is the lowest job on the face of the earth.
Boult: I get paid.
Marina: I’ll pay you to take me out of here and place me with a respectable family.
Boult: What’re you talking about?
Marina: The Governor’s my friend now. He gave me money, and I want to buy my way out of here. If I stay, I’ll chase all your customers away and you’ll all be ruined. If you let me leave, I’ll reimburse whatever the madam paid for me, plus something extra for her trouble. And I’ll pay you to place me with a respectable family.
Boult: As what–a laundress?
Marina: I’m a very educated girl, and very skilled. I can tutor children.
Boult: Are you on the level?
Boult: Well–it’s not up to me. It’s up to the management.
Marina: Then let’s talk to them.
Boult: Well–okay. I think they might go along with it. Come on.
(They go out.)
Act 5, Prologue. Gower comes out, dressed differently.
Gower: Hey, you gotta love that girl! Of course, in those days a fourteen-year-old was much more mature than she’d be today. Hell, she’d be ready for marriage. Juliet was thirteen when she married Romeo. And Margaret of Anjou was fifteen when she married Henry the Sixth.–Anyway, here’s what’s happened. Marina was able to leave the brothel, and she was taken in by a good family as a sort of nanny or tutor. Today is a feast day in Mytilene, and the city is buzzing. Everyone’s got the day off, and Marina and her kiddies are spending the day at the beach. And guess whose ship is arriving in Mytilene. Pericles’s ship. And Governor Lysimachus has come to the harbour to welcome it. He doesn’t know whose ship it is. He’s just being friendly to visitors. The ship is anchored just off shore, and the Governor has gone out on his barge to meet it. In a moment you’ll be on the ship.
(Gower goes out.)
Act 5, Scene 1. On board Pericles’s ship. Pericles is apparently asleep on a pile of blankets or canvas on one side of the stage. He is unshaven and unkempt. (From this point on, we will see him with long hair and a long beard.) He is screened off by a sheet or curtain that divides the stage edgewise to the audience. Voices are heard from the opposite side as the Governor’s party is being received. Helicanus, hearing the voices, comes in on Pericles’s side and passes across the stage. He meets two Sailors coming in–one of his own and one from Mytilene.
Tyrian Sailor (To the Mytilenian Sailor): You can talk to Master Helicanus.–Oh, here he is. (To Helicanus) My lord, a party from Mytilene. Governor Lysimachus and some of his people.
Helicanus: Fine. Invite them up.
Tyrian Sailor (To the party offstage): This way, gentlemen.
(Lysimachus comes in, attended by two Lords.)
Mytilenian Sailor (To Lysimachus): This is the captain, sir.
Lysimachus: Greetings, Captain! The gods preserve you! I am Lysimachus, Governor of Mytilene.
Helicanus: Welcome, sir. I am Helicanus–acting commander. The King is, em–(Very softly, finger on lips)–resting. I must speak softly.
Lysimachus: Oh, I see. Where are you from?
Helicanus: We’re from Tyre. The King is somewhat indisposed.
Lysimachus: I’m sorry to hear that. Is he ill?
Helicanus: He’s emotionally depressed. He’s been through a rough time. He lost his wife and daughter.
Lysimachus: That’s terrible. Could I talk to him?
Helicanus: You can try, but he won’t speak to anyone. He’s in a bad state.
Lysimachus: Oh, dear. Well, let me at least say hello.
Helicanus: If you wish.
(Helicanus draws back the curtain.)
Lysimachus: Your Majesty, the gods preserve you!–Em, we are your friends, sir.–Anything we can do–
(No reaction from Pericles.)
Helicanus (Shrugging): I told you.
Lord: I know who could cheer him up. (To Lysimachus.) That nice girl you helped. You know, the nanny.
Lysimachus: Ah, yes! (To Helicanus) She’s the most wonderful girl. She’s better than any medicine.
Lord: She’s right on the beach. We can bring her aboard in a minute.
Lysimachus: Good idea. Go get her.
(The Lord leaves.)
Helicanus: If you think it’ll do any good–
Lysimachus: It’s worth a try. I know this girl. She’s very sweet and very intelligent. Wait till you meet her.
Helicanus: Okay, great.–Em, the reason we stopped here at Mytilene. We need provisions. We have plenty of money.
Lysimachus: No problem. We’ve got everything you need.–Em, I’m very curious to know just what happened to your King.
Helicanus: It’s a long story. Very sad. He was in a storm with his pregnant wife–Oh, I think your little friend is here.
(The Lord returns with Marina and another Girl as a companion.)
Lysimachus: Ah, there you are!–Oops, we have to speak softly. (To Helicanus) This is the girl.
Helicanus: What a beautiful girl!
Lysimachus: Tell you the truth, if I knew more about her parentage, I think I’d marry her myself. (To Marina) These are our friends, my dear. Their King is deeply depressed. He won’t speak to anyone. I thought if anyone could snap him out of it, you could.
Marina: I’m willing to try.
Helicanus: He’s over here (Indicating Pericles).
Marina: Leave us a moment, sir.
(Marina takes her companion by the hand and goes to Pericles, drawing the curtain behind them. The others move away to give them more privacy. Marina and her companion confer in whispers. Then Marina begins to sing something sweet and soothing. [Director's choice.] Pericles waves her away without looking at her, and she stops singing. Marina and her companion confer again in whispers.)
Marina: My lord, I, too, have suffered terrible grief. I come from a noble family like yours, but the fates tore me away from them. I went through terrible things.
(She pauses, discouraged by a lack of reaction. Then, belatedly, Pericles sits up and looks at her.)
Pericles: What did you say? A noble family like mine? Is that what you said?
Marina: Yes, my lord. If you knew, you’d understand that my sorrow is no less than yours.
(Pericles regards her with curiosity.)
Pericles: There’s something about you.–Are you from this city?
Marina: Not from any city, my lord.
Pericles: Strange.–You remind me of my wife.–My daughter would have looked like you.–Tell me about yourself. Where were you raised?
Marina: My lord, if I told you the truth, you probably wouldn’t believe me.
Pericles: No, no, I’ll believe you. You have an honest face. I want to know all about you. What’s your name?
(Pericles reacts with shock.)
Marina: Is something wrong, sir?
Pericles: No, I–I was just–surprised.
Marina: My father named me. He was a king.
Pericles: A king!
Marina: I knew you wouldn’t believe me.
Pericles: No, no, I believe you. It’s just that–well, it’s just so strange.–Tell me where you were born.
Marina: I was born on a ship at sea. That’s why I was named Marina.
(Pericles stands up, amazed.)
Pericles: Good God!–And who was your mother?
Marina: She was the daughter of a king. She died giving birth to me. My nurse told me all about it.
Pericles: Oh!–Oh!–This can’t be!
Marina: You disbelieve me, sir.
Pericles: No, no!–Just tell me–how did you come to be here?
Marina: My father left me in Tharsus, in the care of Cleon and Dionyza. When I was fourteen they tried to have me murdered. But I was stolen away by pirates and brought here to Mytilene.
(Pericles is crying.)
Marina: It’s all true, sir. My father was King Pericles of Tyre.
(Helicanus and Lysimachus come quickly.)
Helicanus: My lord?
(Pericles puts his arms around Marina.)
Pericles: Do you know who this girl is?
Helicanus: I don’t know, my lord. Only that the Governor thinks the world of her.
Lysimachus: I do, sir. I adore this girl. But she would never tell me who her parents were.
Pericles: Helicanus, am I dreaming? Tell me if I’m dreaming!
Helicanus: No, sir. You’re wide awake.
Pericles (To Marina): Tell this man who your mother was.
Marina (To Helicanus): Her name was Thaisa. She was the daughter of King Simonides of Pentapolis.
Pericles: This is Marina! This is my daughter!
Helicanus: But we saw her tomb! She died in Tharsus!
Pericles: We were tricked! Cleon and Dionyza wanted us to think she was dead!
Marina: Sir?–Am I–your daughter?
Pericles: I am Pericles!
(Marina bursts into tears. They embrace.)
Pericles: She lives! My daughter lives!
Lysimachus (To Helicanus): She’s his daughter?
Helicanus: Yes! (To Pericles) My lord, this is Governor Lysimachus.
Marina: He’s my friend, father. He was kind to me. He saved me from–from a very bad place.
(Pericles embraces Lysimachus.)
Pericles: The gods preserve you, sir! The gods bless you a million times over!–(Becomes distracted)–Oh–oh–I’m a mess.–Look at me.–I must look like a beggar.
(Ethereal music is heard.)
Pericles: Helicanus–do you hear that?
Helicanus: Hear what, my lord?
Pericles: That music. Can’t you hear it?
Helicanus: I don’t hear anything.
Lysimachus (Aside to Helicanus): He’s a little faint. He should lie down.
Pericles: What heavenly music!
Helicanus: Yes, yes, my lord. You’re all right. Come. Lie you down and rest. Don’t worry about a thing. We’ll be nearby.
Pericles: Yes.–I should lie down.–I feel a bit woozy.
(Pericles lies down. Helicanus gestures to the others, and they all go out, leaving Pericles alone. Then the goddess Diana appears as a vision to Pericles.)
Diana: Pericles.–You know me. I am Diana. My temple stands in Ephesus. You must go there and make sacrifice upon my altar. And you must tell the priestess all these things that have happened to you. You must do this, Pericles, if you want complete happiness.
Pericles (Awakening): Diana!–Diana!–I’ll do it! I’ll go!–Helicanus!
(Helicanus, Lysimachus, and Marina return.)
Helicanus: My lord, are you all right?
(Pericles stands up and is very composed.)
Pericles: I’m fine, Helicanus. I was going to go to Tharsus and pay a visit to Cleon and Dionyza. But first, we’re going to Ephesus.
Pericles: Yes. I’ll explain later.–My lord Governor, we’ll need provisions.
Lysimachus: You can have whatever you need, my lord.–Oh, and, uh–I have something to ask of you.
Pericles: Whatever it is, the answer is yes. (He sees the way Lysimachus looks at Marina.) Ah. Something to do with my daughter.
Pericles: I think you like her.
Lysimachus: More than that, sir.
Pericles: I can read your mind. You want to marry her.
Lysimachus: Em–yes, actually.
Pericles: You’ve been kind to her already, so I know you’ll be a good husband to her. Yes, you can marry her. In Ephesus.
Lysimachus: Thank you, my lord! Come. Let me escort you.
(Lysimachus links arms with Pericles and they all leave.)
Act 5, Scene 2. Gower comes in, dressed differently.
Gower: Hello, hello, hello! How are you liking it? (Pretends to hear a comment from the audience.) Oh, you’ve guessed everything so far, have you? Well, good for you. Let’s see if you can guess what happens in the last scene. We’re going straight to Ephesus, to the temple of Diana. Do you remember whom we left in Ephesus?–Yes, you remember. Well, don’t leave your seats, because you don’t want to miss the perfect ending to this utterly bizarre story.–And now, by teleportation, we take you to–Ephesus!
Act 5, Scene 3. The temple of Diana at Ephesus. Curtain up finds Thaisa as the priestess, standing by the altar with Attendants. She is elaborately costumed and made up. Also present are Cerimon and other Ephesians. Pericles comes in with Lysimachus, Helicanus, and Marina.
Pericles: Honour and reverence to the goddess Diana! I was bid in a vision to come and tell you the things that have happened to me.
Thaisa: Welcome, stranger. Will you make a sacrifice first?
Pericles: Yes. Gladly.
(Pericles cuts off some of his hair and burns it on a tray with a candle.)
Pericles: I am a king. I was forced to leave my country for my own safety. I was shipwrecked at Pentapolis and there I married the daughter of the king. (Thaisa reacts to this.) At sea in a storm, she gave birth, but she died. Our daughter, Marina, I left at Tharsus to be raised by Cleon and Dionyza. But they betrayed my trust and tried to murder her. The fates intervened and brought her to Mytilene. I didn’t know she was alive. But when my ship arrived in Mytilene, I met her. She knew who I was.
(Thaisa is wide-eyed and trembling.)
Thaisa: Can it be?–Can it be?
Thaisa: Are you who I think you are?
Pericles: I am Pericles, King of Tyre.
Pericles: She’s fainted! Someone help!
(Cerimon and another Ephesian rush forward to help Thaisa.)
Cerimon: My lord, are you really Pericles?
Cerimon: My lord–this is your wife! This is Thaisa!
Pericles: But, sir–that’s impossible. My wife died in childbirth at sea. She was sealed into a coffin and thrown overboard.
Cerimon: Off this coast, right? Ephesus.
Pericles: Why, yes.
Cerimon: We found the coffin, and she was still alive. I revived her myself.
Cerimon: You left a letter in the coffin, didn’t you?
Pericles: Yes, I did!
Cerimon: And jewels.–Here. These are the jewels. (Cerimon picks up the jewels from the altar.) Do you recognize them?
(Pericles looks at the jewels.)
Pericles: Helicanus! These are the jewels!
Marina: Father! What does this mean?
(Thaisa has recovered and is now standing.)
Thaisa: My father gave you a ring when we were married. Show it to me.
(Pericles shows her the ring.)
Thaisa: This is it!
(They embrace, weeping.)
Marina: Mother! Mother!
Pericles: This is Marina!
(Marina and Thaisa embrace.)
Helicanus: Bless you, madam! My noble queen!–Oh! Thank the gods! Thank you! Thank you!
Pericles (To Thaisa): Do you remember who I said I left in Tyre to run the city while I was gone?
Thaisa: It was–Helicanus.
Helicanus: I am Helicanus. Your loyal servant, madam!
Thaisa (To Pericles): This is the man who saved my life.–Cerimon.
Pericles: I am forever in your debt, sir!
Cerimon: There is no debt, my lord. This moment of happiness is the greatest reward I’ve ever had in my life.
Pericles: Thaisa, this is Lysimachus, Governor of Mytilene. It was thanks to him that I was reunited with Marina. They want to be married.
Thaisa: We’ll do it here today.
Helicanus (To Pericles): But not until you get rid of all that hair, my lord.
Pericles: Yes, yes–ha, ha! Now I can get rid of it!
Cerimon: And afterwards we’ll celebrate at my house. I insist.
Pericles: We’ll do that! (He faces the altar.) Thank you, Diana! Thank you, all the gods! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (He turns to the audience.) And thank you, my friends, for sticking with us through all our miseries and sharing this joy with us. And may you all find courage in the face of adversity and be blessed every day as long as you live.–Come, everyone.
(Everyone goes out, and Gower comes in immediately.)
Gower: Wasn’t that a great ending? Perfect! All the lost peoople found each other again after all that trouble.–Now, as for Cleon and Dionyza, you want to know what happened to them. They got what they deserved. Cleon–the pussy-whipped wimp!–got crushed to death when a building collapsed and a slab of granite the size of a car fell on him. Squashed him like a bug–ha!–And as for Dionyza–the bitch!–Remember what happened to Antiochus and his daughter? The fire that came down from heaven and burned them to a crisp? Same thing. Dionyza was burned to ashes in a matter of seconds–ha, ha!–Unfortunately, these things only happen in Shakespeare. (He gives the audience a two-fingered salute.) Take ‘er easy!
(Gower goes out.)
Copyright@ 2013 by Crad Kilodney. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
April 5, 2013
In April 2012 I had a French book, Villes Bigrement Exotiques, published by Le Dilettante, in Paris. The book got excellent reviews and sold well. I received no advance against royalties. I thought I understood the contract I had signed, but apparently I didn’t. The contract did not specify any particular calendar dates when royalties would be paid (like, let’s say, every June 1 and December1). But I was sure I would be paid at least once a year.
One year later, April 2013, I have yet to receive any royalties. I have been shown sales figures, and by my reckoning, I should have over 2,000 euros coming. But when? They won’t say specifically. Any honest publisher will tell you clearly — by specifying a date. Dilettante hints that they can’t do anything before September 2013, but they don’t actually say they will pay me anything on any date.
It is absolutely wrong for a publisher not to pay royalties in the course of an entire year. I have not received anything, and I want you all to know. Dilettante is in Paris, and I’m in Toronto. What can I do? I’m at their mercy. All I can do is expose them to you, my readers.
As of April 4, 2013, Dilettante has paid me NOTHING. The book is still in print and on sale.
This blog post will be updated monthly. It will not be taken down until they pay me everything they owe me.
May 3, 2013 — Dilettante says they will pay me in October (18 months after publication!). My bet is they will not pay the full amount.
March 8, 2013
(Index to the Series appears on Oct. 7, 2010 — http://cradkilodney.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/ )
Sir John Falstaff
Fenton — a gentleman
Shallow — a country justice
Slender — Shallow’s nephew
Simple — Slender’s servant
Anne Page — daughter of the Pages
Sir Hugh Evans — a Welsh parson
Doctor Caius — a French doctor
Host of the Garter Inn
Bardolph, Pistol, and Nym — followers of Falstaff
Robin — Falstaff’s page
Rugby — servant of Doctor Caius
Mistress Quickly — housekeeper of Doctor Caius
John and Robert — servants of the Fords
Fairies (children disguised)
(William Page is deleted.)
Gist of the story: Sir John Falstaff, an old, disreputable knight, decides to con Mistresses Ford and Page in order to get some of their husbands’ money. He pretends to court them. But two of his followers, Pistol and Nym, rat him out to the husbands. Page doesn’t take it seriously, but Ford, who is extremely jealous, disguises himself as Master Brook and bribes Falstaff to try to seduce Mistress Ford to test her honesty. Meanwhile, three suitors are competing for the hand of Anne Page — Doctor Caius, Slender, and Fenton. Mistress Quickly pretends to be helping all three of them. The wives pretend to love Falstaff, but their aim is to prank him and humiliate him. The climax comes in Windsor Park at midnight, when Falstaff, disguised as a ghost, goes to meet the wives and is accosted and tormented by a gang of “fairies” led by Anne Page, disguised as the Queen of the Fairies. Amid the commotion, Slender steals in and grabs a fairy he mistakes for Anne, and Doctor Caius also takes the wrong fairy by mistake. Both run off to marry their intended brides, who turn out to be boys. Fenton elopes with the real Anne, who has tricked both her parents and married the suitor she really loves. Falstaff is well and truly humiliated by the wives, who have also proven to their husbands that they are honest. The Pages are reconciled to Anne’s marriage with Fenton. The repentant Falstaff is forgiven.
(Audiences loved Sir John Falstaff so much in the two parts of Henry IV that Shakespeare reprised him for The Merry Wives of Windsor. He’s a shameless schemer and con artist, and we love seeing him get into hilarious situations. Although Falstaff and his followers are borrowed from Henry IV, this play takes place in Shakespeare’s own time and is a comic look at middle-class life in an English town. It is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies.)
Act 1, Scene 1. Before the house of Master Page in Windsor. Coming in are Justice Shallow, Slender, and Sir Hugh Evans. (Evans speaks with a Welsh accent.)
Shallow: Sir Hugh, don’t try to talk me out of it. I’ll take it to the Star Chamber court if I have to. [Author's note: This Star Chamber was a harsh court created by Edward III and is not to be confused with the Star Chamber of the Spanish Inquisition.] I’m not letting Sir John Falstaff abuse me like this. I’m a justice of the peace, after all.
Slender: That he is–my uncle, Justice Robert Shallow, Esquire.
Shallow: Indeed–and Keeper of the Rolls.
Slender: Custo-rato-lorum–or rather, custalorum-ruto.–Well, anyway, he keeps the scrolls.
Slender: Them, too, yes. And signs his name to every official document so that everyone knows–Esquire costorolum of all Rolls–including affidavits, bills, and all such like.
Shallow: For three hundred years in my family.
Slender: Yes, I’ll vouch for that. All his successors before him and all his ancestors after him. And all with the same coat of arms with a dozen white luces.
Evans: That’s all right. Louses are friends of man.
Evans: Friends all the same–in salt water or fresh.
Slender: And perhaps someday a quarter of that coat will be mine.
Evans: What good’s a quarter of a coat?
Shallow: He means by marrying.
Evans: Marring? You want to take a quarter of the coat and mar it?
Shallow: No, no, Sir Hugh. If he marries, the coat of arms of the bride’s family goes into a quarter of our coat of arms.
Evans: You won’t cut it into quarters, though.
Shallow: No, no.
Evans: Well, that’s a relief.–Now, regarding this unfortunate business with Sir John Falstaff, I, being a parson, should like to facilitate a spiritual atonement–by which I mean a compromise–using benevolence–and Christian charity.
Shallow: I’ll drag it to the Privy Council in the Star Chamber, and there’ll be a riot when they hear it.
Evans: Oh, we don’t want a riot in the Privy Council.
Shallow: If I were a young man, a sword would settle the matter.
Evans: Oh, please, not that. Let your friends be your sword. I’m your friend.
Shallow: I know that.
Evans: And because I’m your friend, I am thinking of something very good for your nephew. Someone very good. You know who I mean. That nice young lady Anne Page, Master Page’s daughter.
Slender (Sighing): Ohh–Anne Page. She has nice, brown hair and a nice, sweet voice.
Evans: And more than that. She has an inheritance of seven hundred pounds from her grandfather as soon as she turns seventeen.
Shallow: That much?
Evans: Yes, and that’s just for starters. You can be sure her father will leave her a tidy sum also.
Shallow: He’s a good man Master Page.–You said Falstaff was in his house at the moment. Is that right?
Evans: Would I lie? I hate a liar as much as I hate someone who doesn’t tell the truth. Sir John Falstaff is in there right now. Here, let me knock for you.
(Evans knocks at the door.)
Page (Within): Who’s there?
Evans: Parson Evans, and your friend Justice Shallow, and his nephew Master Slender, who I believe has something of importance to talk to you about.
(Page comes to the door.)
Page: Ah! So glad to see you all!–Thank you for the venison, Master Shallow.
Shallow: My pleasure, Master Page–although I fear someone did some mischief to it before I got my hands on it. And how is your wife?
Page: Fine, sir. Thank you for asking.
Shallow: I thank you, sir–always.
Page: And hello, Master Slender.
Slender: I heard your greyhound lost in the dog races.
Page: It was too close to call.
Slender: I understand. You’d rather not say.
Shallow: He doesn’t have to say.–Bad luck, Master Page. That’s all. He’s a good dog.
Page: Aw, he’s a mutt.
Shallow: No, no. He’s a good dog.–Em, is Sir John Falstaff here–by any chance?
Page: Yes, he’s here. And I’m sorry you have a disagreement with him. Perhaps I can help smooth it over.
Evans: Good for you, sir! That’s the Christian way.
Shallow: He has wronged me, Master Page. There’s no disputing it.
Page: Well, I think he more or less admits it.–Oh, here he is.
(Falstaff appears at the door, along with Pistol, Bardolph, and Nym.)
Falstaff: Master Shallow. I suppose you’ll be complaining to the King himself.
Shallow: Listen, you beat my servants, you killed my deer, and you broke into my hunting lodge.
Falstaff: Oh, dear. And did I kiss your gamekeeper’s daughter, too?
Shallow: Never mind that. Just give me an answer. Did you or didn’t you?
Falstaff: Yes, I did. So what?
Shallow: Well, the Council’s going to hear about it.
Falstaff: That should give them a laugh.
Slender: Your men picked my pocket!
Falstaff: Is that so?
Slender: These guys right here–Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They took me to the tavern and got me drunk, and then they picked my pocket!
Bardolph: You twerp!
Slender: Don’t call me names!
Pistol: He’s a lawn ornament.
Slender: You shut up!
Nym: He’s one of those gnomes.
Slender: Never mind, you!
Evans: Peace! Peace! This quarrel should be judged by those who are impartial–like myself, Master Page, and the host of the Garter Inn.
Page: Yes, yes. We’ll sort it all out politely.
Evans: Exactly. I’ll make a note of it and I shall make some discreet enquiries.
Falstaff: Pistol, did you steal Slender’s purse?
Slender: He did! And I had two shillings and sixpence in it!
Falstaff: Is that true, Pistol?
Pistol: No, he’s lying. It was only two shillings.
Slender: I’m no liar.
Nym: You’re a liar and a slanderer.
Slender (Pointing to Bardolph): He’s the one who had it.–This red-faced crook. He got me drunk. I can’t remember much after that, but I’m no fool.
Falstaff: What do you say to that, Bardolph?
Bardolph: Don’t listen to him. He admits he was drunk, so how can he remember anything?
Slender: I’ll never be drunk again with the likes of you–only with honest, god-fearing folks from now on.
Evans: There’s a good Christian speaking!
Falstaff: The matter is settled. Everything has been denied.
(Anne Page comes out of the house carrying wine, followed by Mistress Ford and Mistress Page.)
Page: That’s okay, Anne. We’ll drink our wine inside.
(Anne goes back inside.)
Slender (Sighing, aside to the audience): Anne Page!–I wish I had my book of love poems. Then I could think of something to say to her.
Page: Here they are–the loveliest wives in Windsor–my own and Mistress Ford.
Falstaff: She’s an angel, Mistress Ford.
(Falstaff gives her a polite kiss.)
Page: Wife, these gentlemen will join us for dinner. (To the visitors) We have nice venison and enough wine to make everyone happy and forget any unpleasantness. Come.
(Everyone goes in the house except Shallow, Slender, and Evans, who are interrupted by Simple’s arrival.)
Slender: Simple! Where have you been? Have you got the Book of Riddles?
Simple: Book of Riddles? I think you lent it to Alice Shortcake on Halloween.
Slender: Did I? Oh, dear. I was hoping to amuse someone with it.
Shallow: Never mind that. Now pay attention. Sir Hugh here is trying to make an arrangement for you. Do you understand what I mean?
Slender (Puzzled): Well–if it’s something reasonable, then I’ll be reasonable.
Shallow: No, no, no. You’re not following me.
Evans: Your uncle means an arrangement for your marriage.
Slender: Oh.–Marriage.–I see.
Evans: To Anne Page.
Slender: Oh! Anne Page!–Well–whatever is reasonable, I’ll do it–if the demands are reasonable.–Whatever my uncle says. After all, he’s a justice of the peace.
Evans: Never mind that, lad. The point is, can you love the girl?
Slender: Love her?–Well, of course, in all cases I would try to do the reasonable thing.
Shallow: You can tell he’s never had a girlfriend.
Evans: Yes, evidently.–Come, come, now. You must be more definite than that. Consider your desires. She’s a pretty girl. Don’t you like her?
Shallow: And she comes with a good dowry. It would be a good marriage for you.
Slender: I’ll do whatever you say, uncle.
Shallow: I’m not asking you to do whatever I say. I’m asking you if you love the girl–or at least, could you?
Slender: I’ll marry her if you want me to. As for love–well–I’m sure that when we become better acquainted with one another, that will happen–more or less as a matter of course. It’s like they say. Familiarity breeds contempt–which is fine with me as I should become contempted with her and vice-versa. I’ll certainly marry her if you tell me to. Of that I’m totally dissolved.
Evans: He’s being discretional, but his dissolve is well-meant.
Shallow: Nephew, I realize you have no experience with girls, but you’re in agreement with us, right?
Slender: I always agree with you, uncle.
Shallow (To Evans): I think that’s the best we can do.–Ah, here comes the young lady herself.
(Anne Page returns.)
Shallow: Ah, if I were a young man again, Mistress Anne–ha, ha!
Anne: The food is on the table. Father is waiting for all of you.
Shallow: Say no more.–Come, Sir Hugh.
(Shallow and Evans go in the house.)
Anne: Aren’t you coming, Master Slender?
Slender: Oh–no, that’s all right. I’ll just stay here.
Anne: But we’ve a fine dinner.
Slender: That’s all right, I’m not hungry. But my man Simple will eat.
Simple: Thank you, sir!
(Simple goes inside.)
Anne: I can’t go in without you, sir. They’ll be waiting for you.
Slender: Oh, just tell them to eat without me. I’ll just stay here.
Anne: Is something wrong, sir?
Slender: Em–no–yes.–Anyway, I scraped my knee fencing the other day. We were playing for a dish of stewed prunes, and ever since then I can’t stand the smell of meat.–I heard your dogs barking. Are there bears in the town?
Anne: I heard there were.
Slender: It’s a fine sport, bear-baiting–although I’m very much against it. Cruelty to animals, you know. If a bear got loose, you’d be afraid, wouldn’t you?
Anne: Yes, indeed.
Slender: They are ugly, I suppose.
Page: Come on, Master Slender, we’re waiting for you.
Anne: He says he doesn’t want to eat.
Page: I’ll have none of that. You’ll come in and eat.
Slender: Oh, well, in that case, you first, sir.
Page: Never mind. Just go on in.
Slender: Mistress Anne, you go first.
Anne: No, no. Go on, sir.
Slender: I don’t want to be impolite by preceding you.
Anne: No, please go ahead, sir.
Page: Enough of this.
(Page takes Slender by the elbow and marches him into the house, with Anne following.)
Slender: Thank you, sir. Much obliged.
Act 1, Scene 2. Same place. Evans brings Simple out of the house. Evans is wiping his lips with a napkin, so the suggestion is that dinner has just finished.
Evans: I have a little errand for you, Simple–but an important one.
Simple: Yes, sir.
Evans: Do you know where Doctor Caius lives?
Simple: Only the general neighbourhood, sir.
Evans: Well, you go there and ask, and someone will direct you to the house. Now then, Doctor Caius has a housekeeper named Mistress Quickly. She’s a friend of Anne’s. You give her this letter. (He gives Simple the letter.)
Simple: Yes, sir.
Evans: We want to get Master Slender married off to Anne, but he’s going to need a little help. I’m asking Mistress Quickly to help us. Understand?
Simple: Yes, sir.
Evans: Treat this as confidential.
Simple: I will, sir.
Evans: Good. Now off you go.
(Simple leaves and Evans goes back in the house.)
Act 1, Scene 3. A room in the Garter Inn. Falstaff comes in with the Host, and lagging behind them are Bardolph, Nym, Pistol, and Robin. The opening conversation between Falstaff and the Host is spoken aside (that is, unheard by the others).
Falstaff: These guys are costing me an arm and a leg.
Host: But they’re your friends, and you’re a knight, after all.
Falstaff: Big deal. Knights can go broke, too.
Host: Oh, I don’t believe it.
Falstaff: No, seriously. I’m burning through ten pounds a week with all these guys. They expect me to pay for everything. Of course, Robin’s my page, so I have to pay him. But do me a favour and take Bardolph off my hands. Hire him as a bartender. Okay?
Host: For you–done.
Falstaff (Normal voice): Bardolph, you’ve just been hired as a bartender.
Bardolph: Oh! Excellent! I love to serve booze!
Pistol (Aside to Nym): Almost as much as drinking it.
Nym (Aside to Pistol): If it wasn’t for booze, he never would’ve been conceived.
Falstaff: You’re on your way up. You’ve got a career.
Bardolph: A bartender!–Wow! (To the Host) Thanks! You won’t regret it!
Falstaff: Okay, now get lost.
(Bardolph leaves with the Host.)
Falstaff: I’m glad to get rid of him. His thievery was getting to be an embarrassment. The guy’s got no discretion.
Nym: A thief must have discretion. Like us–eh, Pistol?
Pistol: I’m not a thief. I’m merely an agent for the redistribution of wealth.
Falstaff: Boys, I have bad news. I’m almost broke.
Pistol: Suddenly I’m hungry.
Nym: Ha! You’re funny.
Falstaff: Seriously, boys, I have to do something to get money.
Pistol: Like what–work?
Falstaff: Work! Oh, my God, don’t ever say that word to me.–No, I mean more like, you know–scheme–con.
Nym: Defraud–chisel–rip off–swindle–cheat–
Falstaff: Yes, yes, yes. Along those lines.
Pistol: So what’s the deal?
Falstaff: Do you know Master Ford?
Pistol: Yes. He’s got money.
Nym: And you want some of it.
Falstaff: Of course.
Nym: And how do you intend to get it?
Falstaff: I’m going to, shall we say, make love to his wife.
Pistol: Literally? Like boink her?
Falstaff: No, not literally. Just, you know, romance her. String her along. She’s got access to her husband’s money.
Pistol: And you think she likes you?
Falstaff: Hell, yes. A man of experience can always tell. All the signs are there–the little gestures, the looks, the way she speaks to me. I can practically read her mind. She’s hot for me.
Nym: So what do you intend to do?
(Falstaff produces two letters.)
Falstaff: This letter goes to Mistress Ford.–And this one goes to Mistress Page.
Nym: Mistress Page? Are you going after her, too?
Falstaff: Yes. She’s just as hot for me.
Pistol: I didn’t realize we had so many hot women in Windsor.
Falstaff: They can’t resist me. In fact, Mistress Page practically undresses me when she looks at me. You should see the way her eyes travel all over my body–even my belly.
Pistol: Your belly would keep a surveyor busy all day.
Nym: Ha! Good one!
Falstaff: Naturally, she has access to her husband’s money, too. And I intend to work on both the wives.
Pistol: You’re going to be a busy man, aren’t you?
Falstaff: Whatever it takes. Now you fellows will deliver the letters for me. (To Nym) You’ll take this letter to Mistress Page–(To Pistol) and you’ll take this one to Mistress Ford.
(Pistol and Nym take the letters without enthusiasm and then put them on the table.)
Pistol: Are we supposed to be your pimps, then? Is that it?
Falstaff: Well–in a manner of speaking, I suppose.
Nym: What if I don’t feel like being your pimp?
Falstaff: Why? Are you too good for that?
Pistol: It won’t do our reputations any good.
Falstaff: What reputations?
Nym: He means, what little reputation we still have.
Falstaff: I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re supposed to be my friends. I practically support you. If I ask you to do something for me, just do it. I want you to deliver those letters.
Falstaff: What do you mean, no?
Nym: He means no–as in no. And that goes for me, too.
Falstaff: Well, to hell with you guys, then. I don’t need you. Robin will deliver the letters.–Won’t you, Robin? (He gives Robin the letters.)
Robin: Yes, Sir John.
Pistol: Congratulations, Robin. You’ve just been promoted from page to pimp.
Nym: Go to the brothels and do a deal with them. They’ll pay you a commission for every customer you bring them.
Falstaff: Don’t listen to them. This is life experience. It’s good for you.
Robin: Yes, Sir John.
Falstaff: Let’s go.–I’m through with you guys. And I’ll be sure to tell the host on my way out not to bother to serve you because you can’t pay. And I suggest you vacate this room for paying customers.–Come on, Robin.
(Falstaff and Robin leave.)
Pistol: Fat bastard.
Nym: What a prick. We should stick it to him.
Pistol: Like how?
Nym: Let’s rat him out to the husbands. I’ll go tell Page what he’s up to, and you tell Ford.
Pistol: Good idea. That’ll fix him.
Nym: Let’s go.
(Pistol and Nym leave.)
Act 1, Scene 4. In Doctor Caius’s house. (The closet is either onstage or offstage.) Mistress Quickly comes in with Simple.
Mist. Quickly: Yes, yes. Just wait. (Calling) John Rugby!
(Rugby comes in.)
Mist. Quickly: Go to the window and watch for Doctor Caius.
(Rugby goes out.)
Mist. Quickly: Now, then, you said your name was Peter Simple?
Simple: Yes, ma’am.
Mist. Qucikly: And your Master Slender–is he the one with the big, bushy beard?
Simple: No, he’s only got a little one.
Mist. Quickly: Ah. A mild-mannered fellow–yes?
Simple: Oh, yes, very mild-mannered. But brave. He once punched a gamekeeper–a fellow who kept rabbits.
Mist. Quickly: Ah, well! I’ll remember him. Holds his head up very proudly, does he?
Simple: Yes, indeed.
Mist. Quickly: Then he’s just the man for Anne Page. You tell Parson Evans I’ll do what I can to put in a good word for Master Slender.
Simple: Thank you, ma’am.
(Rugby rushes in.)
Rugby: Doctor Caius is coming!
Mist. Quickly: Uh-oh! (To Simple) Quick! You hide in the closet till he’s gone!
(Simple hides in the closet.)
Mist. Quickly: Why is he coming home at this hour?
(Rugby shrugs. She waves him out, and he leaves. She pretends to be nonchalant and hums or sings. Then Doctor Caius comes in. He speaks with a French accent.)
Caius: Pourquoi you be singing? Never mind that. Go get me the little green box from the closet.
Mist. Quickly: Closet?–Oh. Yes. Right away.
(She reaches into the closet and returns with the box.)
Caius: Where is Rugby? I need him.
Mist Quickly (Calling): Rugby!
(Rugby comes in.)
Rugby: Yes, sir.
Caius: Go get your rapier. You must escort me to the court. I have important business.
Rugby: Yes, sir. It’s by the door.
Caius: Wait, I forgot something. In the closet.
(He goes to the closet, opens the door, and finds Simple.)
Caius (Angrily): Who are you? What you are doing in my closet? Are you a thief?
(He drags Simple out.)
Mist. Quickly: It’s all right, sir. He’s not a thief. He’s an honest man.
Caius: No honest man would hide in my closet.
Mist. Quickly: Please, sir, don’t be angry. He came here on an errand from Parson Evans.
Caius (To Simple): Oh, so Parson Evans sent you. What for?
Simple: Em, well, you see, I was sent to ask Mistress Quickly to–
Mist. Quickly: Shh!
Caius: Never mind the shush! Let him speak. (To Simple) You tell me.
Simple: Em, well, it’s like this, sir. Parson Evans wanted me to ask your housekeeper to talk to Anne Page to put in a good word for my master, Master Slender, so he might marry her.
Mist. Quickly (Forcing a laugh): Ha, ha, ha! It’s silly, isn’t it? I wouldn’t get involved in such a thing.
Caius (To Simple): Parson Evans have some nerve for that! I’ll have a thing or two to say to him! You wait. I write him a letter.–Rugby, get me a pen and paper.
(Doctor Caius sits down at a table and Rugby returns with pen and paper. Caius writes, mumbling to himself. Mistress Quickly takes Simple aside and speaks to him confidentially.)
Mist Quickly: The doctor wants to marry Anne Page himself. But don’t worry. She doesn’t love him. You tell the parson I’ll help your master.
(Doctir Caius seals the letter and hands it to Simple.)
Caius: You take this to Parson Evans. I challenge him to a duel. I will cut him to pieces for meddling in other people’s business. I’ll teach him. Now go.
Simple: Yes, sir.
Caius: I thought you tell me Anne Page will agree to marry me.
Mist. Quickly: She will, sir. You needn’t worry about that.
Caius: That damn priest!–Rugby, you come with me. (To Mistress Quickly) You better be right.
(Doctor Caius and Rugby leave.)
Mist. Quickly: She won’t marry him. I know Anne Page better than anyone else does.
Fenton (Within): Hello!
Mist. Quickly: Yes? Come in!
(Fenton comes in.)
Mist. Quickly: Ah, Master Fenton, I thought I recognized your voice. How nice to see you.
Fenton: Have you spoken to Anne Page about me?
Mist. Quickly: Oh, indeed, I have. I know she loves you. In fact, the last time I saw her she talked for an hour about the wart behind your ear.
Fenton: The wart?
Mist. Quickly: Yes. It’s a sure sign she loves you. If she’s so fascinated by a wart, imagine what she’s thinking about the rest of you.
Fenton: Ah.–Well, I suppose that’s good. I’m going to visit her today. Here’s something to show my appreciation. (He gives her some money.) Please tell her good things about me.–You know–how I’d be perfect for her, and that sort of thing.
Mist. Quickly: Absolutely, sir. I’m on your side.–And thank you.
Fenton: Thank you. I must go now. Goodbye.
Mist Quickly: Goodbye, Master Fenton.
Mist. Quickly: He’s a nice young man. But Anne doesn’t love him either. I always know what’s in her mind.–Oh–must do something.
(She goes out.)
Act 2, Scene 1. A street. Mistress Page comes in with a letter.
Mist. Page: Ha! A love letter! At my age! (She reads) “Don’t ask me to explain why I love you. I just do. Think of what we have in common. We are neither of us young, but we both like a bit of fun and a nice cup of wine. We were made for each other. Accept the love of this old soldier. Let me be your gallant knight, by day or night, or any kind of light, for you I’ll fight, with all my might.–Sir John Falstaff.”–What a doofus! He hardly knows me and he expects me to fall for this bullshit? What a clown!
(Mistress Ford comes in.)
Mist. Ford: There you are, Mistress Page. I was just going to your house.
Mist. Page: Ah, Mistress Ford, I was just on my way to see you.–You look upset. What’s the matter?
Mist. Ford: You won’t believe this. I got this letter from Sir John Falstaff. (She hands over the letter, and Mistress Page reads it.) The nerve of that man! What evil storm beached that fat whale at Windsor? I’d like to fry him in his own body fat.
Mist. Page: Wait a minute. Read this.
(She gives Mistress Ford her own letter. The two ladies compare the letters.)
Mist Ford: It’s the exact same letter.
Mist. Page: I’ll bet he has a stack of them at home–all the same. Just fill in the blank space with some woman’s name.
Mist. Ford: What a con artist. He must be after our money.
Mist. Page: What else? We should get some revenge on him.
Mist. Ford: Ohh–I don’t know. I wouldn’t want people to talk. My husband would get very upset. He’s so jealous.
Mist. Page: Not my husband. Of course, I’d never give him any reason to be.–Oh–I think I see them coming.–Let’s just step away for a moment and talk this over.
(The Wives leave. Then Ford comes in with Pistol, and Page with Nym.)
Ford: I certainly hope there’s nothing to it.
Pistol: I’m telling you he intends to make a move on your wife.
Ford: But why? She’s not a young woman.
Pistol: Doesn’t matter to him. Young or old.
Nym (To Page): That’s right. That’s just the way he is. A regular sex fiend.
Pistol: You listen to Corporal Nym. He knows.–Anyway, gentlemen, I must leave you.
Ford (Aside): I have to find out about this.
Nym (To Page): It’s all true. Falstaff loves your wife. He wanted me to deliver the letter to her, but I refused. I’m much too honourable for that. And besides, he’s been bad to me. So I’m glad to rat him out. You do whatever you have to do.–Goodbye.
Page (Aside, looking after Nym): I don’t think I trust that guy.
Ford (Aside, looking after Nym): He seems honest to me.–If I find out it’s true–
(The Wives return.)
Mist. Page: George, I must talk to you.
(The Pages move apart and talk privately.)
Mist. Ford (Warily): Frank–you look unhappy.
Ford: No, I’m not unhappy. Look, just go home, okay?
Mist. Ford: Oh, dear. You are unhappy.–Mistress Page?
Mist. Page: Yes. Coming. (She sees Mistress Quickly coming and speaks aside to Mistress Ford.) Mistress Quickly is coming. We’ll use her as our messenger to Falstaff.
(Mistress Ford nods her agreement. Mistress Quickly comes in.)
Mist. Page: Mistress Quickly, how are you?
Mist. Quickly: Fine, thank you.
Mist. Page: Going to visit Anne?
Mist. Quickly: Yes, as a matter of fact.
Mist. Page: Fine. Come along with us. We want to talk to you about something.
(The three Ladies leave.)
Page: Well, Ford, what are you thinking?
Ford: I’m not sure. Do you think those fellows were telling the truth?
Page: I don’t think so. They obviously have a grudge against Falstaff.
Ford: Are they servants of his?
Page: Not servants, just hangers-on.
Ford: Where does he hang out? At the Garter Inn?
Page: Yes. Listen, I wouldn’t take any of this too seriously. If he tried to make advances to my wife, he’d only make a fool of himself.
Ford: I wouldn’t let my wife anywhere near him. Not that I don’t trust her.–Just–well, a man can’t be too careful about these things. I’d be more concerned if I were you.
(The Host of the Garter Inn and Shallow come in, grinning.)
Page: You fellows look happy. What’s up?
Host: There’s going to be a duel. Do you want to come and watch?
Page: Who’s duelling?
Shallow: Sir Hugh Evans and Doctor Caius.
Ford: Excuse me. (To the Host) Can I talk to you for a minute?
(Ford and the Host move apart.)
Shallow: The host of the Garter is officiating, so to speak. Do you want to come? We’re planning a little joke.
Page: Oh, really? Tell me what.
(Page and Shallow move apart and talk.)
Host: Is there some quarrel between you and Falstaff?
Ford: No, no, no. Nothing like that. I just want you to introduce me to him–under a false name. I intend to disguise myself. My name will be Brook. It’s just a friendly joke, that’s all.
Host: By George, we’re full of jokes today, aren’t we? All right. No problem.–Master Shallow, are you coming?
Shallow: Yes, yes.
Page: I’ve heard the Frenchman is quite a swordsman.
Shallow: Ach!–Duelling isn’t what it used to be. These days it’s a lot of fancy rubbish–more like ballet. Now, when I was a young fellow–
Host: Yeah, yeah–
Shallow: No, seriously. When I was a young fellow, I could take on just about anybody. It’s all in the heart.
Host (Laughing): In the heart. You bet. Okay, anyway, let’s go.
Page: I’d rather hear them insult each other than fight. A Frenchman and a Welshman cursing at each other. That would be funny.–Ford, are you coming?
Ford: No, thanks.
Page: Well, I don’t mind going, as long as it’s a joke.–Let’s go.
(Page, Shallow, and the Host leave.)
Ford: He trusts his wife too much. But I’m not taking any chances. I’m going to find out what’s happening.
Act 2, Scene 2. A room in the Garter Inn. Falstaff comes in, pursued by Pistol. A conversation is in progress.
Pistol: Aw, come on, Sir John. Be a sport.
Falstaff: Forget it. You’re not getting a penny from me.
Pistol: I’ll pay it back.
Falstaff: You’re a bad risk. I’ve already had to speak to your creditors three times to give you and Nym more time on your debts–otherwise you’d be in jail. And they were my friends, too. I had to lie to them. I said you were honest men and good soldiers. And when Mistress Bridget had her fan stolen, I swore on my honour that you didn’t steal it.
Pistol: I shared with you on that, didn’t I?
Falstaff: Never mind. If you need money, go back to picking pockets in your old ghetto. I have to live by my wits all the time to scrape by, and you won’t deliver a lousy letter for me because it–offends your honour!
Pistol: Hey, I’m sorry. I’ll do another favour for you if you want.
(Robin comes in.)
Robin: Sir John, there’s a lady wishes to speak to you.
Falstaff: A lady? Oh. All right. Show her in.
(Robin signals and Mistress Quickly comes in.)
Mist. Quickly: Good morning, your worship.
Falstaff: Yes, madam, what can I do for you?
Mist. Quickly: I’ve come with a message, sir.–Em, it’s confidential.
Falstaff: Oh? All right, then.
(Falstaff and Mistress Quickly move apart. Robin and Pistol are not hearing the following conversation.)
Mist. Quickly: I’m Doctor Caius’s housekeeper, but I’m sent by Mistress Ford, sir.
Falstaff: Yes, yes–and?
Mist. Quickly: A fine lady she is, sir.
Falstaff: Yes, yes–and?
Mist. Quickly: You are a rascal, aren’t you, sir? Well, heaven forgive you.
Falstaff: Never mind that. What about Mistress Ford?
Mist. Quickly: She’s got her knickers in a knot, you might say. On account of you, sir.
Falstaff: Does she now?–Em, could you be more specific?
Mist. Quickly: There’s many a man has tried his luck with her–including some high-born ones. Lords. Why, she’s gotten I don’t know how many letters and gifts. But she doesn’t give those gentlemen the time of day. You, on the other hand, have charmed her out of her socks, you might say. She’s all excited over your letter. Can hardly contain herself. She thanks you so much. And she says that her husband will be out of the house between ten and eleven tomorrow–morning, of course.
Falstaff: Ah! Indeed!
Mist. Quickly: Yes. And you may come and view the, uh, picture that you admired so much.
Falstaff: I understand.
Mist. Quickly: She’s an unhappy wife, sir. Her husband is so jealous. And she’s so lonely.
Falstaff: It’s a common problem these days. I’m well aware.
Mist. Quickly: Ain’t it the truth.
Falstaff: You tell her I’ll be there tomorrow.
Mist. Quickly: Very good, sir.–And I have another message for you–from Mistress Page.
Falstaff: Mistress Page!
Mist. Quickly: She sends her warmest greetings. A good lady. Very virtuous. Never misses church. She wants you to know her husband is around most of the time, so she doesn’t know when she can meet you, but she hopes she’ll be able to soon. She’s keen for you, sir. You must know all the right words, I’m sure.
Falstaff: I have the right body. That’s what it is.
Mist. Quickly: I have no doubt of it, sir.
Falstaff: Now tell me–Mistress Ford and Mistress Page–have they told each other that they love me?
Mist. Quickly: Certainly not, sir. They’re both keeping it to themselves. Mistress Page says you can send your boy as a messenger between the two of you, and her husband won’t be suspicious. He trusts her. She’s lucky that way.
Falstaff: That’s good for her–and me, too. You tell her my page, Robin, will be our messenger.
Mist. Quickly (Aside to him): You can use code words so the boy doesn’t know what it’s all about. We don’t want to corrupt the young, after all, do we, sir?
Falstaff: No. Not unless it’s absolutely necessary. Thank you, madam.–Oh–wait a minute–(He reaches into his pocket for a coin.) For your kind service.
Mist. Quickly: Thank you, sir.
Falstaff: Robin, you go with this lady.
Robin: Yes, Sir. John.
(Mistress Quickly and Robin leave.)
Pistol (Aside): I like her! I’d like to get between her legs!
Falstaff: Ah! I’ve still got it after all these years! (Thumps his belly in satisfaction) Cast iron! Sir John Falstaff–Windsor’s red-hot lover!
(Bardolph comes in holding a bottle of wine.)
Bardolph: Sir John, there’s a gentleman named Brook wishes to speak to you.
Falstaff: Brook? Don’t think I know him.
Bardolph: He’s bought you this bottle of wine as a courtesy.
Bardolph: Then he’s my friend. Show him in.
(Falstaff takes the bottle and puts it on the table. Bardolph goes out and Ford, disguised as Brook, comes in.)
Ford: Sir John Falstaff!
Falstaff: Master Brook!
Ford: Forgive my barging in like this.
Falstaff: Not at all. You’re most welcome.
Ford: Sir John, you don’t know me, but I know you by reputation–as a soldier, a scholar–and a man.
Falstaff: Ha, ha, ha! Quite so!
Ford: I have a favour to ask, and since I am a man of means, I will not hesitate to reward you generously for your services.
(Ford takes out a bag of money and puts it on the table.)
Falstaff: Then I am your servant, sir!
Ford: Sir John, you are the only one who can help me.–And if I confess to certain faults, I’m sure you will sympathize and not judge me too harshly.
Falstaff: I’m on your side, Master Brook–whatever your business is.
Ford: Now, sir, to get down to cases. There is a certain lady I have a crush on. She’s married, as it happens. Her husband’s name is Ford.
(Ford pauses to see how Falstaff reacts. Falstaff is wide-eyed for a moment but contains himself.)
Falstaff: Go on. I’m listening.
Ford: Now, as to this Ford lady. I’ve had absolutely no luck with her. I’ve sent her gifts and letters, but she totally ignores me.
Falstaff: Ah.–And how can I help?
Ford: It’s like this. She maintains the appearance of being very virtuous, very proper–you know, the good, faithful wife. Nevertheless–as I have heard–she has another side to her–a more, shall we say, naughty side? Eh? Know what I mean?
Falstaff: I certainly do.
Ford: Yes, yes, yes, I’m sure you do–ha, ha! You’re a man of the world, are you not?
Falstaff: I’ve never denied it.
Ford: Therefore, sir, my proposition to you is this. I want you to try to romance her. If anyone can, it’s you. I’ll make it worth your while. (Indicates the bag of money) There’s more where that came from.
Falstaff: Ah. Well. Your proposition is certainly agreeable. But I don’t see how it helps your cause if I make love to the lady you have a crush on.
Ford: I’ll explain it. It’s all about this pretense she has of being very proper. That’s the barrier I have to break through. If you can succeed in, shall we say, compromising her somewhat, then I’d have an argument I could use for my benefit. How can she reject me if she’s willing to cheat on her husband with you? She’d have no more pretense, no excuses. Get it?
Falstaff: Ah. Yes. I see. Very clever. Master Brook, leave it to me. It’s as good as done. As a matter of fact, by an extraordinary coincidence, I have a secret tryst arranged with the lady tomorrow. Between ten and eleven, to be precise.
Ford: Do you now!
Falstaff: Yes. Her stupid husband will be out of the house. If you come and see me tomorrow evening, I expect I shall have a very favourable report to give you. After that, she’s all yours.
Ford: Wonderful!–Em, by the way, do you happen to know Ford at all?
Falstaff: Not personally. But I understand he’s a jerk. But all that matters to me is that he’s got money. And I intend to squeeze his wife a bit to get some of it. You don’t mind, do you?
Ford: No, not at all. I just hope you don’t run into him. After all, you don’t know what he looks like.
Falstaff: Oh, I’m not afraid of him. I’d just stare him down and he’d probably faint. I’m sure he’s got the mind of a peasant and the spine of a jellyfish. Master Brook, you come back tomorrow evening. (He picks up the bag of money.) Right now, I have some business to take care of. You can sit here and relax as long as you like.
Ford: Thank you.
(They shake hands and Falstaff leaves.)
Ford: That son of a bitch!–The spine of a jellyfish, eh?–Well, this proves I was right to be jealous. Good thing I found all this out. If she thinks she can meet a man behind my back–Wait till I catch them in the act.–And Page will have to admit I was right. He’ll smarten up.–The mind of a peasant, eh?–Oh, I’ll get him!
Act 2, Scene 3. A field. Curtain up reveals Doctor Caius pacing back and forth impatiently as Rugby stands by.
Caius: What time is it, Rugby?
Rugby: It’s past the hour, sir. Sir Hugh is late.
Caius: Ha! Better for him if he not show up at all. Otherwise, I kill him.
Rugby: He probably realizes that, sir.
(The Host, Shallow, Slender, and Page come in.)
Host: Hello, doctor!
Others: Hello, doctor!
Caius: What? All four of you come to watch?
Host: Yes, to see you make use of your nefarious French swordsmanship.
Caius: Nefarious? What is that?
Caius: Ah, yes–brilliant. Nefarious. I am that, too.
Host: That parson should be mighty afraid of you. After all, you are the Castilian King Urinal.
Caius: Eh? What is that? My English is not perfect.
Host: The king of beasts. The lion of the medical profession.
Caius: Oui. Merci. You are kind to say so. I be the King Urinal for him if he dare to show up. But he is not come, that coward.
Shallow: It’s for the best, doctor. After all, he is a healer of souls and you are a healer of the body. You shouldn’t fight.–Don’t you agree, Master Page?
Page: I do, indeed, Master Shallow. And I know you yourself used to be formidable with a sword, but now you’re a man of peace.
Shallow: What do you mean, used to be? I could still hold my own if I had to, believe me. We all keep a bit of the youthful spirit, no matter how old we get.
Page: Indeed, sir.
Shallow: Now, my good Master Doctor Caius, for the sake of peace I’ve come to take you home.
Caius: But my honour, sir.
Host: Your honour is beyond question. Your reputation as a mutt is well-known.
Caius: A mutt? What is that?
Host: Champion. Brave fellow.
Caius: Ah! Thank you.
Host: And Parson Evans will be sure to eviscerate you when he sees you.
Caius: Eviscerate? What is that?
Host: Make up with you. Apologize.
Caius: Ah. Good. He better eviscerate me, or else.
Host: He will.–Excuse me. (Aside to the others) You fellows go on to Frogmore and wait for us.
Page (Aside to the Host): Is that where Evans is?
Host (Aside to Page): Yes. I told him the duel would be there. You go and keep him occupied. I’ll take the doctor there on a pretext.
Page (Aside to the Host): Right.–Doctor, we’ll see you later.
Caius: Okay. Goodbye.
(Page, Shallow, and Slender leave.)
Host: Doctor, there’s no point waiting any longer for Parson Evans. If you come with me, I can take you to where Anne Page is.
Host: Frogmore. She’s having dinner there. I’ll bring you right to her, all right?
Caius: Very good! Thank you! I will send all my gentlemen patients to your inn.
Host: And I will be your messenger to Anne Page.
Caius: Parfait! Merci!–Rugby, come on.
(The Host, Caius, and Rugby leave.)
Act 3, Scene 1. A field at Frogmore. Evans and Simple come in. Simple is leading, and Evans seems lost.
Evans: Are you sure this is where I’m supposed to duel Doctor Caius?
Simple: Yes, sir. The host of the Garter has arranged it.
Evans: So where’s Caius?
Simple: I don’t know, sir. I’ve looked everywhere except the road into town.
Evans: Then go look there.
Simple: Yes, sir.
Evans: No bloody French doctor is going to challenge me and get away with it. I’ll knock his brains out.–In a Christian way, of course.
Simple: Some people are coming, sir–Master Slender, Master Shallow, and Master Page.
(Evans takes out his Bible and pretends to be reading as Shallow, Slender, and Page come in.)
Shallow: There’s our good parson.–Reading your Bible, eh?
Evans: Of course.
Page: Now, my good parson. We’ve come to do you a favour.
Evans: Like what?
Page: There’s a certain fellow back there (Indicating with a nod of his head) who’s in an awful state of mind because he thinks he’s been wronged.
Shallow: It’s totally out of character for him. He’s a learned man and quite a decent fellow.
Evans: And whom would you be referring to?–As if I couldn’t guess.
Page: Master Doctor Caius, the renowned French physician.
Evans: Renowned French physician!–Ptoo! (He spits.) He’s a quack and a knave and a coward! Bring him here and I’ll deal with him!
Shallow: Uh-oh. Keep them apart.
(The Host comes in with Caius and Rugby. Evans and Caius immediately get in each other’s faces and are separated by the others.)
Page: Now, now, parson, don’t draw your sword.
Shallow: The same for you, doctor.
Host: Take their weapons. (The others disarm Evans and Caius.) This way if they hack away at each other, the only harm they’ll do is to the English language.
(The others laugh, and Evans and Caius begin to realize they’ve been pranked.)
Caius (To Evans): So–you are not duelling me?
Evans: Later. (Aside to Caius) They’re laughing at us. You pretend to by angry, and so will I. We’ll make up with each other later. (Normal voice) You rogue! You coward! Showing up late for your own duel!
Caius: Me? Late? I waited for you, and you didn’t show up! You’re the coward!
Evans: I waited for you! Right here!
Host: Okay, okay, stop the argument. I had you guys wait in different places. After all, we wouldn’t want to lose either one of you. Pretty good joke, eh?–Ha, ha!–Now, why don’t you guys sit down over a bottle of wine and agree to be friends, okay? We’ll keep your swords for the time being.–Okay, fellows, let’s go.
(The Host leaves with Shallow, Slender, and Page.)
Caius: So–we are the two fools for their amusement.
Evans: I’m afraid so.
Caius: He told me he was bringing me to Anne Page. Some joke!
Evans: Now I’m more angry with him than I am with you.
Caius: The same with me.
Evans: So what do you say we stick it to him?
Caius: Stick it to him? What is that?
Evans: Get even. Play a joke on him.
Caius: Ah! Now you talk good English!
(Evans and Caius leave.)
Act 3, Scene 2. A street in Windsor. Mistress page walks in with Robin.
Mist Page: Robin, if you listen to me, you’ll get ahead in this world.
Robin: Yes, ma’am.
Mist. Page: I’ll be nicer to you than Sir John is. You’ll see.
Robin: Yes, ma’am.
(Ford comes in.)
Ford: Mistress Page, where are you off to?
Mist. Page: I’m just on my way to see your wife, as a matter of fact. I assume she’s home.
Ford: Yes–all alone and no doubt wanting company.–Where’d you find him?
Mist. Page: He belongs to a friend of my husband.–Em–(Pretends not being able to remember)–what’s his name again?
Robin: Sir John Falstaff.
Ford: Oh.–Sir John Falstaff.–Indeed.
Mist. Page: Well, we’ll be on our way, then, Master page. Goodbye.
(Mistress Page and Robin go out.)
Ford: That fool Page! Doesn’t he realize what’s going on? He’s practically throwing his wife at Falstaff. And she’s obviously willing. What a cheeky fellow. Thinks he can shoot two birds with one shot. He’ll make cuckolds of us both unless I stop him. (The clock strikes ten.) Ten o’clock. Falstaff will be there. I’ll catch him red-handed.
(Page, Shallow, Slender, the Host, Evans, Caius, and Rugby come in.)
The Party: Good morning, Master Ford.
Ford: Well! Half of Windsor is here. I was just heading home. Care to come along?
Shallow: Some other time.
Slender: We’re supposed to meet Anne for lunch.
Shallow: We’re trying to fix them up (Nodding toward Slender).
Ford: Ah. I understand.
Slender (To Page): I’m hoping.
Page: I’m all for you, Master Slender. (To Ford) Although my wife favours the good doctor here.
Caius: I know Anne cares for me. My housekeeper has assured me.
Host: Don’t forget Master Fenton. He’s a fine fellow. He has all the social graces. He’s rubbed shoulders with royalty, you know.
Page: I know all about that. He hung around with Prince Hal and his gang of rowdies. [Author's note: Nickname of Henry V as a young prince.] Fenton has social rank, all right, but unfortunately not the money that should go with it. I’m not giving my daughter away to a fortune-seeker.
Ford: Well, I can see you have a lot to discuss. But if any of you care to come home with me for lunch, I promise you a big surprise. You’ll see me catch a monster.
Page: A monster?–Ha, ha!
Shallow: Master Slender and I will pass. But you go ahead and catch your monster. I’m sure we’ll hear all about it–ha, ha!
(Shallow and Slender leave.)
Caius: Rugby, you go home. I’ll be home soon.
Rugby: Yes, sir.
Host: I’ll be getting back to the pub–to have a drink with my friend Sir John Falstaff.
(The Host leaves.)
Ford (Aside, mockingly): Sir John Falstaff! (Makes a face)–Well, how about you fellows? Coming home with me?
Others: Yes.–Sure.–Show us the monster!–Ha!
(They all leave.)
Act 3, Scene 3. The Ford house. Mistresses Ford and Page come in.
Mist. Ford (Calling): John!–Robert!
(Servants John and Robert come in with a large laundry basket, which they set on the floor.)
Mist. Ford: Now remember, when I call you, you pick up the basket and carry it out. It’ll be heavy, but don’t stagger. It has to look normal. You take the basket to the river and dump the laundry in the ditch for washing. Understand?
John and Robert: Yes, ma’am.
Mist. Ford: Good. Now go and wait.
(John and Robert go out. Then Robin comes in.)
Robin: Mistress Ford, Sir John is at the back door.
Mist. Page: You haven’t given us away, have you?
Robin: No, ma’am. You’re my friend. I wouldn’t do that.
Mist. Page: Good. (To Mistress Ford) I’ll go hide.
Mist. Ford: Remember your cue.–Robin, let Sir John in.
(Mistress Page and Robin go out separately. Then Falstaff comes in.)
Falstaff: My heavenly jewel! My buttercup! My angel on earth! At last!
Mist. Ford: Oh, Sir John!
Falstaff: Mistress Ford, forgive me for saying so, but if only your husband were out of the way, I’d make you a real lady–the wife of a knight.
Mist. Ford: I’m afraid I’d be a poor excuse for a lady.
Falstaff: Ha! If you were in France, all the men in the court would lose their minds over you.
Mist. Ford (Laughing): You flatter me, Sir John!
Falstaff: You were meant for the noble life. I can see it even if nobody else can.
Mist. Ford (Laughing): Oh, Sir John!
Falstaff: If it weren’t so, I wouldn’t be so madly in love with you.
Mist. Ford: I don’t believe it. I think perhaps Mistress Page is the one you love.
Falstaff: Mistress Page?–Pfoof!–It hurts my eyes just to look at her.
Mist Ford: Well, I’m glad to hear that because I certainly love you.
Robin (Within, calling): Mistress Ford, Mistress Page is at the door! She says it’s urgent!
Falstaff: Uh-oh! I don’t want her to find me here.
Mist. Ford: Hide behind the drapery.
(Falstaff hides behind the drapery. [Author's note: The original refers to an arras, which is a wall hanging or tapestry.] Then Mistress Page comes in with Robin.)
Mist. Page: Your husband’s on his way with half the officers of Windsor!
Mist. Ford: Whatever for?
Mist. Page: He thinks you’ve got a man here. I know you don’t, but–just in case–you’d better get him out quick.
Mist. Ford: Oh, dear!–I do have a gentleman friend here. I’m not worried about myself, of course, but I hate to think what my husband might do to him!
Mist. Page: You must get him out now!–The laundry basket!
Mist. Ford: I don’t think he’ll fit.
(Falstaff jumps out of hiding.)
Falstaff: Oh, hell! Get me out of here!
(Falstaff jumps in the laundry basket. Mistress Page pretends to be surprised.)
Mist. Page: Sir John! (Aside to him) I thought you loved me.
Falstaff (Aside to Mist. Page): I do, I do! Just get me out of here!
(The Wives cover him over with the laundry.)
Mist. Page (To Falstaff in the basket): You liar.
Mist. Ford: John!–Robert!
(Mistress Ford signals Robin to leave, which he does. John and Robert come in and pick up the laundry basket.)
Mist. Ford: You know where to take it. Hurry!
(John and Robert and just starting to carry the basket out when Ford, Page, Caius, and Evans come in.)
Ford (To his party): Now you’ll see what I’m talking about! And if I’m wrong, you can laugh at me all you want. (To the Servants) Where are you going?
John and Robert: To the laundress.
Ford: Oh.–Well, go on, then.
(John and Robert leave, carrying the basket.)
Ford (To his party): I’ll guard the door so he can’t get out that way. You fellows search the house.
Page: Aren’t you taking this a bit too far?
Ford: You’ll see that I’m not.
(Ford moves offstage to the door as the others go out to search. When they are all gone, the Wives laugh.)
Mist. Ford: Did you see the look on Falstaff’s face?
Mist. Page: He probably wet himself in the basket!
Mist. Ford: Then he’ll be glad to see the laundress, won’t he?
Mist. Page: Your husband’s going to look like a fool.
Mist. Ford: Serves him right for being so jealous.–He must have known Falstaff would be here.
Mist. Page: He bumped into me and Robin on our way over.–Listen, we should have some more fun with Falstaff and your husband.
Mist. Ford: Yes, why not? We can send Mistress Quickly with another message for Falstaff and set him up for another prank.
Mist. Page: Yes, yes. Tell him if he comes back tomorrow you’ll make it up to him for what happened today.
Mist. Ford: That’s just what I was thinking.
(Ford, Page, Caius, and Evans return.)
Page: There’s nobody. I think you imagined the whole thing.
Ford: Maybe he was afraid to come.
Mist. Page: Master Ford, don’t you trust your wife?
Mist. Ford: My feelings are very hurt.
Ford (Embarrassed): Well–
Mist. Page: Shame on you.
Ford: Well–maybe I was wrong.
Evans: You were, sir.
Caius: Yes. We looked everywhere.
Page: I told you.
(A pause for effect. Ford is embarrassed and deflated.)
Ford: All right. I’m a fool. Go ahead, laugh at me. (To his Wife) I’m sorry. (To Mistress Page) And I apologize to you, too.
Page: We’ll save our mocking for tomorrow, how’s that? You fellows can come to my house for breakfast, and afterwards we’ll do a little bird-hunting, all right?
Evans (Aside to Caius): Don’t forget. We’re still going to get even with the host of the Garter.
Caius (Aside to Evans): Yes.
(Page, Caius, and Evans leave.)
Act 3, Scene 4. In front of Page’s house. Fenton comes in with Anne Page.
Fenton: Your father won’t give me a chance. He thinks I’m just after your money.
Anne: Maybe you are.
Fenton: Aw, come on. Look, maybe I got interested at first because of that. But once I got to know you, I loved you for what you are. I don’t care about money.
Anne: Don’t give up on my father.–Come, let’s talk it over.
(Fenton and Anne move apart to talk. Then Shallow, Slender, and Mistress Quickly come in.)
Shallow (To Mist. Quickly): Tell Anne my nephew wants to talk to her.
(Mistress Quickly goes to interrupt Anne and Fenton.)
Slender: What’ll I say?
Shallow: Just talk to her.
Mist. Quickly: Excuse me, Master Fenton.–Anne, Master Slender would have a word with you.
(Anne approaches Shallow and Slender.)
Shallow (To Slender): Your father would know what to say to a young lady if he were in your place.
Slender: My father–ha, ha! He was funny.–Mistress Anne, my uncle should tell you about the time my father stole two geese–
Shallow (Interrupting with a subtle kick to Slender): Mistress Anne, my nephew loves you.
Slender: Em–yes–as much as any lady in Gloucestershire.–Perhaps other counties, too, although I don’t know them very well.
Shallow: He’ll support you like a lady.
Slender: Yes. Wife of a squire. That’s what you’ll be.
Shallow: He’ll pledge you a hundred and fifty pounds up front.
Anne: I’m sure he can speak for himself, Master Shallow.–Now, then, Master Slender, what is your will?
Slender: My will? Oh, goodness, I haven’t made out a will yet–ha, ha.
Anne: No, I mean,what do you want with me?
Slender: Oh.–Well–you see, my uncle and your father have more or less agreed–on me, that is–to marry you. And if it happens, I’ll be very happy. And if not, well–good luck to whoever.–No hard feelings, eh?–That is–
(Shallow gives Slender another kick to shut him up. Just then, Page and his Wife come in.)
Page: Ah, here’s Master Slender.–Well, Anne, what do you say? You’ll marry him, won’t you?–What’s Fenton doing here?–Fenton, didn’t I tell you to give it up? My daughter’s not for you.
Fenton: If you’d just give me a chance–
Mist. Page: I’m sorry, Master Fenton, but she’s not for you.
Fenton: But, madam–sir–
Page: Master Shallow–Master Slender–let’s go inside.–Fenton, there’s no point in you hanging around here. You can take a hint, can’t you?
(Page, Shallow, and Slender go in the house.)
Mist Quickly (Aside to Fenton): Talk to her mother.
Fenton: Mistress Page, I love your daughter. I really do.
Anne: Mother, don’t marry me off to Slender. I really have no interest in him.
Mist. Page: I certainly won’t, if I have my way. You can do better than him.
Mist Quickly: Like Doctor Caius?
Mist. Page: Yes.
Anne: No, not him either.
Mist. Page: Master Fenton, for my daughter’s sake, I’ll agree to be neutral. I will talk things over with her. But in the meantime you mustn’t hang around here or my husband will be angry.
Fenton: Yes, madam. Thank you.–Goodbye, Anne.
(Mistress Page and Anne go in the house.)
Mist Quickly: Don’t you worry, Master Fenton. You’ll marry her–thanks to me.
Fenton: Thank you. I appreciate it.–Here. Give Anne this ring. (He takes a ring off his finger.) And this is for your service. (He gives her some money.)
Mist. Quickly: Thank you, sir. Now you run along and don’t worry about anything.
Mist. Quickly: Everyone’s paying me to help them marry Anne. I can’t lose on this deal no matter who she marries.–Ah! Must go see Sir John Falstaff. The wives aren’t finished with him.
Act 3, Scene 5. A room in the Garter Inn. Falstaff comes in, frowning, followed by Bardolph.
Falstaff: Bring me a quart of sack.
Bardolph: Sure thing.
(Bardolph goes out.)
Falstaff: Of all the indignities!–To be dumped into the river!–I almost drowned!–I’ll be damned if I let them pull another trick like that on me!
(Bardolph returns with a bottle.)
Bardolph: Mistress Quickly is here. She wants to speak to you.
Falstaff (Muttering): Mistress Quickly.–All right.
(Bardolph signals on his way out, and Mistress Quickly comes in as Falstaff is pouring himself some wine.)
Mist. Quickly: Good morning, Sir John!
Mist. Quickly: Mistress Ford sent me.
Falstaff: Never heard of her.
Mist. Quickly: Oh, sir, she’s so sorry about what happened. It was entirely a misunderstanding. Her servants miscontrued her.
Falstaff: So did I!
Mist. Quickly: Oh, sir, she wants to make it up to you. Her husband will be out birding this morning. She says you’re to come to see her between eight and nine.
Mist. Quickly: Yes. She promises to make it up to you.
Falstaff: Well–all right. Tell her I’ll be there.
Mist. Quickly: Ah, that’s good, sir. I’ll go at once. Goodbye.
(Mistress Quickly leaves.)
Falstaff: Where the hell is that guy Brook? He told me he’d be here.
(Ford comes in disguised as Brook.)
Ford: Good morning, Sir John! Sorry I couldn’t come last evening.
Falstaff: That’s quite all right, Master Brook. I’m sure you want to hear what happened yesterday at Ford’s house.
Ford: Yes, indeed. Tell me everything.
Falstaff: Well, I was there at the appointed hour.
Ford: And how did it go?
Falstaff: Not too well, I’m afraid. I was just at the point of getting it on with the old girl when her husband showed up with a whole gang of people. He was convinced she was seeing someone and he and his friends were determined to kill me.
Ford: Oh, my goodness! How did you escape?
Falstaff: By a combination of luck and wits. Her friend, Mistress Page, arrived just in time to warn us, and I jumped into a laundery basket and got carried out by the servants.
Ford: Now that was lucky!
Falstaff: Yes, but what a smell! I swear, I don’t know why dirty laundry should smell so bad. One expects better from the middle class. Anyway, that bastard Ford almost opened the basket to check, but he didn’t, and the servants got me out. They took me to Datchet Lane, where they do the laundry.
Ford: Ah, good for you.
Falstaff: Good? Well, I’m lucky to be alive, if that’s what you mean. I almost died three deaths. First, I almost got caught by Ford. Second, I had to squeeze so tight into that basket I thought my bones would break. And third, I almost died from the smell. And after that, when I got dumped into the river, I almost drowned. So that makes four deaths I barely escaped.
Ford: What an ordeal!
Falstaff: I hope you appreciate what I went through to try to do you a favour.
Ford: Yes, I certainly appreciate it. And I’m sorry you suffered so much.–So then, you’re giving up?
Falstaff: Giving up? Hell, no. Sir John Falstaff never gives up. Why, I’d sooner jump into a volcano than give up when I’m–this close (Indicates with fingers). It so happens that I’ve received a message from Mistress Ford that I can go see her between eight and nine this morning. Her stupid husband will be out bird-hunting.
Ford: It’s after eight already.
Falstaff: What!–Oh, God, I have to go. Listen, em–come back, em–whenever–at your leisure–and I’ll give you a full report. Don’t worry about a thing. She’s practically yours. Must go. See you later.
(Falstaff rushes out.)
Ford: So!–To think I almost caught that bastard yesterday. Instead, I got ridiculed by my friends. Well, he won’t get away from me a second time–unless the devil shrinks him small enough to hide in a salt shaker.–And even then I’ll check the salt shaker.
(Ford goes out.)
Act 4, Scene 1. This scene is deleted.
Act 4, Scene 2. In Ford’s house. Mistress Ford and Falstaff come in. The laundry basket is present again.
Falstaff: So it was all a misunderstanding, then?
Mist. Ford: Yes, Sir John. It’s my fault. I’m sorry.
Falstaff: Then I’m a happy guy again. And when I say I love you, I mean, like, totally. Everything I have is yours–and vice-versa.
Mist. Ford: Of course.
Falstaff: And your husband’s out birding?
Mist. Ford: Yes. Finally, we can be alone.
Mist. Page (Within): Yoo-hoo! Mistress Ford!
Mist. Ford: Oh, dear, it’s Page again. Better hide.
(Falstaff goes out. Mistress Page comes in.)
Mist. Page: There you are, dearie. Is anyone else at home?
Mist. Ford: Just the hired help.
Mist. Page: That’s good.
Mist. Ford (Hushed voice): Speak louder. (She jerks her thumb to indicate where Falstaff is.)
Mist. Page (Louder): It’s a good thing you don’t have Sir John Falstaff here.
Mist. Ford: Oh? Why?
Mist. Page: Your husband’s all riled up again. He swears you sneaked Falstaff out in the laundry basket, and he’s brought his friends back to search the house again. He seems to think Falstaff is here.
Mist. Ford: Uh-oh. Where is my husband now?
Mist. Page: Just down the road. He and his friends will be here any second. Why? Is something wrong?
Mist. Ford: Yes. I’m in trouble now. Falstaff is here.
Mist. Page: Oh, no! Your husband will kill him! You’ve got to get him out!
Mist. Ford: How? In the laundry basket?
(Falstaff comes in frantically.)
Falstaff: No way! I’m not getting in there again!
Mist. Page: Why, Sir John! What are you doing here?
Falstaff: Em–I just came back to look for a lost button. What’ll I do? Can I run out the back?
Mist. Page: No. They’ll be watching the whole house. And they’re armed with pistols.
Falstaff: Oh, God! Where can I hide?
Mist. Ford: There’s no place. My husband will search every square inch of the house.
Falstaff: Well, think of something, for God’s sake!
Mist. Page: Disguise him–as a lady!
Mist. Ford: Yes! My housekeeper’s aunt left a dress upstairs. She’s a fat lady, so it’ll fit him.
Mist. Page: Your housekeeper’s aunt? Isn’t she the witch of Brainford?
Mist. Ford: Yes, that’s what everyone calls her. She tells fortunes and does spells–that sort of thing.
Mist. Page: And your husband allows her to come here?
Mist. Ford: Not any more. She’s barred from the house. He says he won’t allow any witches in here.
Falstaff: Witch or no witch, if that dress will fit me, it’s my only hope!
Mist. Ford: Go upstairs to the housekeeper’s room. The dress is in the closet. And find a scarf or something to cover your head with.
(Falstaff rushes out.)
Mist. Ford: Is my husband really coming?
Mist. Page: Yes.
Mist. Ford: How did he find out about the laundry basket?
Mist. Page: I don’t know.
Mist. Ford: Well, we’ll have some fun with him. I’ll have my boys carry out the basket again, and we’ll see what he does. You go upstairs and help Sir John with his disguise.
Mist. Page: Okay.
(Mistress Page goes out.)
Mist. Ford (Calling): John!–Robert!
(John and Robert come in.)
Mist. Ford: Pick up the laundry basket and take it out. If your master stops you, just obey him. I’m going upstairs.
(Mistress Ford goes out.)
Robert: I hope that fat bastard isn’t in here again. I almost got a hernia lifting him up yesterday.
John: Come on.
(They pick up the basket and are just starting to leave when Ford, Page, Shallow, Caius, and Evans come in. Ford is carrying a stick.)
Ford: Hold it! Put down that basket! (The Servants put it down. To the others) Now you’ll see what tricks they’re up to.–(Calling) Wife, come down!
Page: Really, Master Ford.
Evans: This is crazy.
Shallow: You’re being silly, Master Ford.
Ford: You think so? Just wait. The villain is right inside here.
(Mistress Ford returns.)
Mist. Ford: What’s the matter now?
Ford: Sending out the laundry, eh?
Mist. Ford: Yes.
Ford: And it’s just laundry. Nobody hiding in the basket, eh?
Mist. Ford: No.
Ford: Ha! (To the others) Watch this!
(Ford opens the basket and starts pulling the laundry out.)
Page: Really, sir!
Ford: He’s in here! I know he is!
(Ford turns the basket over, spilling everything out.)
Page: There’s nobody.
Shallow: And you suspected your wife of cheating on you? Shame on you!
Evans: Pray for your sanity, sir.
Ford (Angrily to his Wife): Where is he?
Page: He’s in your imagination, that’s where.
Ford: I know he’s somewhere in the house. He has to be. I want you guys to search.
Page: Not again!
Ford (To the Servants): Get this out of here!
(John and Robert put the laundry back in the basket and carry it out.)
Caius: I should prescribe you something for your nerves.
Page: Yes, I think you should.
Mist. Ford (Calling): Mistress Page, bring the lady down!
Ford: What lady?
Mist. Ford: The old lady of Brainford. The housekeeper’s aunt. You know.
Ford: That witch?
Mist. Ford: Yes.
Ford: Didn’t I say she was never to set foot in this house again? Where is that devil-worshiper? I’ll give her a spell with this! (Indicating the stick)
Mist. Ford: Now, now, you wouldn’t hit an old lady.
Ford: Oh, wouldn’t I!
(Falstaff, disguised in women’s clothes, comes in with Mistress Page.)
Mist. Page: Come along, Mother Prat.–She’s just leaving.
Ford: Out of my house, witch!
(Ford strikes Falstaff with his stick. Falstaff runs out, yelping in a high-pitched voice.)
Mist. Page: Oh, no, Master Ford! She’s just an old lady !
Ford: They ought to hang her!–Damned witch!
Evans: I could have sworn she had a beard.
Evans: Under her scarf. She had a beard just like a man.
Ford: That’s him! Come on!
(Ford runs out, followed by the other Men.)
Mist. Page: I don’t think Falstaff will be coming around again.
Mist. Ford: I should think not. Should we tell the husbands what we did?
Mist. Page: Yes, I think so–just so they understand we’re honest wives.
Mist. Ford: I wonder what they’ll do to him. Probably some sort of public humiliation.
Mist. Page: He deserves it.–Come, let’s follow them.
Act 4, Scene 3. In the Garter Inn. The Host is wiping a table or otherwise being busy when Bardolph comes in. (Author’s note: Caius and Evans play a trick on the Host involving Germans, but it is never properly explained. Scholars speculate that a scene was lost from the original play.)
Bardolph: Sir, the Germans want to borrow three of your horses to go meet the Duke at the court tomorrow.
Host: Duke? What duke?
Bardolph: Some visiting German duke, I think.
Host: I haven’t heard anything about a visiting German duke.
Bardolph: Well, anyway, they need three horses.
Host: They can have them, but they’ll pay for them. They’ve been here a week and they’ve run up quite a tab. They’d better start paying. You tell them.
Bardolph: I will, sir.
Act 4, Scene 2. In Ford’s house. Page, Ford, their Wives, and Evans come in.
Evans: That’s the best bit of trickery I ever heard!
Ford: Wife, I promise I’ll never doubt you gain.
Page: I think we should stick it to Falstaff again. It’s more fun than bird-hunting.
Ford: He deserves it. That’s for sure.
Mist. Page: He still doesn’t realize we double-crossed him.
Mist. Ford: No. We can prank him one more time. In the park at midnight.
Evans: Oh, he won’t fall for another prank now.
Mist. Ford: Yes, he will. We have a plan.
Mist. Page: You’ve heard of Herne the hunter–the ghost who’s supposed to haunt the park?
Ford: I’ve heard of him.
Mist. Page: In the wintertime he circles the big oak tree and rattles his chains and bewitches the cattle.
Mist. Ford: And he’s got big horns like a deer.
Mist. Page: Plenty of people still believe in him.
Page: Yes, yes. They’re afraid to go near the old oak at midnight. So what?
Mist. Ford: Here’s the plan. We’ll arrange to meet Falstaff at the oak at midnight, and we’ll tell him to be disguised like Herne’s ghost–to scare away anyone who might catch us, you see.
Page: And then what?
Mist. Page: Anne and the children will be dressed like fairies, and they’ll be hiding. Then when we meet Falstaff at the tree, the kids will jump out and scare the hell out of him and make him think he’s going to hell for his sins.
Evans: I like it! It’s very Christian. Even better than Halloween.
Mist. Page: Anne will be the Queen of the Fairies since she’s the oldest. All our other kids will be the fairies.
Page (Aside to the audience): This is perfect. I’ll arrange for Master Slender to be there, and at the right moment he’ll snatch Anne away and marry her.
Ford: I should disguise myself as Brook one more time and make sure Falstaff will be there.
Evans (To Mist. Page): You’ll need costumes for the kids. I can help with that. And I can help you coach them.–Oh, this’ll be fun!
Page: Yes, yes. Let’s go.
(Evans, Ford, and Page leave.)
Mist. Page (To Mist. Ford): You send Mistress Quickly to Falstaff again. She has to give him instructions on where to meet us.
Mist. Ford: I’ll go see her now.
(Mistress Ford leaves.)
Mist. Page: This is perfect. I’ll arrange for Doctor Caius to be there, and at the right moment he can grab Anne and take her away and marry her.
Act 4, Scene 5. In the Garter Inn. The Host is wiping a table when Simple comes in.
Host: What’ll you have, bumpkin?
Host: Speak, dummy!
Simple: Em, I’ve come to speak to Sir John Falstaff. Master Slender sent me.
Host: His room’s up there. Go on up and knock. If he doesn’t answer, he’s probably dead. Then I can turn his room into a tourist attraction and make some money–the Haunted Room of Sir John Falstaff!
Simple: I’m afraid to knock, sir. I saw a fat, old woman go up and I’d rather wait till she leaves.
Host (Facetiously): What! A fat, old woman? She’ll go through his pockets before I can! (Calling) Sir John! Are you alive up there?
Falstaff (Within): What do you want?
Host: A simpleton named Simple is waiting for the fat woman to leave! Tell her to go! This is an honourable establishment!–Relatively speaking.
(Falstaff comes in.)
Falstaff: It’s all right. She’s gone.
Simple: Wasn’t that the wise woman of Brainford?
Falstaff: The wise woman of–Why, yes, as a matter of fact. She’s a wise woman. Not a witch. Just wise.
Simple: Master Slender saw her running down the street, and he wanted me to ask her if Nym, the fellow who cheated him of his gold chain, had robbed him of it.
Falstaff: Ah.–Yes, I asked her about that.
Simple: And what did she say?
Falstaff: She said the very same man who cheated him was the one who robbed him.
Simple: Oh. I see.–And there was something else I was supposed to ask.
Falstaff: Like what?
Simple: Em–it’s rather private.
Host: I’ll have no privacy in my establishment. Speak, you scoundrel!
Simple: Em–it was concerning Mistress Anne Page.
Falstaff: What about her?
Simple: Master Slender wanted to know if it would be his fortune to have her or not.
Falstaff: Yes, that’s his fortune.
Simple: What is?
Falstaff: To have her or not. The wise woman told me. You can tell Master Slender.
Simple (Confused): Oh.–Thank you, sir. I shall report it to him.–Well, goodbye. Thank you.
Host: Goodbye, dummy.–So–was there a wise woman in your room? If so, there may be a snowman in hell.
Falstaff: There was, indeed. And I learned more from her than I ever learned before in my life. (Rubbing the back of his head.) And I was paid to learn.
(Bardolph rushes in, covered in mud.)
Bardolph: Those thieves! They took your horses!
Host: Who did?
Bardolph: The Germans. They knocked me into the mud and took off with your horses!
Host: I thought you said they were going to meet some duke.
Bardolph: Yes, that’s what they said, but–
Host: Well, then, forget it. Germans are honest, aren’t they?
(Evans comes in.)
Evans: My good host. I came to warn you.
Host: What’s the matter?
Evans: I’ve just learned that there are three Germans who have been stealing horses from all the innkeepers in the county. So watch out.
(Evans goes out. Then Doctor Caius comes in.)
Caius: My friend, host of the Garter! Good thing I find you. I hear you get ready to receive a duke from Germany.
Host: Em–what about him?
Caius: Well, I tell you in truth there is no such duke coming.
(Caius leaves. The Host is perplexed for a moment, then realizes that he’s been pranked by Evans and Caius.)
Host: Those bastards!–Caius!–Evans!–Sir John, I’ve been duped!
(The Host runs out, followed by Bardolph.)
Falstaff: Now he knows how it feels.–Ach! What I’ve been through.–I’m being punished, that’s what it is. Ever since I cheated at pinochle when I was a boy, I’ve had nothing but bad luck. If I knew any prayers, I’d say them and repent.
(Mistress Quickly comes in.)
Falstaff: Not you again. What do you want now?
Mist. Quickly: The ladies sent me to apologize for the unfortunate mishap.
Falstaff: Oh, please. Spare me.
Mist. Quickly: Oh, sir, if you only knew what bad trouble Mistress Ford got into–all because she loves you.
Falstaff: Don’t talk to me about trouble. I got beaten with a stick, and after that a constable mistook me for the witch of Brainford and wanted to lock me up. And he would have if it wasn’t for my cleverness in passing myself off as an innocent old lady.
Mist. Quickly: It’s the stars, sir. They have a way of thwarting people in love. It’s a test of your sincerity. But if you’ll let me speak to you privately–in your room–I have a letter for you that will put a smile on your face, believe me.
Falstaff: Oh–all right. Come on up to my room.
(They go out.)
Act 4, Scene 6. The Garter Inn. The Host is sitting and looking gloomy when Fenton comes in.
Fenton: My good host!
Host: Not now, Fenton. I’ve been ripped off. I’m so miserable right now.
Fenton: I’m sorry to hear it, but just hear me out. I have a favour to ask, and if you help me, I’ll pay you enough to cover your losses, plus a hundred pounds to the good.
Host: Oh! In that case you have my full attention.
Fenton: You know that I’m in love with Anne Page.
Host: Everyone knows.
Fenton: Well, she loves me, too. And we want to get married. Now here’s the situation. Anne has told me that there’s an elaborate joke being prepared for Falstaff. It’s going to take place at Herne’s oak tonight at midnight. Anne is going to be disguised as the Fairy Queen, and the other Page children and Ford children are going to be the fairies. Her father has told her to dress in white so Slender will spot her and take here away to Eton to be married. But her mother has told her to dress in green so Doctor Caius can pick her out and take her away and marry her.
Host: So what’s she going to do?
Fenton: She told both her parents she’d follow their instructions, but actually she’s going to wait for me. I’m going to take her away and marry her. I need you to find a vicar and have him wait for us at the church between midnight and one o’clock. Can you do that?
Host: Hell, yes! It’s a deal!
Fenton: Thank you!
(They shake hands. Fenton leaves.)
Act 5, Scene 1. Falstaff’s room in the Garter Inn. A conversation is in progress between Falstaff and Mistress Quickly.
Falstaff: This is the third appointment I’m making with her. Nothing better go wrong this time.
Mist. Quickly: The third time’s the charm, as they say, sir.
Falstaff: I hope you’re right. This plan sounds crazy, if you ask me.
Mist. Quickly: There’s a method to the madness, as they say, sir. I’ll get you a chain and a pair of horns to wear.
Falstaff: Fine. Now go.–And don’t look too happy when you leave the room. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.
Mist. Quickly: Very good, sir. Goodbye.
(Mistress Quickly leaves. Shortly thereafter, Ford comes in, again disguised as Brook.)
Ford: Sir John!
Falstaff: Ah, Master Brook! Good news, sir. The whole thing will be settled tonight. Be in the park at midnight tonight–at Herne’s oak.
Ford: Didn’t you see her yesterday?
Falstaff: I did, but I got chased out by her lunatic husband. I was disguised as a woman, so all I could do was run. If I’d been in my true guise, I would’ve stood up to him, believe me. But I intend to have the last laugh. I’ll seduce his wife, just like you asked me to. After that, I promise you, she’ll be all yours.
Ford: Ah, wonderful!
Falstaff: Come along, Master Brook, and I’ll tell you more about that miserable little man Ford. And you will see something amazing tonight in the park!
Ford: I can hardly wait!
(Falstaff and Ford leave.)
Act 5, Scene 2. In the park at night. Page, Shallow, and Slender come in. A distant clock strikes ten.
Page: Ten o’clock. Come on, we’ll hide in the ditch and wait for the fairies to show up. They’ll have candles.–Slender, be ready to spot my daughter.
Slender: Don’t worry. We agreed on a password. When I say “Manchester,” she’ll reply “United.”–United? Get it? Like married?
Shallow: Isn’t he clever?
Page: He sure is. My future son-in-law.–Come on.
Act 5, Scene 3. A street near the park. Mistress Page, Mistress Ford, and Doctor Caius come in.
Mist. Page: Remember, doctor, they’ll all be disguised, but my daughter will be the one in green. When you see your opportunity, just take her by the hand and lead her away. You go on ahead of us now.
Caius: Okay. Very good.
Mist. Ford: Where’s your daughter and the fairies and Sir Hugh?
Mist. Page: They’re hiding in a ditch near Herne’s oak. After we meet up with Falstaff, they’ll jump out.
Mist. Ford: Won’t he be surprised!
Mist. Page: He’ll be so shocked he may actually mend his ways after this. Come on.
Act. 5, Scene 4. In the park. Evans, disguised as a Satyr, comes in with the children, disguised as Fairies.
Evans: Come alone, fairies, and remember your parts. When I give you the word, you jump out and surprise the fat man.
(He leads the Fairies out.)
Act 5, Scene 5. Midnight at Herne’s oak. A distant clock strikes twelve. Falstaff comes in wearing deer antlers and carrying a chain.
Falstaff: It’s midnight. My sweet little doe should be here any minute. I feel like a bloody fool with these stupid horns, but if this is what I have to do to score, I’ll do it.
(Mistress Ford and Mistress Page come in.)
Mist. Ford: Sir John!
Falstaff: Ah! Madam!
Mist. Ford: My handsome buck!
Falstaff: My deer–ha, ha! Get it?
(He embraces her.)
Mist. Ford: I’ve brought Mistress Page with me. I hope you don’t mind.
Falstaff: Not at all! There’s enough of me to go around–ha, ha! How do I look? I’m Herne the hunter. (He rattles his chain.) Very spooky, eh?–Ha, ha!
Mist. Page: Are those horns for our husbands?–Ha, ha!
Falstaff: Yes, why not? What good are husbands anyway?
(A distant noise of horns is heard.)
Mist. Page (Feigning alarm): What’s that?
Mist. Ford: The trumpets of Judgment! We’ve been discovered! Heaven forgive us!
Mist. Page: We must run!
(The Wives run out.)
Falstaff: What the hell?–The devil doesn’t want me. He’s afraid I’d take over.
(Coming in disguised are Evans, as a Satyr, Anne Page, as Queen of the Fairies, Pistol, as Hobgoblin, and the children as Fairies. One bigger child is in white, and another is in green. The Fairies are all carrying candles. [Author's note: The Yale Shakespeare edition has Anne as the Queen of the Fairies, but the New Penguin edition has Mistress Quickly in that role. I think Anne is more appropriate.])
Falstaff: What the devil!–Who are you?
Evans: I’m the Satyr, and I know a lecher when I see one!
Pistol: And I’m Hobgoblin, and I know a scoundrel when I see one!
Anne: And I am the Queen of the Fairies! The wicked shall be punished!–Fairies, he’s the one!
(The Fairies dance around Falstaff, pinching him and burning him with their candles.)
Heaven knows who’s wicked,
And you’re going to hell!
Devil take you, devil take you!
Heaven knows who’s wicked,
And you’re going to hell!
Devil take you, devil take you!
(Falstaff screams in fright and falls face down on the ground and covers his head. As the Fairies continue to dance around him, Doctor Caius comes in stealthily and grabs the hand of a Fairy dressed in green and takes “her” away. Then Slender comes in another way and grabs the hand of a Fairy dressed in white and takes “her” away. Finally, Fenton sneaks in and grabs Anne and runs out with her. Then another sound of hunting horns is heard and the Fairies, Evans, and Pistol run away. Falstaff gets up. Then Page, Ford, the Wives, and Evans come in.)
Page: So! Sir John Falstaff–caught in the act. Or should I address you as Herne the hunter–ha, ha!
Mist. Page: Think you can fool Windsor wives, do you?
Ford: Who’s wearing the horns now?
Falstaff: Master Ford!–What a coincidence!–Oh!–Out for a late stroll?–Ha, ha!
Ford: Remember Master Brook?
Falstaff: Master Brook?–Em, I think he might be around someplace.
(Ford points to himself.)
Falstaff: Ohhh–I do believe I’ve been made an ass.
Ford: Yes–a big one.
Falstaff: Then those weren’t real fairies.
Falstaff: Well, then I’m not going to hell after all, am I?
Evans: Not if you give up your wicked ways. Otherwise, you’ll really be pinched and burned.
Falstaff: I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve been well and truly pranked–and chastened. And I deserve it.
Mist. Page: Did you really think Mistress Ford and I could have a romantic interest in you?
Mist. Ford: Windsor wives can be merry, but we’re still honest.
Mist. Page: And not stupid.
Falstaff: Well, beat my brains out with a big stick.
Ford: No, we won’t do that. But you are going to repay all the money you got from Master Brook.
Falstaff: Oh, God.
Ford: Over time, if necessary.
Page: Cheer up, Sir John. The evening’s not a total disaster. In fact, I’m very happy because Master Slender has married my daughter by now.
Mist. Page (Aside to the audience): He doesn’t know! Doctor Caius has married her!
(Slender comes in.)
Slender: Master Page!
Page: My new son! How did it go?
Slender: I got all the way to Eton with your daughter–only to find that she wasn’t your daughter. She wasn’t even a girl. He was a boy.
Page: What! Then you grabbed the wrong person.
Slender: But she-I mean he–knew the password.
Mist. Page: Don’t be angry, George. I knew what you were planning, so I had Anne wear green so Doctor Caius could take her away and marry her.
(Doctor Caius comes in.)
Caius: Mistress Page, I have been deceived! Your daughter was not your daughter. She was a boy.
Mist. Page: What! I told you to take the one in green.
Caius: I did. The one in green.–And I married him! It’s terrible! I am ruined!
(Caius goes out.)
Ford: If Doctor Caius didn’t marry her, and Slender didn’t marry her, then what happened to her?
Page: I’m afraid to think.
(Fenton comes in with Anne Page.)
Anne: Em–father–mother–we’re married.
Page and Mist. Page: What!–Married?
Fenton: You wanted to marry her off to someone she didn’t love. But I’m the one she loves.
Anne: Don’t be angry. I had to deceive you both. What else could I do?
Ford: Master Page, the deal has been done, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So just accept it.
Evans: Yes, that’s the best way. You can see how happy they are.
Falstaff: Well! True love found a proper match after all.
Mist. Page (To Anne and Fenton): May you both be happy and grow very old together.
Page: Amen to that. (He embraces Fenton.) And now let’s all go back to our place and celebrate.–You, too, Sir John.
Falstaff: Then I’m forgiven?
Page: Yes. Why not?
Ford: Sir John, you weren’t completely untruthful.
Falstaff: I wasn’t?
Ford: No. You did promise me Mistress Ford would be all mine. (Aside to Falstaff) And when I get her home, I’m going to–(He whispers the rest.)
Falstaff: Ha, ha! Good for you, Master Ford!
(They all leave.)
Copyright@ 2013 by Crad Kilodney. E-mail: email@example.com
February 11, 2013
During 2012, a bizarre string of events took place in Pakistan that were never reported in Western media. Sixteen dentists exploded for no apparent reason. They were not shot. Their offices were not bombed. No trace of any explosive was ever found. No weapon was found. No threats had been made against them, and no one claimed responsibility.
The first mysterious explosion took place on January 12th in Islamabad, as reported in the Pakistan News. Dr. Munawar Jamal, of 19 Service Road West, exploded in his surgery at 5:30 p.m. after finishing with his last patient. Arms, legs, and head were more or less intact but scattered, and the trunk of the body was obliterated into mush and spread all over the walls, floor, and ceiling. The only things in the room that could have exploded were two tanks of nitrous oxide and oxygen, but they were undisturbed. Police were baffled. They suspected suicide at first but could not discover any physical means by which the doctor could have exploded himself.
This event set the pattern for all the others to follow, the only difference being whether or not there were witnesses. No witnesses were harmed, but they were terrified. None could provide any details to explain what happened. Such was the case on January 31st, also in Islamabad. Dr. Kiran Hannan, of 3 Ibn-e-Sina Road, was attending to a patient when he suddenly exploded. This case was also reported in the Pakistan News.
February 2nd — Lahore. Dr. Farooq Haider, of 26 Main Shalimar Link Road, exploded while talking to a patient. (Reported in the Daily Nine O’Clock.)
February 29th — Karachi. Dr. A. Mudassir, of Main University Road, exploded while alone. His assistant had just stepped out of the room. She insisted everything had been perfectly normal. (Reported in Daily Nai Baat.)
March 23rd — Dr. Javed Aslam of Bilal Hospital, Rawalpindi, exploded while examining an x-ray in front of a patient. The patient said the doctor had been in fine spirits. Police theorized he might have been shot through the window with an exploding bullet. However, the window was closed and undamaged, and no fragment of a bullet was found. (Reported in the Pakistan Observer.)
April 9th — Dr. M. A. Soofi, of 34 Lawrence Road, Lahore, was about to go out for lunch and was talking to his receptionist when he blew up. The case was investigated by Punjab Police. Mr. Khan Baig, Acting Inspector General, said it was the most bizarre case he had ever come across in his career. (Reported in Daily Raaj Pakistan.)
Two cases on consecutive days aroused great suspicion by Islamabad Police. On May 7th and 8th, Dr. Abid Malik, of 18-D Mushtaq Mansion, Islamabad, and Dr. Amad Ali, of 2 Galaxy Arcade, G-11 Markaz, Islamabad, exploded in their surgeries after finishing with a patient — the same one! The patient was a Frenchman named Houle. Police were astounded by the coincidence and immediately suspected Houle of foul play. The mystery was deepened when it was found that M. Houle had nothing wrong with his teeth. He claimed to be going for a check-up, but he could not explain to the satisfaction of police why he would go for check-ups on consecutive days to two different dentists. M. Houle claimed to be a tourist and to have no occupation. Islamabad Police detained him for a week, then reluctantly let him go. Inspector General Bani-Amin Khan told media that they could find no evidence against him, and the medical examinations on the doctors’ remains could not even determine a cause of death. Dr. Ghulam Akbar Khan Niazi, Chairman of the Islamabad Medical and Dental College, was called in to advise on the cases and was, in his own words, “completely mystified.” (Reported in the Pakistan News and Daily Nine O’Clock.)
The terror continued:
June 22nd — Lahore. Dr. Muhammad Zia Ul Haq Naeem, of 178Y Commercial Area, blew up while doing a routine cleaning. His assistant said, “His chest seemed to explode.” This incident was reported in the Frontier Post, which publishes editions in Quetta and Peshawar, as well as Lahore. In Quetta, anti-American readers suggested the United States was using a secret weapon against Pakistan, and this rumour was widely repeated.
August 13th — Karachi. Dr. Awab Alvi of the Alvi Dental Hospital, 23-B Sindhi Muslim Society, exploded in plain view of the patient in his chair, his assistant, and another patient who was waiting. The fire alarm was set off, but there was no fire or smoke. (Reported in the Daily News.)
September of 2012 was the dreadful climax:
September 6th — Lahore. Dr. Haroon Anan, of 398-Q Model Town, exploded in his surgery with no witnesses. (Reported in Lahore Times.)
September 13th — Peshawar. Dr. Taimur Khan, of 4 A/C Park Avenue, University Town, blew up in the face of a patient. (Reported in Frontier Post.)
September 17th — Quetta. Dr. Muhammad Hassan, of Mehr Abad, exploded while talking on the phone. (Reported in Frontier Post.)
September 20th — Lahore. Dr. Zafar Iqbal, of New Garden Town, had just finished filling a cavity when he “exploded into a thousand pieces,” according to the terrified patient. (Reported in Lahore Times.)
September 27th — Rawalpindi. Dr. Fahad Arshad, of Bahria Town, had just put a patient in the chair when he exploded. The patient screamed. When the secretary saw the bloody mess, she fainted. (Reported in Pakistan Observer.)
September 28th — Islamabad. Dr. Shahid Mahmood, of 170-B, Street 68, had been discussing a delinquent account with his secretary. He then walked into his surgery and exploded. The secretary told police, “He was not angry. He was only slightly annoyed about the money that was owed.” (Reported in the Daily Nine O’Clock.)
Since this last incident, the explosions have stopped. Authorities are no closer to finding an explanation. The Pakistan Dental Association was for a while besieged by calls from frightened dentists and patients, as well as police, media, and government authorities, to whom it could give no useful information or reassurances. Dr. Waheed ul Hameed, President of the PDA, said, “We have no idea why dentists should explode. There must be some explanation, but we don’t know what it is. We can only ask our members to continue to go to work and serve their patients, and we ask people to continue to go to their dentist, because dental health is very important.”
The U.S. State Department and Defense Department would not answer inquiries concerning this article.
Copyright@ 2013 by Crad Kilodney. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
January 28, 2013
(Index to the Series appears on Oct. 7, 2010 — http://cradkilodney.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/ )
Saturninus — new Emperor of Rome
Bassianus — brother of Saturninus
Titus Andronicus — Roman general
Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius — sons of Titus
Lavinia — daughter of Titus
Marcus Andronicus — tribune, and brother of Titus
Publius — son of Marcus
Young Lucius — son of Lucius
Sempronius, Caius, and Valentine — kinsmen of Titus (non-speaking roles)
Tamora — Queen of the Goths, and new Empress
Alarbus, Demetrius, and Chiron — sons of Tamora
Aaron — Moorish lover of Tamora
Aemilius — Roman noble
Gist of the story: Titus Andronicus has returned to Rome after a victorious war against the Goths. The Goth Queen, Tamora, and her three sons are prisoners. The eldest, Alarbus, is executed as a just sacrifice for the loss of 21 of Titus’s sons. The newly-declared Emperor, Saturninus, seeks to marry Lavinia, but she is promised to Bassianus. Bassianus takes her away with the help of Titus’s sons, one of whom, Mutius, is killed by Titus for his disobedience. Saturninus changes his mind and marries Tamora instead. Now suddenly elevated from prisoner to Empress, Tamora plots revenge against the Andronici with the help of the evil Aaron, her Moorish lover. Demetrius and Chiron rape Lavinia, cut off her hands, and cut out her tongue. They also kill her new husband, Bassianus, and throw his body into a pit. Aaron lures Quintus and Martius into the pit and frames them for Bassianus’s murder. He then tricks Titus into giving up one of his hands to save them from execution, but they are executed anyway. Lucius is banished for attempting to rescue them. Titus tells him to go to the Goths and enlist their help. Lavinia has identified her attackers by scratching their names in the sand. Tamora gives birth to Aaron’s baby, which is black. Aaron suspects Titus knows who raped Lavinia. He kills the two witnesses who know about the black baby and then takes him to the Goths, expecting protection. Titus plots revenge. Tamora and her sons disguise themselves as Revenge, Murder, and Rape and attempt to con Titus into stopping Lucius and the Goths from attacking. Tamora assumes Titus is mad and offers to deliver all his enemies at a banquet in his house. But Titus knows who they are. He cons Tamora into leaving her sons behind. Then he and his kinsmen capture them. He kills the sons and uses their bodies to make a meat pie, which he serves to Tamora and Saturninus at the banquet. Titus kills Lavinia to end her suffering. Then he kills Tamora. Saturninus kills Titus, and Lucius kills Saturninus. Aaron, the Moor, who has confessed to all his crimes to spare his baby, is sentenced to a slow death by starvation. Lucius becomes the new Emperor by popular demand.
(Titus Andronicus is notorious for its gruesomeness, but it has been a generally popular play. It is quasi-historical in that it is set in Imperial Rome but all the characters are fictitious. The famous scene in which the Empress is fed a meat pie made from the bodies of her sons was suggested to Shakespeare by a story in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Philomela, the sister of Procne, was raped by Procne’s husband, Tereus. For revenge, Procne killed their own child, Itys, and used his body as food for Tereus. Titus is a heroic figure, but he has one defect — an exaggerated and very rigid sense of honour. He represents an old, traditional Roman conservatism that predates the Imperial era (roughly, the first four centures A.D.), which we remember more for its degenerate Emperors, like Nero and Caligula. There is a movie version of the play, Titus, from 1999, produced and directed by Julie Taymor, and starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. Buy it and own it forever. It’s a masterpiece. Divine spirits got into everyone’s heads when they made this movie. It’s beyond excellent. It’s sublime.)
Act 1, Scene 1. Near the senate house in Rome. The stage has an upper tier that spans the entire stage. Somewhere at the rear is a curtain or door representing the burial vault of the Andronici. Tribunes and Senators gather on the upper tier and are conversing amongst themselves. Crowd noises and drums are heard offstage on both sides. Then Saturninus and his followers come in from one side, and Bassianus and his followers come in from the other. Rivalry is evident. Saturninus and Bassianus signal for quiet.
Saturninus (To his party): My good friends, let everyone know that you support me–Saturninus–to be the next Emperor of Rome. Defend my right as the elder son of the late Emperor to succeed him on the throne.
(Noisy reaction from his party, boos from the other.)
Bassianus (To his party): My fellow Romans, stand by me–Bassianus–as the one most deserving to succeed my late father as the next Emperor of Rome. You know my reputation for justice, moderation, and nobility. For these qualities I would be your Emperor.
(Noisy reaction from both parties. Then Marcus Andronicus appears on the upper tier holding the crown.)
Marcus: Noble princes–Saturninus and Bassianus–as tribune of the people, I ask you kindly to set aside your ambitions. The citizens of Rome, by common consent, have chosen Titus Andronicus, my noble brother, to be their next Emperor. There is no braver or nobler man in all of Rome than him. He has fought for ten years to subdue our barbarous enemies, the Goths, and he has lost twenty-one valiant sons in that cause. Now he returns to us victorious and bearing the spoils of war for the glory of Rome. The senate shall decide who will be the next Emperor. Therefore, I call upon you princes to send your followers home and come into the senate and make your pleas and arguments so that all shall be heard fairly, and the senate in its wisdom shall make the best choice for Rome.
Saturninus: Marcus Andronicus, good tribune that you are, you speak reasonably, as always.
Bassianus: We trust you, Marcus. And out of respect for you and your noble brother and his sons, and his gracious daughter, Lavinia–for whom I have a special affection–I will dismiss my followers. (To his party) Peace to you all. Go home now. I thank you from my heart for your love and support.
(His party leaves.)
Saturninus (To his party): And you, my friends, may go home, too. But remember that you are always with me in my heart and in my thoughts, just as I am sure I am always in yours.
(His party leaves.)
Saturninus: Tribunes and senators, be gracious to me, who has the utmost confidence in you. Allow me into the senate.
Bassianus: And I as well, who have the same confidence in you.
Marcus: Come. We will do this the right way, as Romans should.
(Saturninus and Bassianus go out where they came in and then join the Tribunes and Senators above. Then all leave together. Just when they are all gone, a Captain comes in below. He addresses the audience as the Romans.)
Captain (To the audience): Romans! Your hero has returned! The great Titus Andronicus, my beloved General, has conquered the Goths and brings with him as prisoners the Queen of the Goths, Tamora, and her three sons, Alarbus, Demetrius, and Chiron.–And he brings back the remains of twenty-one of his own valiant sons who died in battle.–Now show your love to your greatest champion–Titus Andronicus!
(The audience is prompted to cheer and applaud as trumpets and drums herald the arrival of Titus. He comes in with his four sons Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius, who carry a large casket, meant to represent the remains of all the dead sons. Soldiers escort the prisoners Tamora and her three sons, as well as Aaron, the Moor. The sons of Titus set down the casket before the door or curtain representing the vault of the Andronici. Then Titus speaks to the audience.)
Titus: Hail, Romans! I cry tears of joy to see you again, and I thank the gods for protecting you. Of twenty-five sons I bring back four alive. The others shall be interred with the honour they deserve in the family vault of the Andronici.
(At this point, the four sons of Titus open the door or part the curtain to the vault at rear stage.)
Lucius: Father, before we bury our brothers, it is only proper that we sacrifice the eldest son of the Goths.
Titus: Take him. He’s all yours.
(Titus’s sons grab Alarbus. Tamora falls to her knees, and her other sons kneel beside her.)
Tamora: My lord Titus, have mercy on my son! He has done nothing wrong. He has only fought for his side the same as your sons fought for your side. I love him no less than you love your sons. Be merciful, my lord. Of all the virtues given to men, mercy is the godliest. Be then god-like in your nobility and spare my son.
Titus: But madam, it is only proper that a sacrifice be made. The souls of my dead sons cry out for retribution. For the sake of our honour, your eldest son, Alarbus, must die.
Lucius (To his brothers): Come on, let’s take him. He will be cut to pieces and burned to ashes.
(The four sons take Alarbus out. He remains silent. Tamora, crying, rises with her other sons, who embrace her.)
Tamora: Cruelty! Cruelty!
Chiron: Scythia was never so barbarous as Rome!
Demetrius (Aside to Tamora): You’ll have your revenge someday. The gods will see to it.
(Screams are heard offstage. Then the sons of Titus return.)
Lucius: It’s done. Now we can bury our brothers.
Titus: Very well.
(The four sons lay the casket in the vault.)
Titus (Holding back tears): Rest in peace–my good sons.
(Titus and his sons observe a moment of silence. Then Lavinia comes in, holding flowers.)
Lavinia: My noble father. I’ve prayed for your safe return.
Titus: The true happiness of my old age.
(The four brothers embrace Lavinia. They take the flowers and place them on or before the casket. Then Marcus Andronicus, Saturninus, Bassianus, and Tribunes and Senators return on the main stage. Marcus is holding a white cape or robe, representing the emperorship.)
Marcus: Long live Titus Andronicus, my beloved brother!
Titus: The same to you, Marcus!
Marcus: And welcome home, nephews.
The Sons: Thank you, uncle.
Marcus: Titus, the people and the senate of Rome have decided that you should be our next Emperor.
(He holds out the white robe, but Titus does not take it.)
Titus: Oh!–Shall I accept now and die of old age in a few years? You’d only have to do it all over again. Better to choose a younger man now.
Marcus (To Titus): But you are the people’s choice. Of course, you will accept.
Saturninus (Annoyed): He said he didn’t want it. I’m the elder son. Everyone knows that. The crown and robe are mine.–Don’t steal them from me, Titus!
Lucius: Show some courtesy, good prince!
Titus: It’s all right. We don’t have to quarrel. I don’t intend to steal anything.
Bassianus: My lord Titus, I am as worthy as my brother. If you will support me, I’ll be most grateful.
Titus: People of Rome–senators–and the people’s tribunes–will you support the choice I make?
Titus: Good. Then by rights the next Emperor should be Saturninus, because he is the elder son. And I have full confidence that his virtues will shine like the sun and spread justice and goodness throughout Rome.
Saturninus: Thank you, Titus!
(Marcus exchanges nods with the Senators and Tribunes.)
Marcus: Then we agree.–Long live our new Emperor, Saturninus!
(Trumpets and drums. Everyone cheers.)
Saturninus: Titus Andronicus, I thank you for your support, and you will always have my gratitude. And to advance the honour of your family, I have decided to marry your daughter, Lavinia. She shall be my Empress. Does this please you?
Titus: It pleases me very much, my lord. It is a great honour to me. And to you I give all my prisoners.
Saturninus: Thank you, Titus. (He gives Tamora a lascivious look.)
Titus (To Tamora): Now, madam, you and your sons belong to the Emperor. He will treat you honourably, don’t worry.
Saturninus (Aside): Boy, she’s hot. I really like her. (To Tamora) Be happy, madam. You will be even greater here in Rome than you were as Queen of the Goths, I promise you.–Lavinia, you don’t mind, do you?
Lavinia: No, my lord. You are noble to show such kindness to the lady.
Saturninus: Thank you, Lavinia.–The prisoners now have the freedom of the city–and, of course, the palace.–Now, Romans, let’s celebrate!
(Saturninus is leaving with the Tribunes and Senators, and the Goths. Just as he is offstage, Bassianus grabs Lavinia and pulls her back.)
Bassianus: Lord Titus, your daughter is promised to me.
Titus: What do you mean?
Bassianus: She loves me, sir. She is sworn to me.
Marcus: It’s true, Titus.
Lucius: And I will defend his right.
Titus: What! This is treason!–My lord Saturninus!
(Saturninus returns with the Goths behind him.)
Saturninus: What’s the matter?
Bassianus: Lavinia belongs to me!
(Bassianus runs out with Lavinia, and Marcus following.)
Titus: I’ll get her back, my lord!
(Titus turns to pursue but is blocked by Mutius.)
Mutius: Brothers, go with them!
(Lucius, Quintus, and Martius run out, following.)
Titus: Get out of my way, Mutius. I’m bringing your sister back.
Mutius: No, father, you’re not.
Titus: You turn against your own father!
(Titus takes out a knife and stabs Mutius.)
(Mutius falls dead. Saturninus and the Goths leave quickly. Lucius returns and bends over Mutius’s body.)
Lucius: He’s dead! You killed your own son!
Titus: I killed a traitor! Would you dishonour me? Return Lavinia at once!
Lucius: No! She belongs to Bassianus!
(Lucius leaves. Saturninus and the Goths appear on the upper tier.)
Saturninus: Let her go, Titus. I don’t need her–and I don’t need any of your family. You think you’re a king-maker, don’t you? You think I begged to be made Emperor!
Titus: What?–How can you say that, my lord?
Saturninus: Go with your sons–and your fickle daughter! Enjoy your new son-in-law. He’s just like your sons–no good!
Titus: Sir, you are hurting me greatly now.
Saturninus: Tamora. you shall be my wife. You will be Empress of Rome. Does that please you?
Tamora: Very much, my lord. If you want me, I’ll be the willing wife to your every desire.
Saturninus: Come. We will be married at once.
(All leave except Titus.)
Titus: When have I ever been treated so badly?
(Marcus returns with Lucius, Quintus, and Martius.)
Marcus: Brother, what have you done? You killed your son for no reason.
Titus: I had a good reason. I will not have a traitor in my family–and that includes all of you.
Lucius: At least let us bury him.
Titus: In the family vault? No! Take him out and bury him somewhere else.
Marcus: Brother, this is wrong. Mutius deserves to lie with his brothers.
Martius: And he will–or we will die with him.
Titus: You would bury him here against my wishes?
Marcus: No, brother. With your consent. I’m pleading with you. Pardon Mutius and let him be buried properly with his own kin.
Titus: You dishonour me, Marcus–you and these disloyal sons of mine.
Quintus: It’s no use. We can’t reason with him. We should go.
Martius: No. Not until Mutius is given the burial he deserves.
(Marcus and the three sons kneel.)
Marcus: Brother–if you love me as a brother–
Martius: And if you love us as sons–
Lucius: Will you not listen to your own flesh and blood?
Marcus: Don’t be like the Goth barbarians. You are a Roman. Allow us to bury Mutius here where he belongs.
(A pause. Titus is unhappy.)
Titus (Grudgingly): Do what you will.–But you dishonour me.
(Titus turns his back on them and moves apart. Marcus and the three sons place Mutius’s body in the vault. Then they kneel beside his body.)
Lucius: He died nobly–for what was right.
(The sons rise after a moment of silence and then leave, in the last direction of Bassianus, whom they are going to meet up with again. Marcus goes to Titus and tries to soothe him by changing the subject.)
Marcus: So–Tamora’s going to be the Empress. How is it that the Queen of the Goths has advanced herself so suddenly?
Titus: I don’t know.–But one thing I do know. She has me to thank for it. I brought her here.
(A trumpet flourish. From one side, Saturninus, Tamora, her two sons, and Aaron come in. They are looking happy because the marriage has just taken place. From the other side, Bassianus and Lavinia come in, with Lucius, Quintus, and Martius. There is obvious tension between Saturninus and Bassianus. [Author's note: At this point we're supposed to assume that Bassianus and Lavinia have gotten married, although there was hardly enough time. Shakespeare is notoriously loose in his treatment of time, as we have seen many times throughout this series.])
Saturninus (Sarcastically): Good luck in your marriage, Bassianus. May you enjoy your bride.
Bassianus: And you yours, my lord.–I have nothing else to say, so I shall leave you.
Bassianus: Rapist? You call me a rapist for claiming my own?
Saturninus: You think you’ve beaten me, don’t you? Well, enjoy your little moment of triumph–while it lasts.
Bassianus: You don’t seem to appreciate the fact that lord Titus killed his own son out of loyalty to you, and now you turn against him.
Titus: I don’t need you to defend me, Bassianus. The gods and all of Rome are my witnesses that I have honoured Saturninus–(He kneels)–and still do.
Tamora (To Saturninus): My lord, you must pardon them.
Saturninus: And be dishonoured?
Tamora: No, no, my lord. I would never advise you in a way that would lead you to dishonour. Lord Titus is your friend. You must keep him as your friend. (Aside to Saturninus) My lord, you’ve only just become Emperor. Titus has many friends. If you quarrel with him, the people may take his side. Be discreet now and keep your feelings to yourself. When the time is right, I’ll find a way to destroy all these Andronici. (Normal voice) Come, my lord. Be friends with lord Titus. He loves you. He’s loyal to you.
Saturninus (Half-heartedly): Oh, all right.–Stand up, Titus. My Empress has prevailed. We are friends.
Titus (Rising): Thank you, my lord. And I thank the Empress, too.
Tamora: Titus, now that I’m Empress, I seek only what is best for the Emperor. So as of this moment, all quarrels are forgotten.–And that includes you, too, Prince Bassianus. I’ve promised the Emperor that you will be more gentle and agreeable from now on.–Now, please, the rest of you should ask pardon of the Emperor.
(Marcus, Lavinia, Lucius, Quintus, and Martius kneel.)
Lucius: We ask pardon, my lord. We were thinking only of our sister’s honour and our own.
Marcus: Yes, my lord.
(Saturninus frowns, being somewhat angry again.)
Saturninus: I wish you’d all go away.
Titus: No, no, my lord. We must all be friends. See how they are kneeling? For my sake, forgive them all and be friends again.
(Pause for effect. This is all about Tamora’s ability to influence Saturninus.)
Saturninus: All right.–Marcus, for your sake as a tribune, and the rest of your family–and for my lovely new bride–I forgive you all. (He gestures to them to stand up, and they do.) We’ll have a big feast–in honour of both brides. You’re all invited.
Titus: And tomorrow, my lord, let’s go hunting. It’ll be fun.
Saturninus: Yes, why not.–Come along, everyone.
(All leave except Aaron, the Moor. This is a scene break, but a quick segue is needed, without the curtain.)
Act 2, Scene 1. When everyone else has cleared the stage, leaving Aaron alone, he turns and faces the audience. Some stage effects are called for here, to signal Aaron’s malevolent character.
Aaron: Now Tamora has the power she wants over her enemies. Empress of Rome!–And my mistress.–She will always be bound to me before any husband. She will be the neck that turns the Emperor’s head–and mine will be the tongue that licks the neck. (He tugs at his poor clothes.) I’ll be getting a fine new wardrobe.
(A commotion is heard offstage. Then Chiron and Demetrius come in fighting with swords, but not seriously.)
Demetrius: Chiron, you’re a jackass! Know your place!
Chiron: Yeah, big brother Demetrius! Fuck you!
Demetrius: Oh, yeah? Take that!
Chiron: Fuck you! Lavinia’s mine!
Demetrius: Like hell! She’s mine!
Chiron: I’ll fight you for her!
Demetrius: She’s too good for you! Go fuck a leper!
(Aaron grabs their arms and stops the fight.)
Aaron: Knock it off, you morons! What the hell’s the matter with you? Where do you think you are?
Chiron: I’ve had enough of him! He thinks he can walk all over me because he’s a year older!
Demetrius: Yes, I can!
Aaron: Shut the fuck up, both of you.–Do you know where you are? This is Rome. They don’t tolerate this kind of shit here. Now listen to me. Your mother has just become Empress. Do you want to ruin everything for her?
Demetrius: He’s a jerk. He thinks he can have Lavinia.
Chiron: That’s right. If I want her, I can have her.
Aaron: Shut up, both of you. You’re crazy to fight over Lavinia. Your mother would be pissed off if she knew.
Chiron: I love Lavinia and I want her.
Demetrius: Yeah, to fuck her.
Chiron: So what? The same as you.
Demetrius: Yeah, so what?
Aaron: And you guys think you can make a cuckold of Bassianus?
Demetrius: Yes, why not? If I can get away with it.
Aaron: Boys, boys, boys–just calm down for a minute, okay? You both want to fuck Lavinia, right?
Demetrius and Chiron: Yes.
Aaron: Well, if you fight with each other, neither one of you will get to fuck her.–But–if you were to cooperate–you could both fuck her.
Chiron: That’s okay with me.
Demetrius: Yeah. Okay. So what should we do?
Aaron: The nobles are going hunting tomorrow. Lavinia will be with them. There’s a lot of space out there–a lot of remote places in the woods. All you have to do is follow her until you can grab her in some secluded spot. Then you can do whatever you want.
Chiron: Yeah! That’s a good idea!
Demetrius: I like it.
Aaron: Fine. Now just keep your big mouths shut and behave yourselves when you’re in the palace, because there are eyes and ears everywhere.–Now–let’s go confer with your mother. She wants her revenge against the Andronici. She’ll advise us. And you’ll get what you want.
Demetrius and Chiron: All right!
Act 2, Scene 2. Outdoors in the morning. (This is a hunting party on horseback, but you’ll have to imagine the horses.) Background sounds of hunting horns and barking dogs. Coming in are Titus, Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Marcus.
Titus: A fine morning for hunting. I want you boys to stay close to the Emperor.–Ah, here they come.
(Coming in are Saturninus, Tamora, Bassianus, Lavinia, Demetrius, and Chiron.)
Titus: Good morning, your Majesty–and madam.–Did we wake you up too early?
Saturninus: A bit early for the ladies perhaps.
Lavinia: No, no. I’m wide awake.
Saturninus: Fine.–Tamora, now you’ll see how we Romans hunt wild animals.
Marcus: Sometimes panthers!
Tamora: I’ve seen panthers before.
Titus: They won’t get away from us. Our horses can go anywhere, and our hounds can smell anything.
Demetrius (Aside to Chiron): We don’t need horses or hounds.
Chiron (Aside to Demetrius): We’ll just follow the smell of pussy.
(They all leave.)
Act 2, Scene 3. In the forest. (This is a problem scene for the Director. Somewhere on stage there is supposed to be a pit. If there is a convenient trap door in the stage, that’s it. Otherwise, you probably have to fake it by suggesting it offstage.) Aaron comes in with a bag of gold. He looks very serious.
Aaron: This bag of gold is going to help me incriminate Titus’s sons.
(He hides the gold at rear stage beneath a tree. Then Tamora comes in.)
Tamora: There you are, Aaron. You look awfully serious. This is such a beautiful day. And this place is so secluded. We should make the most of it.
(She kisses him.)
Aaron: Right now I’m thinking more of revenge than sex. We’re going to start eliminating the Andronici. But first, Bassianus has to die. And your sons will have their way with Lavinia–that obnoxious virgin.
(He produces a letter.)
Tamora: What’s this?
Aaron: Part of the plan. This will ruin Quintus and Martius. You’ll give this to the Emperor at the right time.
(She takes the letter, then kisses Aaron passionately. [Author's note: Shakespeare changes the plan later. The letter will be left where Titus will find it. He will give it to Tamora, and she will give it to the Emperor.])
Tamora: Fuck me now.
Aaron: We’re being watched–Bassianus and Lavinia.–Listen. I’ll go get your sons while you get into an argument with him. When I bring them, pretend you’re in danger.
(Aaron leaves. Then Bassianus and Lavinia come in from the opposite side.)
Bassianus: Well, well–what have we here? Is the Empress having a bit of horizontal exercise with her Moorish boyfriend?
Lavinia (Laughing): Or did we interrupt?
Tamora: How dare you spy on me!
Lavinia: I wonder if the Emperor realizes what a sluttish Goth he has married.
Bassianus: I shall have to tell him. (To Tamora) Is it true what they say about black men? You know–that they’re well-endowed?
Tamora: You’ll both pay for this insult!
(Demetrius and Chiron come in.)
Demetrius: Mother, what’s the matter?
Tamora: These two lured me here and threatened to throw me into a pit full of snakes! They called me a whore!
Bassianus: We did not!
Demetrius: You threatened my mother?
Chiron: You called her a whore?–We’ll have to do something about that.
(Demetrius and Chiron draw their knives and position themselves on both sides of Bassianus, who is unarmed.)
Lavinia: Tamora! Stop them!
Tamora: Oh!–Now you’re sorry, aren’t you?
(Demetrius and Chiron stab Bassianus to death. Lavinia screams.)
Tamora (To Demetrius): Give me your knife. I’ll kill her myself.
Demetrius: But we want to have our way with her.
Chiron: You said we could.
Tamora: Do whatever you want. Just make sure she can’t talk afterward.
Lavinia: No! Tamora! You can’t!
Tamora: Don’t expect any pity from me. No one showed me any when my son was executed.
(Lavinia throws herself at Tamora’s feet and clutches at her dress.)
Lavinia: I’m a virgin! Don’t let them! I’d rather have you kill me!
Tamora: I would, but my sons are entitled to have their satisfaction.–You Andronici. How I hate all of you.
Demetrius: Go now, mother. Don’t be seen here.
Tamora: Just remember what I said. She mustn’t talk.
(Tamora walks out. Chiron grabs Lavinia.)
Chiron: Throw Bassianus into that pit and cover it over.
(Demetrius drags Bassianus’s body and dumps it into the pit. Then he covers it over with branches. Then both sons drag Lavinia out screaming. After the stage is quiet again, Aaron leads in Quintus and Martius.)
Aaron (In a hushed voice): I’m telling you, I saw a panther sleeping in its den. It’s over here.
Quintus: I’ve never seen a panther around here.
Martius: I think this is a waste of time.
Aaron: No, no. I told you. Go on.–Straight ahead.–That way. (He points.)
(Martius falls into the pit and screams.)
Quintus: What the hell?
(When Quintus goes to investigate, Aaron leaves stealthily.)
Quintus: Are you all right, Martius?
Martius: Oh, bloody hell!–Quintus, there’s a body down here!–It’s Bassianus!
Quintus: Bassianus? Dead? Are you sure?
Martius: Yes. He’s dead. Get me out of here.
Quintus: Oh, my God–where’s Aaron?–Oh, hell.–There’s something bad going on here.
Martius: Help me up, will you!
(Quintus lies flat and reaches down into the pit.)
Quintus: Can you reach my hand?
Martius: Not–quite.–Can you stretch a bit?
Quintus: I’ll try.
(Quintus tries to stretch but falls in himself. Then Aaron returns, leading Saturninus and a couple of Attendants. Aaron points to the pit.)
Aaron: Down there, my lord.
(Saturninus looks down.)
Saturninus: Who’s down there?
Martius: Martius and Quintus, sir.–And your brother, sir.
Saturninus: My brother?
Martius: His body, sir. He’s dead. He’s got bloody wounds.
Saturninus: You’re crazy. He went back to the lodge.
Martius: No, sir. His body is down here.
Saturninus: I don’t believe it!
Quintus: It’s true, sir. Can you get us up, please?
(Tamora comes in with Attendants. Behind them are Titus and Lucius.)
Tamora: We heard shouting. What’s the matter?
Saturninus: Tamora! Bassianus is dead!–Murdered!
Tamora: Murdered!–Then–I’m too late.
Saturninus: Too late? What do you mean?
Tamora: This will explain it. (She hands Saturninus the fake letter written by Aaron.) There was a plot–to kill him.
Saturninus: A plot? (He reads the letter, referring to it aloud.) Quintus and Martius–a huntsman–bag of gold–under the elder tree.–They paid a huntsman to dig this grave, kill Bassianus, and throw him in it! And they left a bag of gold for him under the elder tree.
(Aaron comes in, holding the gold.)
Aaron: I found it–just where they said it would be. Evidently the huntsman never collected it because he only dug the grave. Quintus and Martius must have done the murder themselves.
Saturninus (To Titus): Your sons killed my brother! And for this they will suffer the worst death my executioners can think of!
Titus (Kneeling before Saturninus): My lord, I beg you not to be hasty. If my sons really did this–
Saturninus: If? Isn’t this proof enough? (Indicating the letter. To the Attendants) Get them out.–Tamora, where did you find this letter?
Tamora: It was lord Titus who found it.
Titus: Yes. I did. But I beg you, let me take charge of them, and I promise you they will answer all your questions.
Saturninus: What can they possibly say? They’re obviously guilty. They will have to die.
(The Attendants raise Quintus, Martius, and the body of Bassianus from the pit. Tamora goes to Titus and pretends to console him.)
Tamora: My lord Titus, don’t worry about your sons. I’ll speak to the Emperor.
(Titus is too numb to reply and just nods. Lucius helps Titus to his feet.)
Titus: Lucius, take me home.
(Titus and Lucius leave first. Some Attendants guard Martius and Quintus as prisoners, and others carry Bassianus’s body as all leave.)
Act 2, Scene 4. Elsewhere in the forest. The scene is introduced by stage effects that transform the forest into a harsh, surreal environment. Lavinia is at one side, propped up like a scarecrow, partially undressed, and semi-conscious. Her hands have been cut off and are now bloody stumps. There is blood on her clothing. Marcus is heard within calling her name. He comes in at the opposite side of the stage.
(As he approaches, he is shocked by what he sees.)
(She opens her eyes and can only shake her head slightly.)
Marcus: Lavinia–who did this?
(She opens her mouth, and blood pours out. She tries to speak, but her tongue has been cut out.)
Marcus: My poor girl!–I’ll take you home.
(He carries her out.)
Act 3, Scene 1. A street. Coming in are Judges, Tribunes, and Senators, with Guards escorting Martius and Quintus, who are bound and gagged. They are on their way to a place of execution. Titus is following beside them, being ignored.
Titus: Judges! Tribunes! Senators! Don’t execute them! Have pity on me! I have served Rome all my life! Don’t take my sons! They’re innocent! I beg you! I beg you!
(Titus falls to the ground crying, as the procession passes through.)
Titus: Earth, take my tears, not the blood of my sons.–My sons.
(Lucius comes in with his sword out and kneels beside his father.)
Lucius: Father, all your tears are in vain. The judges don’t care.
Titus: Then I will cry to the stones. They must have more heart in them than the judges.–Lucius, why is your sword out?
Lucius: I tried to rescue Quintus and Martius. And for that I’ve been banished from Rome.
Titus (Rising): Banished!–Ha, ha!–Good for you, son! Rome is not fit for honest men any more. It’s only fit for beasts. And they will devour us all. Consider yourself lucky. (Looking past him) Lucius–it’s your uncle–and–(Amazed) Lavinia?
(Marcus comes in with Lavinia in his arms.)
Marcus: Brother–prepare your heart.
Titus: What’s happened, Marcus?
Marcus: This was your daughter.
Titus: Her hands! What happened to her hands?
Marcus: They’ve been cut off.
(Marcus sets Lavinia on her feet.)
Titus: Lavinia, who did this to you?
(Lavinia turns her head away.)
Marcus: She cannot speak, brother. Her tongue has been cut out.
Lucius: Uncle, do you have any idea who did this?
Marcus: I don’t know. I found her in the woods, bound like a scarecrow.
Titus: This is worse than my own death.–My Lavinia.–How can a heart still beat and not simply die of pain?–How much can a man bear?–My daughter mutilated–her husband murdered–and my sons accused of murdering him.
(Lavinia reacts with agitation, shaking her head.)
Titus: What are you trying to say, girl?
Marcus: Perhaps she means that Quintus and Martius are innocent.
Titus: And those that killed Bassianus did this to you?
(She nods again.)
Lucius: Of course, they’re innocent. They would’ve had no reason to kill him. They were friends.
Titus: Brother, give me your handkerchief.
(Marcus gives it to him.)
Titus: It’s wet.
Marcus: With my own tears. brother.
(Lucius takes out his handkerchief.)
Lucius: Let me wipe your cheeks, Lavinia.
(She turns away and shakes her head. Lucius holds her to comfort her.)
Lucius: My poor Lavinia!
(Aaron comes in.)
Aaron: Titus, my lord the Emperor sends you this message. If you want to save your sons from execution, cut off your hand and send it to him–either you or Lucius or Marcus. And for one of your hands, the Emperor will return your sons to you.
Titus: Yes! Gladly!–Oh, generous Emperor!–Aaron, you’ll help me. You’ll cut it off.
Lucius: No, father. I will give my hand.
Marcus: No. I will give mine. You two have fought for Rome, but I’ve done nothing with these hands but write letters. Now let me give one to save your sons.
Aaron: It doesn’t matter whose hand it is. Just make up your minds quick before it’s too late.
Marcus: My hand.
Lucius: No, uncle. It’ll be mine.
Titus: Then go get an axe and decide between the two of you.
Lucius: I’ll get one.
(Lucius and Marcus leave.)
Titus: Come, Aaron, let’s get this over with before they come back. You’ll help me.
Aaron (Aside): These fools are so easy to dupe.
(Aaron produces a meat cleaver and holds Titus’s left hand to the ground and chops it off. Lucius and Marcus return.)
Titus: It’s done.–Aaron, take my hand to the Emperor. Tell him it was a hand that defended Rome from its enemies. Let him bury it–and bid him return my sons.
Aaron: I shall, my lord.
(Aaron leaves, remarking aside, “How my black heart rejoices!”)
Titus: I lift my one hand up to heaven. (He kneels.) If any power in heaven has pity for wretched tears, to that power I pray.
(Lavinia kneels beside him.)
Titus: Pray with me, Lavinia. Heaven must hear our prayers or we shall cover the sun with the mist of our tears. The sky will be dim, and the stars will not shine.
Marcus: Brother, don’t let your misery make you lose all sense of reason.
Titus: Reason? Is there reason in these events? Is there reason in a storm? Is there reason in lightning and thunder? Let me lament in my own way and don’t talk of reason. Better to be mad in such a world filled with evil.
(A Messenger comes in with the heads of Quintus and Martius, and Titus’s hand.)
Messenger: My good lord, how badly are you repaid. The Emperor sends the heads of your noble sons–and your hand. He and the Empress made great sport of the whole business. I am so sorry. You don’t deserve this.
(The Messenger puts the heads and hand on the ground and leaves in tears.)
Marcus (Covering his face): I can’t bear it!–No more!
Lucius: Do we live, Marcus? Or are we dead? I feel myself breathing, but I know I do not live.
(Lavinia cries on Titus’s shoulder, and he hugs her.)
Marcus: We are dead, brother. There is no reason left. Lament as you will.
(Titus gets up laughing.)
Marcus: Why do you laugh?
Titus: Because I have no more tears to shed. And therefore I have none to blind me. I must see clearly if I am to find revenge. These heads are speaking to me, Marcus.
Marcus: I hear them not.
Titus: Yet I hear them nevertheless. They are saying that I shall have no peace–on earth or in heaven–until I have avenged myself for all these bloody crimes.–Come. (He beckons.) Gather round me.–Marcus–Lucius–Lavinia.–We are almost all that’s left of the Andronici.
(They come close together.)
Titus: Now pledge yourselves to me–and to all the generations of the Andronici–that we will punish these devils–all of them.
Marcus: I swear, brother.
Lucius: And I swear, father.
Titus: Lucius, listen to me. You must leave Rome now. You are exiled. You must go to the Goths and raise an army. Tell them their queen has betrayed them and joined in with murderers. Tell them they can have their satisfaction from Rome if they will follow you.
Lucius: I will, father.–We’ll see each other again. Have faith.
Titus: Marcus–Lavinia–come. We have much to do.
(Titus and Marcus pick up the heads and the hand, and they all leave.)
Act 3, Scene 2. This scene is deleted. (Author’s note: In this scene, Marcus kills a fly at the dinner table, but in the movie it’s Young Lucius who kills the fly – which I think I like better.)
Act 4, Scene 1. Outdoors. Young Lucius comes in running, carrying books as Lavinia chases him.
Young Lucius: Grandpa! Grandpa!
(Titus and Marcus come in.)
Young Lucius: Aunt Lavinia is chasing me!
Titus: There, there, Lucius. She’s just playing with you.
(Lavinia shakes her head and appears agitated.)
Marcus: What’s the matter, niece?
(Lavinia gestures toward the books.)
Titus: Something to do with the books?
Titus: Give me those books, Lucius. (He takes them and looks at at them.)–Which book, Lavinia?–Ovid? (She nods excitedly.) Ovid’s Metamorphoses.–Something in here you want me to read? (She nods excitedly.)–Lucius, you have two good hands. You can turn the pages faster. Aunt Lavinia will tell you when to stop.
(Young Lucius sets the book down and starts turning pages. Lavinia is impatient.)
Titus: Skip ahead, Lucius.
(Young Lucius skips ahead and then continues to turn pages, with Lavinia watching very closely. At a certain page she stops him by putting her stump on the page. Marcus picks up the book and shows the page to Titus.)
Marcus: It’s the story of Philomela.
Titus: I know it. She was raped by Tereus.–Is that what happened to you, Lavinia?
Titus: Who did it? Try to tell us. Give us some sign.
(Marcus is carrying a staff. He scratches the ground with it.)
Marcus: It’s sandy over here. Can you write the name with my staff?
(Lavinia grabs the staff eagerly, puts the end in her mouth, and uses her stumps to scratch the names in the sand.)
Titus: Demetrius–and Chiron. (Lavinia nods.) And they killed Bassianus? (She nods again.)
Marcus: The bastards! We’ll kill them!
Titus: Patience, Marcus. They are protected by their mother, the Empress. We must do this by guile.–Lucius, would you like to help?
Young Lucius: Yes! I’ll kill them for hurting Aunt Lavinia!
Marcus: Your father would be proud to hear it.
Titus: No, Lucius. I have something else in mind. You’ll come with me to my armoury, and I’ll give you some weapons to deliver to Demetrius and Chiron–with a message attached.
Young Lucius: I’m not afraid to kill them, Grandpa!
Titus: I know you’re not. But if you love me, you’ll carry out my instructions and do this errand–like a good soldier.
Young Lucius: All right.
Marcus: Why are you sending them weapons?
Titus: It’s a gift.
Marcus: A gift?
Titus: Yes, Marcus. It’s all right. You come along and wait at the house while I walk Lucius to the palace.
(They all leave. Marcus is shaking his head in bewilderment.)
Act 4, Scene 2. In the palace. Curtain up finds Chiron and Demetrius playing darts, drinking beer, and insulting each other humourously. Aaron slouches in a chair, drinking beer. Then Young Lucius comes in with a bundle of weapons with a message attached.
Chiron: Hey, look! It’s little Lucius!
Demetrius: Give him a beer!
Chiron: What have you got–a present?
Young Lucius: Yes, sir–and a message.
Aaron: From your mad grandfather?
Young Lucius (Ignoring the insult): My lords, with all humbleness, my grandfather sends these weapons from his armoury as a gift–as well as a message.
(Demetrius rudely takes the bundle.)
Demetrius: Tell him thanks. We like to get presents.–(To Chiron) Don’t we?
Chiron: Of course. We’re the Empress’s sons. We should get presents.–Here–give me that message.
(Chiron takes the message and reads it.)
Chiron: It’s in Latin. It’s a verse from Horace. It says, “He who is spotless and free of crime needs not the Moorish javelin or bow.”
(Aaron clears his throat with annoyance.)
Aaron (To Young Lucius): You–beat it.
(Young Lucius leaves.)
Chiron: We should have given him a beer at least.
(He and Chiron play around with the weapons.)
Aaron (Aside): The old man is on to them. (To Chiron and Demetrius) Imagine. You rape his daughter, and he sends you presents.
Demetrius: He knows who’s got the power.
Chiron: Or else he’s just out of his mind.
Demetrius: We should rape a thousand more virgins.
Aaron: Your mother would probably approve.
Demetrius: She should be having her baby pretty soon–any time now.
Chiron: We ought to go and pray for her.
(A trumpet is heard. The sons exchange a look.)
Demetrius: Is that it, do you think?
Chiron: Could be. I hope she had a boy.
(The Nurse comes in with the baby, well-wrapped. She looks worried.)
Nurse: Good day, my lords. Is Aaron here?
Aaron: I’m here. What do you want with me?
Nurse: Oh, sir, there is great trouble.
Aaron: What sort of trouble?
Nurse: You’d better see for yourself, sir.
(She holds out the baby to him. He takes it and uncovers it. The baby is black. Demetrius and Chiron are shocked.)
Demetrius: He’s black as the ace of spades!
Aaron: Like his father.
Nurse: It’s horrible, sir. It’s a disgrace to us all. The Empress begs you to kill it.
Aaron (Smiling and fondling the baby): Kill him? Why, he’s beautiful. He’s a fine baby.
Demetrius: You villain! What have you done!
Aaron: What’s done cannot be undone.
Chiron: But you’ve ruined our mother! That baby has to die!
(Aaron picks up a sword.)
Aaron: No one touches this baby but me.
Nurse: But Aaron, the Empress wants it killed.
Demetrius (Picking up a sword): I’ll do it.
Aaron: You’d kill your own brother?
Demetrius: Brother? That? My brother?
Aaron: Put your sword down if you know what’s good for you.
Demetrius: You would destroy our mother?
Aaron: Your mother is my mistress. And this baby is my flesh and blood. I love this baby before anyone else. (To the Nurse) I’m keeping this baby.
Nurse: The Empress will be very angry.
Chiron: This is a total disaster. This is the worst thing ever.
Aaron: He’s smiling at me. He knows I’m his father.–He’s your brother whether you like it or not.–Put down your sword, Demetrius. I have no qualms about killing you to defend this baby.
(Demetrius puts down his sword. Aaron puts down his.)
Demetrius: What are we supposed to do, then? This affects all of us.
Aaron: Sit down and calm yourselves, both of you. We will deal with this rationally. (To the Nurse) How many people know about this?
Nurse: Just myself and the midwife.
(Aaron stealthily unsheathes his knife.)
Aaron: Ah–well, that’s not too big a problem.
(He stabs the Nurse, who falls dead.)
Demetrius: Aaron! What are you doing!
Aaron: Policy–that’s all. She would’ve gossiped. She’s a woman.–Now listen. I have a countryman named Muly. He lives not far from here. His wife just had a baby–a white baby. You go to them and give them a bag of gold in exchange for their baby. Tell them he’ll be the child of the Empress. No one in the palace with know about the switch.
Chiron: What about the midwife?
Aaron: Send her to me and I’ll take care of her the same as the nurse.–This one you can dump somewhere where she’ll never be found. I think the Empress will be quite happy with the way I’ve solved the problem.
Demetrius: Okay. I guess it works out.
Chiron: Yeah.–Good thinking, Aaron.
(Demetrius and Chiron carry out the Nurse’s body.)
Aaron (To the baby): Now, my thick-lipped little Moor, I’m taking you to the Goths, your mother’s people. She’s going to be needing their help. And you’ll grow up to be a warrior and lead an army–and learn to kill.
(Aaron leaves with the baby.)
Act 4, Scene 2. A street in Rome. Evening. Coming in are Titus, Marcus, his son Publius, and several Gentlemen, including Caius and Sempronius. (Young Lucius is deleted from this scene.) They are all carrying bows. Titus is carrying a bundle of arrows with notes wrapped around them.
Titus: Come, my friends. We’ll engage in an exercise of archery, for the goddess of justice is nowhere to be found on earth. Some of you can go to the beach and cast a net into the ocean to see if you can pull her up.–Publius and Sempronius, you can dig a hole all the way to Pluto’s realm and see if she’s there. Just tell old Pluto that Titus Andronicus seeks Justice.
Publius (Aside to Marcus): Father, has uncle Titus gone mad?
Marcus (Aside to Publius): It’s possible. Let’s just humour him.
Titus: Ah, Rome! Blame me for supporting Saturninus as Emperor. I should have known better. Where has he cast out Justice? Into the earth, into the sea, or into the sky?
Publius: Uncle, Pluto says you may have your revenge from hell, but Justice is busy in heaven with Jove, so you must wait if you want her.
Titus: He shouldn’t make me wait. I hate delays. But we will move the gods ourselves–eh, Marcus? They’re in heaven, and that is where we will direct our appeals. (He hands out the arrows.) You all know how to shoot. We’ll send for Justice to come down to earth and right our wrongs.
Marcus (Aside to the other Gentlemen): Shoot your arrows into the court so the Emperor finds them.
Titus: Now, masters, aim for the gods in heaven. Each arrow has a letter written in my blood. They’ll know it’s from me. I’ve told them all my sorrows, and all my accusations against the Emperor and his Queen.
(All take aim upwards.)
(They all shoot their arrows.)
Titus: Good shooting! Well done!
(A Clown comes in with two pigeons.)
Titus: Have you a message from Jupiter?
Clown: Jupiter? I don’t know him, sir.
Titus: What are you doing with those pigeons?
Clown: I’m going to the tribunal to settle a grievance, sir.
Titus: Can you deliver a message to the Emperor with grace?
Clown: I’ve never said grace in my life, sir.
Titus: No matter. I’ll write it out.–Who has a pencil and paper?
(Someone produces a pencil and paper. Titus writes a message.)
Titus: Now I need a knife to wrap it around.
Clown: Take mine, sir.
(The Clown gives him a small knife.)
Titus: Good. I’ll wrap the message around it–like so–and you just give it to the Emperor very politely and then bring me back his reply.
Clown: I shall, sir.
Titus: And take this for your trouble.
(He gives the Clown some money.)
Clown: Oh! The gods bless you, sir. I go at once.
(The Clown leaves.)
Titus: Now, my friends, come with me.–Come on.
(They all go out, with Titus leading.)
Act 4, Scene 4. In the palace. The Emperor comes in, furious, followed by Tamora, Demetrius, Chiron, and Attendants. He is holding a bunch of arrows.
Saturninus: This is an outrage! This is the greatest insult in the history of Rome! He’s a lunatic! He’s a traitor! Shooting these arrows into my court! Where people will find them! Accusing me of crimes! Destroying my reputation! God knows where he’s been spreading this filth! Maybe all over Rome! (He holds up several of the letters.) He’s praying to Jove!–To Mercury!–To Apollo!–To Mars!–Libelling me! Calling out for justice! His sons murdered Bassianus, yet he has the nerve to call me unjust! Wait till I get my hands on him! I’ll have him chopped to pieces! Him and his whole family!
Tamora: Calm down, calm down. He’s obviously deranged. Don’t let yourself be overcome with emotion.
(The Clown comes in, escorted by an Attendant.)
Tamora: What do you want?
Clown: Madam, I am sent by lord Titus with a message for the Emperor.
Saturninus: I’ll take that!
(Saturninus snatches the letter rudely. He unfolds it, finds the knife, and reads the letter. [Author's note: Shakespeare doesn't tell us what the letter says, but it is obviously insulting.])
Saturninus: Take him away! Hang him!
Clown: But, my lord–!
(The Attendants drag the Clown out.)
Saturninus: Lies! Filth! Treason! Insults! I won’t stand for it! That goddamn son of a bitch!
(Aemilius comes in as a messenger.)
Aemilius: Your Majesty.
Saturninus: What is it, Aemilius?
Aemilius: There’s trouble, my lord. The Goths are marching toward Rome. Lucius is leading them.
(Saturninus is stunned and speechless. He moans and seems afraid.)
Saturninus: What’ll I do? The people love Lucius. Ever since I exiled him, they’ve been saying they want him as Emperor.
Tamora: My lord, calm down. It doesn’t matter what a few malcontents say. Rome is strong. There’s no danger.
Saturninus: It’s not just a few malcontents. My spies have been reporting this for some time. The people will revolt when they find out he’s coming. They’ll go over to his side.
(Tamora hugs him maternally, and his body language becomes child-like in response.)
Tamora: No, no, no. You are the Emperor. You are still in command. Don’t lose heart. You must maintain an attitude of control and power. Everything will be all right.
Saturninus: How will it be all right? How, Tamora?
Tamora: My lord, you should know by now that you married a very smart queen. I will help you. I know how to deal with the situation. I will charm that old fool Titus. I’ll wrap him around my finger–the way he wraps foolish notes around arrows.
Saturninus: Do you expect him to stop Lucius for my sake? He won’t.
Tamora: Oh, but he will. I will get inside that sick mind of his and bend him to my will. Believe me, I can do it.
Saturninus: If you really think you can–
Tamora: Trust me, my lord.–Aemilius, you will be our ambassador. Go find Lucius in the Goth camp. Tell him we want to talk things over. We will meet him at his father’s house.
Saturninus: It’ll be an honourable parley, Aemilius. We’ll guarantee his safety. We’ll pledge whatever hostages he wants for goodwill.
Aemilius: I understand perfectly, my lord. Leave it to me.
Tamora: And now I will go to old Andronicus and see to it that Lucius is stopped. He’s insane–and I’m clever–so I will get what I want.
Saturninus: Then go, Tamora. I leave it to you. Do whatever it takes.
Tamora: Come, my lord.
(Tamora and Saturninus leave.)
Act 5, Acene 1. The Goth camp. Trumpet flourish and drums. Lucius comes in with some Goth Officers and Soldiers.
Lucius: Goths! Now my faithful friends. I’ve received letters from Rome informing me how much the people hate their Emperor and Empress. They beg us to come and end his tyranny. Now you will have satisfaction.
1st Goth: Lucius–son of Titus Andronicus–you share our anger. We will follow you. We’ll overthrow Tamora, who betrayed us.
All the Goths: Aye! Aye! Down with Tamora!
Lucius: I thank you all.
(Two Goth soldiers come in leading Aaron and his child.)
2nd Goth: Lucius! Here’s Aaron–and his child–by Tamora.
Some Goths: He’s black!
(Loud reactions of outrage from all the Goths.)
Lucius: This is the villain that chopped off my father’s hand! We’ll hang him–and the child!
(Loud approval by the Goths.)
Aaron: Lucius, don’t harm the child. If you spare him, I’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Lucius: You will, will you? Like what?
Aaron: All the things that happened to your family. I know the truth about everything. I’ll tell you–if you swear to the gods to spare the child.
Lucius: You speak of the gods? You don’t believe in any gods.
Aaron: No, but you do. All you religious fools have a peculiar thing called a conscience. If you swear, that’ll be good enough for me.
Lucius: All right. I swear by the gods to spare the child. Now speak.
Aaron: It was the Empress’s sons, Demetrius and Chiron, who murdered Bassianus and raped and mutilated Lavinia.
Lucius: They’ll die for that.
Aaron: Of course, I encouraged them.
Lucius: Then you’re the worst monster that ever lived.
Aaron: Yes, I admit it. And I lured your brothers into that pit. And I wrote the letter that your father found that incriminated them. And I planted the bag of gold. And I tricked your father into giving up his hand. It was so funny I almost broke out laughing. And when I told the Empress about it, she was so delighted she kissed me twenty times.
A Goth: You fiend! How can you confess all these things and not feel any shame?
Aaron: A black dog cannot blush.
Lucius: You feel no guilt at all, do you? You have no soul. You’re just pure evil.
Aaron: So I am. I’ve led a wicked life, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. If I’ve commited a thousand crimes, my only regret is that I did not do ten thousand.
Lucius (To the Goths): He will not hang. Hanging’s too good for him. (To Aaron) I’ll think of something worse–something slower.
Aaron: When I get to hell, the devil will greet me. And we’ll figure out how to drag you in, too.
Lucius: Gag him!
(Aaron laughs as he is gagged by a couple of Goths. Then Aemilius comes in, escorted by Goths.)
Lucius: I know this man.–Aemilius, what news do you have for me?
Aemilius: My lord Lucius–and princes of the Goths–his Majesty the Emperor sends greetings. He knows that you have taken up arms against him, and he requests–most politely and earnestly–a parley–at your father’s house. He will pledge any hostages you require for goodwill.
(Lucius exchanges looks with the Goth princes. They appear to approve.)
Lucius: All right. I’ll meet him.
Aemilius: Thank you, my lord.
Lucius (To the Goths): Let’s go.
(All leave. [Author's note: The hostages are never identified or seen. A pledge of hostages was normal procedure when warring parties wanted to parley on one side's turf.])
Act 5, Scene 2. Evening. Before Titus’s house. Tamora, Demetrius, and Chiron come in disguised weirdly as Revenge, Murder, and Rape, respectively.
Tamora: Remember, I am Revenge–you are Murder–and you are Rape.
Demetrius: Are you sure he’s going to buy this?
Tamora: Absolutely. He’s out of his mind. He’ll believe anything I say. I’ll get him to send for Lucius and hold a banquet here. If I can get Lucius away from the Goths, I’ll figure out some way to win them back to me. You just play along with whatever I say.
Chiron: This should be fun.
(They knock at Titus’s door. He appears at a window above.)
Titus: Who disturbs me at this hour? I am making my plans–written in my own blood–see? (He holds up some papers.)
[For the rest of the scene Tamora alters her voice slightly, and so do her sons until they are captured.]
Tamora: Titus, I have come to help you. Come down.
Titus: Who are you?
Tamora: I am Revenge–sent from hell to help you.
Titus: Don’t go away! I’ll be right down!
(Titus disappears from the window and comes in below.)
Titus: Are you really Revenge?
Tamora: Yes. And these are my servants, Murder and Rape.
Titus: Gee, you look a lot like the Empress Tamora.
Tamora: Ha, ha, ha! No, no. She is much–fatter.
Titus: And your servants look a lot like the Empress’s sons.
Tamora: No, no. Your mind is playing tricks on you.
Titus: I suppose. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Tamora: Now be of good cheer, my lord Titus. We have come to help you destroy your enemies.
Titus: Ah! That’s awfully good news. You’re most welcome. I’ve been praying for help. What can you do for me?
Tamora: I will take revenge on all who have done you wrong.
Demetrius: Show me a murderer and I’ll kill him.
Chiron: And show me a rapist and I’ll kill him, too.
Titus (To Demetrius): You should search the streets of Rome, and when you find someone who looks like you, he’s a murderer. Kill him. (To Chiron) And you look for someone who looks like you. And when you find him, kill him because he’s a rapist. (To Tamora) Revenge, you go to the Emperor’s court and look for the Empress and her Moorish friend–and do to them some sort of violent death.
Tamora: We will do all these things, good Andronicus.–But even better, I suggest this. Invite your son Lucius, who is leading an army of Goths, to attend a banquet here at your house. I will bring in the Empress and all your other enemies, and you will have them at your mercy. Would that please you?
Titus: Yes! Very much!–Hold on. My brother is here.
(Marcus comes in. He looks suspiciously at Tamora and her sons but says nothing.)
(Tamora and her sons cover their faces partially to avoid being recognized by Marcus.)
Titus: Go find Lucius. He’s marching with the Goths. Tell him to come here and bring the Goth princes with him. I’m having a banquet for the Emperor and Empress, and I want him to join us. (He changes his tone as a subtle signal to Marcus to play along.) Do this if you love me, Marcus.
Marcus: I will.
Tamora: Now my servants and I will set about our business for you, lord Titus.
(She and her sons start to leave.)
Titus: Wait, wait! Let Murder and Rape stay with me–or else I’ll call back Marcus and let Lucius do whatever he wants with his army of Goths.
(Tamora and her sons confer apart.)
Tamora (Aside to her sons): Just humour him until I get back. Can you do that?
Demetrius and Chiron (Aside to Tamora): Sure.–No problem.
(Titus gives a knowing grin to the audience.)
Tamora: Very well, Andronicus. I leave Murder and Rape to attend you while I go to deliver your enemies. Farewell.
Titus: Farewell, sweet Revenge. Thank you so much.
Chiron: Tell us, old man, what shall we do for you?
Titus: You’ll see. (He signals toward the house.) Publius!–Caius!–Valentine!
(Publius, Caius, and Valentine come out from the house.)
Publius: Yes, uncle.
Titus: Do you recognize these two?
Publius: Yes. They’re the Empress’s sons, Chiron and Demetrius.
Titus: Ha, ha! That’s what I thought at first. No, no. They are Murder and Rape.–And now they’re mine. Tie them and gag them.
(Publius, Caius, and Valentine seize Chiron and Demetrius.)
Chiron: Stop! We’re the Empress’s sons!
Publius: Yes, we know.
(Publius, Caius, Valentine, and Titus drag Chiron and Demetrius, screaming, into the house.)
Act 5, Scene 3. (This is an extra scene break, which Shakespeare should have put in.) Inside the house. Curtain up finds Chiron and Demetrius stripped, bound, and gagged. Their backs are to the audience because their throats are going to be cut. (In the movie they’re hanging upside down!) Titus is holding a knife, and Lavinia is holding a basin.
Titus: Here they are, Lavinia. Now you’ll get your revenge. (To Chiron and Demetrius) You killed her husband. And her two brothers were wrongly executed for it. And you raped her, cut off her hands, and cut out her tongue. And now you’re going to get what you deserve. Do you know what I’m going to do to you? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m going to cut your throats, and Lavinia will collect your blood. And I’m going to chop up your flesh and grind your bones and make a nice, big meat pie. And I’m going to serve it to your mother.–Hold the basin, Lavinia–right there. That’s it.
(Titus cuts their throats. The curtain comes down as they are writhing and moaning.)
Act 5, Scene 4. The banquet hall in Titus’s house. A table is set. Coming in first are Marcus and Lucius, arms linked.
Marcus: Nephew, you’re a step away from being Emperor. You can speak from a position of strength, so lead the discussion. But let’s keep everything polite.
(Saturninus comes in and gives Lucius a forced, insincere smile. Behind him come the Empress, Aemilius, and Tribunes.)
Saturninus: So–the sky has another sun in it. Is that it?
Lucius: Another? Don’t call yourself one.
Marcus (Interrupting quickly): Ahem–yes, let’s all sit down, shall we? We’ll enjoy a nice meal and have a friendly discussion–all very honourable.
Saturninus: Yes. We shall.
(Everyone sits down. Titus comes in dressed like a chef, pushing a wheeled serving cart. On it is a tray with a big meat pie. Lavinia, covered in a veil, also comes in but remains standing apart. [Author's note: In the original play, Young Lucius is also in this scene, but his presence is inappropriate and I've deleted him. What the heck was Shakespeare thinking?])
Titus: Welcome, my lord Emperor–and formidable Queen. The food is humble but filling. I trust you will enjoy it.
Saturninus: Why are you dressed like a chef, my lord Titus?
Titus: Because I am the chef. I made this meat pie myself. I wanted to make sure it was perfect for your Majesty and the Queen.
Tamora: How very thoughtful, good Andronicus.
Titus: Thoughtful, indeed, madam. Much thought has gone into it. Let me serve you.
(Titus serves slices of the meat pie to Tamora and Saturninus first. He pours wine for them and gestures for them to eat. Tamora and Saturninus taste the food tentatively.)
Saturninus: It’s–somewhat unusual. What’s in it?
Titus: My secret recipe, my lord. Quite special.
Tamora (Unsure): It’s all right.–It’s good.
Titus: My lord Emperor, answer me a question if you can.
Saturninus: Of course.
Titus: You know the story of Virginius, who killed his daughter because she had been raped?
Titus: Do you think he was justified?
Saturninus: Yes, I’d say so.
Titus: And your reason, sir?
Saturninus: Because the girl could not outlive her shame, and her presence would be a constant sorrow to her father.
Titus: A valid reason, sir–and an example to follow. (He pulls Lavinia gently before him and stands behind her, with his arms around her neck.) I am just like Virginius. And to Lavinia, this is an act of mercy.–And to me an end to my sorrow.
(Titus breaks Lavinia’s neck, and she falls dead.)
Saturninus (Rising, shocked): What have you done!
Titus: Lavinia was raped but could not speak her grief. She suffered, but now she suffers no more.
Saturninus: Who raped her?
Titus: It was Chiron and Demetrius.
Titus: They raped her, cut out her tongue, and cut off her hands. And it was they who killed Prince Bassianus.
Saturninus: Bring them to me at one! I will hang them!
Titus: They’re already here, my lord.
Saturninus: Where? I don’t see them.
Titus: They’re within you–and the Queen.
Saturninus: What do you mean?
(Titus points to the meat pie, smiling gleefully.)
Titus: That meat pie. That’s them.
(Tamora gags. Titus produces a knife.)
Titus: Good, wasn’t it?
(He stabs her in the neck, killing her.)
(Saturninus produces a knife and stabs Titus, killing him. Lucius reacts immediately by stabbing Saturninus.)
Lucius: Die! Rot in hell!
(Scene ends without an exit.)
Act 5, Scene 5. (Author’s note: This is another extra scene break, which Shakespeare should have put in.) A large public place in Rome. A crowd of Citizens is at stage level. On a raised tier stand Marcus and Lucius. On the stage the body of Titus is laid out in a funereal manner. Also present are the Kinsmen of Titus, Tribunes, Senators, Young Lucius (dressed in white), and Attendants.
Marcus: Romans, you have been vexed and confused by recent events. Now it is time to reunite as one whole and restore Rome to its place of strength and leadership. I could not tell you all the terrible things that have happened without losing myself in tears. So I will let Lucius speak. You know him well–my worthy nephew, noble son of Titus Andronicus, and a worthy captain of Rome.
Lucius: Romans, it was Chiron and Demetrius who murdered the Emperor’s brother, Prince Bassianus–for which our brothers Quintus and Martius were wrongly executed. And it was Chiron and Demetrius who raped and mutilated our sister, Lavinia. Our father, who served Rome loyally and bravely all his life, was robbed of his left hand by the Empress’s illicit Moorish lover, Aaron. And I was banished and forced to seek help from our enemies, the Goths. I, the castaway, have preserved Rome by turning our enemies into our friends. But I am not here to praise myself, only to tell you what is true.
Marcus: I wish to speak.–Behold this child. (An Attendant comes in carrying Aaron’s child.) This is the child of Tamora and the Moor Aaron. He was the evil architect of all the plots–all the horrors–that beset us. A man beyond ordinary wickedness. A devil on earth. Now that you have heard the truth, judge us, Romans. We, the last remaining Andronici, live or die by your verdict. If you decide that we have acted wrongly, Lucius and I will give up our lives right now.
(Reaction from the crowd. Aemilius steps forward.)
Aemilius: Honourable Marcus, we all love you. I know the feelings of all these people, and I can speak for them. There is common agreement.–Lucius shall be Emperor.
Citizens: Hail, Lucius!–Lucius!–Emperor!
(Marcus and Lucius come down to the main stage.)
Marcus (To Attendants): Bring in the Moor.
(The Attendants go out.)
Citizens: Hail, Lucius!–Lucius!
Lucius: Thank you, Romans. May the gods guide me to govern wisely.–But now I must pause to pay my last respects to my father, Titus Andronicus.
(Lucius kisses Titus on the forehead.)
Marcus: My brother.–No amount of tears and kisses could ever be enough.
(Marcus kisses Titus on the forehead.)
Lucius (To Young Lucius): Come, boy. Say goodbye to your grandfather. He loved you well.
(Young Lucius, tears in his eyes, kisses Titus on the forehead, then steps back into the arms of his father. Then the Attendants return with Aaron.)
Citizens: Kill him! Kill him!
Lucius: I promised you a slow death, and you shall have it. You shall be buried in earth up to your neck and left to die of starvation and thirst.
Aaron (Defiantly): Yet will I have the last word! If ever in my life I did a good deed–I do repent it now!
(Angry reaction from the crowd.)
Lucius (To the Attendants): Take him away. Bury him.
(The Attendants take Aaron out.)
Lucius: The Emperor Saturninus shall be buried beside his father. My father and Lavinia shall be buried in the vault of the Andronici. As for Tamora–the beast–she shall have no burial. Her body shall be left in a wilderness to be food for other beasts. She had no pity, and they will show her none.
(Marcus, Lucius, and Attendants carry out Titus’s body. As the crowd follows them out, Young Lucius goes to the Attendant holding Aaron’s baby and says something. Everyone else has cleared the stage. Young Lucius, carrying the baby, walks out slowly with the Attendant.)
Copyright@ 2013 by Crad Kilodney. E-mail: email@example.com
December 27, 2012
Mohammed’s career as a prophet of God was made possible by aliens, who gave him a secret pair of pants that allowed them to communicate with him. Up until that time he lived as a merchant, selling cloth and other goods.
After his first marriage, in 595, at the age of 25, he spent much time in a cave meditating. It was there that he eventually made contact with aliens posing as angels. They gave him a pair of pants to wear under his robe and told him to expect messages from God. The pants contained a communication device and also may have had other powers. The device was probably so inconspicuous that it blended in with the fabric.
The only description of these pants is that they were of a light colour and a light fabric suitable for the heat of the desert. They had to be concealed from view, however, as they were not a familiar form of dress at that time.
His first actual contact with aliens took place in 610, when an alien posing as the angel Gabriel gave him the secret pants. There were difficulties, however, as the signals made Mohammed sick, and he often would not wear the pants. He also had doubts about the aliens themselves, and they may have had second thoughts about him, too. It took three years for these problems to be resolved, after which Mohammed began preaching the messages sent to him.
The aliens’ purpose in contacting Mohammed was to spread a spiritual message that would be beneficial to mankind. However, another race of aliens, hostile to the first, attempted to sabotage the communications by sending their own messages, which were of a very different and evil nature. These messages commanded Mohammed to recognize three Meccan goddesses and reject monotheism. The erroneous preachings that resulted are known today as the Satanic Verses. Fortunately, the good aliens managed to drive away the bad ones and reestablish normal communication with Mohammed.
In 620, Mohammed was taken aboard a UFO by the aliens, who took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to view the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He was also transported through different dimensions of space-time, viewing “heaven” and “hell” and having conversations with aliens posing as earlier prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. He was also taken to the aliens’ mother ship, a huge craft that resembled the monument known as the Kaaba, in Mecca. This craft is still in orbit around the Earth, at a distance of 100,000 miles.
In 622, the aliens warned Mohammed of a plot to assassinate him and told him to go to Medina. Rumours had reached his enemies that he wore a secret garment under his robe that gave him supernatural powers. In 630, he returned to conquer Mecca with an enormous army. They were protected by the aliens, so there were almost no casualties.
Mohammed died a natural death in 632 in the home of one of his wives, Aisha. Before he died, he revealed to her the existence of his secret pants and asked her to entrust them to a close relative who lived in a small town. What happened to the pants after that is a mystery. They were never seen again. Some ufologists believe the pants may have been taken back by the aliens. But it is also possible that they were lost or destroyed, either accidentally or deliberately. Another possibility is that the pants ended up in the hands of someone who did not realize their significance and simply put them away as a curiosity of fashion. If that is the case, the aliens would have certainly turned off the communication device long ago. However, the pants, being made of some highly advanced fiber, would likely still be physically intact today.
Documents supporting this article may be found in the rare manuscript collection of the Appalachian State University Library, the archives of the German National Library in Leipzig, and the private collection of Carlos Ghosn.