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12 days of Christmas ‘Heresies’ in Shakespeare

DAY 11: THE TAMING OF THE SHREW: THE MERRINESS OF CHRISTMAS

Here the allusion to Christmas is so subtle, the Bard has to use the very word ‘Christmas’ to alert us to it. Christopher Sly represents a sly portrayal of the Prodigal Son. The religious promise of Christmas is that the birth of Jesus will rid of us of our woes and make us all merry again. How’s that working out for you? The work Jesus did gave us the free choice to enjoy abundant, health, wealth, and happiness, but most of us have a lot of self-forgiveness work to do before we can fully experience the Christmas presence.

In an opening scene that is often omitted from productions, Sly is now to be shown the play within the play (that is not without its superficial controversies) in order to dissolve his melancholy.

 

MESSENGER

Seeing too much sadness hath congealed your blood,

And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy:

Therefore they thought it good you hear a play

And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,

Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.

SLY

Marry I will let them play it. Is not a comonty A Christmas gambold or a tumbling trick?

PAGE

No, my good lord, it is more pleasing stuff.

 

As the play plays on we are treated to a farcically camouflaged story of the coming of the Christ, starring Petruchio – featuring one of my favourite motifs of the ‘Palm Sunday’ triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem riding an ass.

Christmas allusion? Gets my vote. Let me know what you think.

SHAKESPEARE’S SECRET COMPASS:  
A FREE MASTERCLASS IN USING THE BARDPOWER IN 12TH NIGHT

If music be the food of love, play on.

JAN 6TH, 6 PM – 8 PM GMT ZOOM AND IN-PERSON

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