Come, my coach!

In a really literal and contemporary production, they’d give Ophelia a Coach handbag that she’d then pick up and swan her way out with. She’d be like a Danish Paris Hilton, swanning around in designer couture with bags and bags.
I hope to never see this production.


And so I thank you for your good counsel.

What if Ophelia didn’t die and had the opportunity to grow up to be Queen? What if she’d had the chance to shake off her obedient girlhood and take on some authority! She might really have amounted to something. She’s got a little hint of it here – an ability, even in her madness, to allude to a little trick of language – a counselor being her father’s position in the court – so by thanking Claudius for his good counsel, she is also thanking him for her father. It has a gentle imperiousness that I admire. It’s like a way to dismiss someone without them knowing they’ve been dismissed.

I wish Ophelia had had an opportunity to grow up into a queen. I’d relish a spinoff play wherein Ophelia doesn’t drown herself in a brook but runs away to a neighboring kingdom and gets herself set up as its queen. She avoids ALL the tragedy, grows up, gets a spine and watches it all as a ghost from a far.

My brother shall know of it.

I wonder what my life would have been like with a big brother. To have someone to go to, who would leap to my defense when I was attacked. My little brother did this for me once, when he was very young and it astonished me. I had no real experience of being defended before. I just expected I would always have to be on the defense myself.
I am partnered with a man who is a big brother to 2 siblings and his big brother game is strong. I can see it in his offers to punch people for me or go down there and see to that! And for some people, that’s a sort of old school man leaping to violence to defend his woman – but for me – it’s incredibly touching and makes me feel safe in a way I never did as a child. I don’t think my partner would ACTUALLY go to that guy’s office and tear his throat out but the offer, the suggestion, the feeling of that defense is a relief.
His big brother impulse can also come out in that teasing, taunting thing big brother’s can do. But I don’t find that amusing – not one bit – so he’s left that part by the wayside with me. Gratefully.
If Ophelia were my partner’s sister, he’d be better than Laertes in that he’d be primarily concerned about his sister before he went about knocking heads.

But I Cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him I’ the cold ground.

There is something about the ground. Even when you know the body is all that is left. Even if you saw the body emptied of life, of spirit, of soul, of breath. Even if all that is left are some ashes in a box. It is still a powerful ritual to see that box placed in the earth and covered over. It may trigger tears when no other stage could evoke them. The ritual, so ancient, so primal, so final. We cannot choose but weep.

We must be patient:

We must. Indeed be patient. We must. It is the only real option. If one wonders whether or not to be patient – probably one should be. Even if you are anxious for change. Even if you feel you cannot wait any longer – patience is very useful – even as you tap your foot – or twist your hair.

I mean – it’s a tough one in the middle of social upheaval. Right now police violence against black men and women and children is rising every day and every day becomes more abhorrent. I know people have said to the activists battling this issue “Be patient” and in that context, it’s just another way to say. “Sit down, shut up.” It’s just another way to say, “Be okay with it.” But is there a way to work for justice and also have patience? That is – to BE patient, one understands that change takes time and will not be easy or efficient and yet tirelessly work for it anyway. It would be a sort of split focus – a way to work toward some thing with all the energy and force of will necessary for it and at the same time, cultivate a sense of inner peace.
Rosa Parks is famous for keeping her seat on the bus. Every school child in America knows she said “No” when asked to move. But what every school child DOESN’T know is how tirelessly she’d been working for the movement for so long. They don’t know how patient she had been and continued to be once the bus boycott began. They don’t know how tirelessly the entire movement worked, slowly, tediously, filing paperwork, waiting for the right moment – the wheels for the Montgomery Bus Boycott were in motion long before Rosa Parks said No on the bus. The movement had been waiting for the perfect model, the perfect representative of the movement, for the perfect movement to challenge. THAT is patience. Not sitting back and waiting for someone else to solve it but patiently inching forward every day.

I hope all will be well.

We do hope all will be well. Even though the odds are that all will not be well. It is a particularly poignant human reality that it can never be fully all well. There will always be death, if nothing else. If we eliminated war and violence and discrimination of all kinds –if we cured all diseases and helped everyone become the most psychologically healthy they could be – there would still be the loss at the end. There is always pain. There is always challenge. It is never Happy Ever After. But we somehow are able to dream that it will end happily, that all be well. It is a beautiful hope. I also hope all will be well but I know that that well will include all sorts of things that will not be well. Not at all. But…the hoping is what keeps us well. The hoping all will be well helps maintain our wellness.

So would I ha’ done, by yonder sun, An thou hadst not come to my bed.

Oh this is just so convenient, this reasoning.
Dude says, “Oh yes, I will marry you. Just come to my bed. Come to my bed and I’ll marry you, baby. I really want to marry you so come to my bed so I can marry you.”
And then she comes to his bed and he’s like, “Psyche! That was a trick. I totally would have married you if you hadn’t done what I persuaded you to do. So it’s your fault.”
I’m pretty sure this is a flavor of gaslighting. And so a shitty person blames his victim for his shitty behavior. Because it’s her fault she came to his bed. Because she believed him when he said he’d marry her once he’d slept with her. And then instead of saying, “Psyche! I just told you I’d marry you to get you into bed – “ He says, “I WOULD have married you if you had refused me.” Which, come on, let’s face it – a jerk like that? He was definitely not going to do. And this girl’s lucky, actually, that she doesn’t have to be shackled to such a reprehensible asshole.
So – winner?

Quoth she, before you tumbled me, You promised me to wed.

I dig tumbling as a metaphor for sex. It has a nice end over end quality – it has a rolling, a sense of movement. Especially as a metaphor for a deflowering (itself a metaphor, of course.) As a metaphor for a first sexual encounter, tumbling has a less intrusive quality than most. Deflowering, as nice as it might sound, is actually a little violent in its cutting off of a flower from a plant.
I feel like all the images tend to come from a man’s perspective – what it’s like to thrust one’s self in to a place where no one has been before. Tumbled, for me, while it does have a falling magic in it, is somehow softer – more pleasurable, more mental, perhaps – as tumbling with someone requires a togetherness – an actual coupling instead of a single thrusting actor.

This is curious. So much of Shakespeare performance features single thrusting actors. Coincidence?

Young men will do’t, if they come to’t, By cock, they are to blame.

The podcast I was listening to featured a chat between two hosts in their early 30s and a guest in his late 30s. They discussed how men in their 20s were basically assholes and pretty worthless – especially in relationships. It was an interesting perspective – and one that originated in the male guest, though the female host agreed. I’d never heard this assertion before – but I can’t say as I can refute it.

I wish I’d heard it while I was IN my 20s. It would have helped me understand so much. I found it so hard not to think of all men being assholes when I was in my 20s and it was mostly because all the men who were my age were in the midst of that dark period. I might have internalized a lot less self-hate and confusion if I’d understood that it was not me but the men around me. In Jill Soloway’s TIFF talk,  she talked about how so much of the music of our youth was about grooming young women for men’s consumption. And not just the music, of course. We were a success or failure based on whether or not some man admired us enough to write a song about our beauty – either literally writing a song — or metaphorically.
But we were being groomed for assholes. And eventually, the good ones figure out how not to be assholes – if I’d known this, I feel I might have had a much more satisfying decade in my 20s.

By Gis and by Saint Charity, Alack, and fie for shame!

I looked up Gis. The note says it means “Jesus.”
Okay. I can see that it might be close. But where is the evidence? I looked up “Gis” on it’s own and yes, a few definitions claimed it was “Jesus” but the evidence for that was this line. So…is there no other incidence of the word “Gis” previous to this? And if not, how are we to know that Ophelia means Jesus? Gis sounds more like Dis to me, than Jesus…so I want the origins of this idea. And the evidence can’t be this line.

I can see how it’s a logical conclusion – if she’s swearing by Saint Charity, than, yes, Jesus would make sense. But if this is a word that no one else uses – it’s odd. Is Ophelia inventing pet names for Jesus? I need more information. It’s such a peculiar construction. It bears investigation. If Ophelia isn’t the first/only to use “Gis” then it would be illuminating to know who else did. Maybe that would tell us something else about Ophelia.