If You Can't Read Him, Read a Parody
"Nay, love's a bond of servitude;
A trap that sly deceptors lay for fools-" -(MacDonald, 69)
Oh, come on now. Who doesn't love them a little jaded monologue? I know I do. And who, at one point or another, hasn't wanted to read the part of Romeo and Juliet where Romeo discovers Juliet chews with her mouth open, or Juliet finds out Romeo has some nasty back hair. Was young love accurately portrayed by Shakespeare? Sure, if the love only had to make it for three days. And we see from MacDonald's version of things, that three days was the staying power of this particular relationship. We also get to see a parodying of the death-happy Juliet and the bloodthirsty Desdemona. What could be better?
MacDonald goes on to point out the scenes in each play that drive an audience member crazy. We've all been in a similar position as Constance when she is disgruntled over the sloppiness of these "tragedies," even if this didn't occur when we were watching a Shakespearean play. Maybe you were watching TV, and a character's boyfriend is sitting with another girl. We know they're just talking about a paper, but from the angle our protagonist sees them, they seem to be getting ready to....er, cuddle. Now, as the protagonist runs off, don't we all give a groan of disgust? "Talk to him, already!" we yell at the screen, as the protagonist dissolves into tears. This was the exclamation Constance gave when Othello took Iago's word about the handkerchief, and Romeo decided not to tell Tybalt that they were now cousins. Sorry Will, but MacDonald has a point; those scenes are just irritating (11).
If I were to recommend this book to someone, I would suggest that if they hadn't read either of the Shakespeare masterpieces portrayed in this play to at least scan a summary. I hadn't ever read Othello (I know, bad English major, bad), and I appreciated the play so much more once I had an idea of what was being changed. Obviously, this isn't necessary, but it does help one catch some of the "inside jokes" going on.
I would have loved to see this play last a little longer. My only complaint is that it felt rushed. We saw that meeting between Constance and the Professor, and, much like in Romeo and Juliet, were expected to believe there was love on one side. Though, in retrospect, that's an interesting theme to continue. We have to believe in love at first sight; as in the first time we see two characters together, we have to believe there's love. I could read Constance's iambic speeches forever, I loved when she answered a long monologue with "Oh.", and the battle cry of "Bullshit!" almost wrung a cheer from me as well. Maybe that's why I wanted it to last longer. But, since the reading had to be done for Monday, I think that particular wish makes me the Fool.