By Southern Pat
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Extra info for Antony & Cleopatra
Such an approach simply accepts Bertram’s inadequacies and heavily qualifies the “all’s well” tone of the play’s finale, deliberately increasing the problematic aspects of the play. Alternatively, a director can build up Bertram’s admirable points by using every possible hint in the play to develop his potential. ” Richardson’s 1967 performance at Stratford made Bertram as charming as possible, even when expressing amused surprise and polite concern when the King turns him into Helena’s reward.
He flees the mother and “yet sexual desire brings [him] home, to the problematic maternal body and to its traces in the self,” specifically to a woman who has become nearly undistinguishable from the mother, and who eventually turns out to be the redemptive agent who brings him to a new maturity. ” When he does try to express his erotic desire, it is significantly for a woman who is not a mother-figure—not one of the Rossillion or Paris entourage. But even the woman as “other” turns out to be a way of returning to the Mother figure.
Or is his seemingly compulsive mendacity proof of continuing weakness? What has been “seasoned” at the court by the end? Has he simply learned his proper place in the social hierarchy? Nobody (except Parolles) seems to think Bertram has a right to resist marriage to Helena, though for today, in an age when (for the most part) choice of a romantic partner is assumed, Bertram’s plight has received more sympathy, presenting directors with a special challenge to somehow make the “choosing” scene plausible.
Antony & Cleopatra by Southern Pat