Friday, February 02, 2007

All for one and one for all!

I'm re-reading The Three Musketeers after many years which is a ripping yarn. Dumas wrote it originally as a serial story for a newspaper which is why each chapter ends on a high note of excitement, leaving the reader desperate for more. The intrigue of the characters' differing loyalties is fascinating: each one is for the King (Louis XIII), the Queen (Anne of Austria) or the Cardinal (Richelieu). At one point, D'Artagnan's loyalties are divided. He is on a mission for the Queen and visits the Duke of Buckingham in London, to whom he renders a great service. The Duke offers him payment and D'Artagnan replies: "I think of Your Grace purely as an Englishman, an enemy whom I'd rather meet on the battle field than in Windsor Park or the Louvre. I won't of course allow this personal feeling to interfere with my mission which having started I mean to finish. But I'd like to assure Your Grace that you yourself have no reason to feel under more of an obligation to me now than you did when we first met."


Blogger King Lear said...

Ah, they knew how to discourse then, did they not? I think the point might be that people tended either to stick with their loyalties ( it was amongst the most highly prized attributes) or be known for being a bit of a trimmer - who ended up badly.
Rather better than now, when everyone, it seems ,is regarded a simpleton if they DON'T chop and change. Of course, this is the first government there has ever been which is entirely without principle. Bliar only wanted to get power and retain it. All the rest has been mere window dressing.

11:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see the article in today's Saturday Telegraph about how certain Shakespeare plays will no longer be covered in school due to the racial and sexual content, which may be tricky for people aged 14 to cover ? I can post a link if you haven't seen it, but here are some 'highlights' for other readers. [But bear in mind I may be distorting the message inadvertently]

Othello - 14yr olds too 'sensitive' to discuss racism & 'sexual jealousy'.

Henry IV Part 1 - 'Too boring'

As you like it - 'Too complex'

Taming of the Shrew - '..problematic portrayal of women and relationships'.
I used to detest Shakespeare at school. Even in my twenties I thought it had been a complete waste of time. It was only later that I really began to appreciate it. [I was a bit of a 'science boffin' at school].

Methinks there is a danger it will be pushed off the curriculum altogether, and what a disaster that would be. It is important to point out that the article doesn't talk about 'banning' - although one suspects that won't stop next week's Daily Mail using such a headline. But when one reads, again about 'Othello' that teachers were concerned about the play's many sexual puns - well if you eliminate any play which Shakespeare wrote which has a 'double entendre'...

DISCLAIMER... I feel I have to point out that by sticking up for Shakey I am in no way condoning 'binge drinking', carousing, prostitution, violence against women or royalty, cross-dressing.. [that's enough anti social behaiour..Ed]

11:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winchester Whisperer - In view of the 'Telegraph' article, are you sure 'King Lear' should be allowed on your site ?

Children may be reading it ? Perhaps you should have one of those 'Film Certificate' things added to your blog..

After all, one can't be too careful...

11:25 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

I haven't seen the article - please post the link.

8:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'comments' from the readers are at least as fascinating as the article.

To give a bit of balance, I think it is a little unfair to kick the teachers.

They are trying to decide what children will engage with, as it is difficult these days to force them to 'eat their greens' by reading Henry IV. I was forced to eat cabbage as a child and I have never touched it since. Likewise I was forced to play rugby, despite being unsuited for it, and it put me off sport.

But as I said earlier, literature is something which takes a while to appreciate, and I wouldn't be going to the theatre now to see Shakespeare, or Homer's Odyssey, if it wasn't for Mrs Adams, my long-suffering school English teacher.

11:48 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

That is extraordinary! One would have thought that sexual jealousy is very keenly felt by 13-14 year olds. It depresses me to think what sort of people are teaching children in our country.

2:41 pm  

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