great artistic failure

since so many of you were so kind to respond to my query about shakespearean monologues, i thought i’d share with you the text of the one i’ve chosen (yes, i still have to pick the other one). this is from “king john” which is described at thus: “In the shadow of Shakespeare’s second tetralogy of history plays lies the neglected masterpiece, King John. The play is cursed with the egregious reputation of being Shakespeare’s great artistic failure.”

great artistic failure. woo. well, it’s a good monologue. from act two, scene two, constance, mother to arthur, has just found out that because of the marriage between louis and blanch her son will not inherit her late husband’s throne.

Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace! False blood to false blood join’d! gone to be friends! Shall Louis have Blanch? and Blanch those provinces? It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard; Be well advis’d, tell o’er thy tale again: It cannot be; thou dost but say ‘tis so; I trust I may not trust thee; for thy word Is but the vain breath of a common man: Believe me, I do not believe thee, man; I have a king’s oath to the contrary. Thou shalt be punish’d for thus frighting me, For I am sick and capable of fears; Oppress’d with wrongs, and therefore full of fears; A widow, husbandless, subject to fears; A woman, naturally born to fears; And though thou now confess thou didst but jest, With my vex’d spirits I cannot take a truce, But they will quake and tremble all this day. What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head? Why dost thou look so sadly on my son? What means that hand upon that breast of thine? Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum, Like a proud river peering o’er his bounds? Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words? Then speak again,—not all thy former tale, But this one word, whether thy tale be true.
i like this one because there’s a variety of anger and desperation and manipulation that will show my personal freaking-out range well. plus, it’s from a lesser-done play so i hope the auditors won’t have heard it very much.

as my second one (the one i hope they won’t ask for) i may do rosalind’s epilogue in “as you like it” even though they’ve already cast rosalind in this production. it’s a neat monologue, short and charming, just like me.

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