Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Act I, Scene I: After the Death of Two Fathers

"Enter young BERTRAM, Count of Rossillion, his Mother [the COUNTESS], and HELENA, Lord LAFEW, all in black"

Photographs:  Recent Graves

The Countess speaks the first line.  "In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband."
Her son answers, "And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew; but I must attend his majesty's command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection."

I don't know if I believe in his grief as he expresses it, or in his displeasure of going to court.  Throughout the play he seems eager to move, and court is certainly a move to more worldly experience.  It is possible that he does chafe under his lack of choice, and that he doesn't have the ability to influence whether he stays or goes.  Later we see how he rebels against a lack of marital choice.

Here Bertram complains of the bond of ward, as if he is made more servile than he would like.  His father had say of him before; now the King has taken over that right.  Perhaps Bertram does feel cornered by authority.  He could be both happy to leave, and bristling.

Lafew says, "You shall find of the king a husband, madam; you, sir, a father."

We learn that the King is sick with a problem with his chest.  He is a third father, and in danger of following the other two into death.  Paternal authority is being undermined by death and illness.

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