Okay maybe not the best title. But it does kind of sound like “nonsense”, which is what this post might be. (Hopefully not!)
A friend of mine was talking about sexuality, and how do we as Christians, embrace our sexuality.
Another friend of ours, who had grow up Protestant immediately said the word, “Repression”. That described sexuality in a nut-shell for her. Sadly, that might be the case for the majority of Christians, who have grown up in the church. I fortunately and unfortunately did not grow up in the church and we were Catholic. The problem for me wasn’t getting my mother or aunts and uncles to talk about sex, but rather how to get them to stop talking about sex.
I like modesty. So, I would sit there quietly while watching my mom, aunts and female cousins dance in a very provocative, sexual way. Modesty verging on prude verging on repression! Not sure how that happened in my case.
Naturally the thought of sexuality made me think Shakespeare. There was a time in history when church/state tried to control it. Shakespeare wrote a little play called, “Measure for Measure”. He essentially tells the church to mind its own business and to get out of his bed. (This explanation will probably make English scholars shudder – hey, even the Cole’s Note’s people are probably shaking their fingers at me.) Oh well.
The other play that sprung to mind was “Antony and Cleopatra”. There is a scene called the “Barge scene”. Caesar has died, well, more like betrayed and murdered, (Et tu, Brute?)leaving Cleopatra in a vulnerable political position.
Here’s my take on history and how the conversation leading up to the “Barge scene” may have taken place.
Enter Advisor – Cleopatra lounging, being fanned by non-shirted buff men (but I digress).
Advisor: Your Majesty.
Cleopatra: Yes, what is it?
Advisor: Caesar has been assassinated. (Always best to just say it.)
Cleopatra: (Looking at her 15-16 year old son – the son of Caesar and legal and rightful heir to the Roman empire. – Impressive, non?) Who is the new Emperor?
Advisor: There are three men, your Highness. Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus.
Cleopatra: Who the heck is Lepidus? (Sorry, had to do it! Nobody ever remembers that guy.)
Before the advisor is able to speak, Cleopatra, thinking about her choices of men she is going to seduce, smiles. Clearly she has ruled out the wimpy nephew of Caesar (Octavian), Lepidus sounds like he’s got some sort of horrid disease, so that leaves the ever-hot Mark Antony. Was there ever any doubt over who she would choose?
Cleopatra: Prepare my ship.
Et voila, the Barge scene (Act II, Scene II) is born:
Enobarbus: I will tell you. The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne, Burned on the water: the poop (deck) was beaten gold; Purple the sails, and so perfumed that The winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver, Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made The water which they beat to follow faster, As amorous of their strokes. For her own person, It beggar’d all description: she did lie In her pavilion, cloth-of-gold of tissue, O’erpicturing that Venus where we see The fancy outwork nature: on each side her Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids, With divers-colour’d fans, whose wind did seem To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool, And what they undid did. – Courtesy of: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/21335#sthash.V8ndtX1P.dpuf
Shakespeare lifts this scene off of an old dead guy named Plautus. If memory serves me correctly, his cousin or some relative was a cook in Cleopatra’s palace, so was privy to this kind of information. (Maybe memory doesn’t serve me correctly, as there are some problems with the times Cleo and Plautus lived.)
Whatever the case may be, he wrote the barge scene and claimed to have had ‘inside information’.
On an unrelated matter, please kindly note that if you are going to use material from my blog, it is protected under copyright laws. Please quote the source.
That said, if you are going to plagiarize, be like Shakespeare and ‘steal’ ideas from guys who have been dead for hundreds and hundreds of years, like Plautus (died 184 BC). Now the scholars are really unhappy with me – guess you’ll still have to let the reader know which website or book you took it from. Sorry!!
I seem to have run out of room today, so I will continue my discussion on sexuality, Queen Cleopatra and other musings over the next few blog postings.
Question: Is there anything in this nonsensical blog that is standing out for you?
Copyright © 2013 by Elizabeth Potvin