Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yet another way to derail a class:

Make the observation, in the midst of a great discussion of Act 2, Scene 4 of Measure for Measure (where Angelo propositions Isabella), that, if the scene is staged right, it's shocking and gross, yes. . . but also pretty hot.

If you do this, your students will gasp, look at you with wide, astonished eyes, and immediately stop talking.

But hey: I'm a big believer in creating my own gossip--and I can't claim that the comment was unpremeditated.


Escalus said...

I had a long comment, and blogger ate it. I'll just say that while there's a lot of interesting sex in MFM, I have never thought of it as a hot play. The problem isn't that Angelo's proposition is shocking and gross, but that it is a violent act: he's forcing her to choose between death and fornication (which she considers worse than death). That the death is neither hers nor immediate doesn't lessen the intensity, I think.

Pedagogically, however, that's awesome. Those students will really plow into the text now, hoping to find the next mortal sin gets your aroused.

Flavia said...

Escalus: I know that I could be taken as pretty pervy for saying that--but I DO think that those two scenes between Angelo and Isabella (2.2 and 2.4) are hot.

Part of it is surely the fact that the first live production I saw of the play had an outrageously hot actor playing Angelo, but that's not all of it. I've always found Angelo the most interesting character in M4M, and, at the risk of sounding unprofessional, I really feel that there's something powerfully & psychologically true about what happens to him in those interactions with Isabella. So, when I say that the scene is hot, I don't mean (or I don't only mean) that it's sexually hot, but that as I watch it I'm thinking, in effect, "hot damn, Willie! That's some good shit right there."

It's not about Isabella--which is to say that it's not about a rape fantasy or anything like that--it's about Angelo.

muse said...

Another way to derail a great class discussion (at a Southern university): accidentally say "Shit" for emphasis in the middle of a discussion of Paradise Lost. Silence and shocked looks.