Get used to disappointment!~Westley, The Princess Bride

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Ann-Marie Macdonald's "Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)" was relatively entertaining.  It had some creative twists and a few slightly amusing blunders, however, it was one of the most predictable things I've read.  There were many not so little clues about the ending of the play.  There were three things that blatantly foreshadowed the ending; the inscription on the cover, an attempted subtle play on words, and the ghost.

The inscription on the cover of the manuscript read, "You who possess the eye to see/this strange and wonderous alchemy,/ where words transform to vision'ry,/ where one plus two makes one, not three;/ open this book if you agree". (pg. 21)  After reading this inscription before Constance gets magically sucked into her trashcan, I immediately thougth of the title.  At this point in the play, we have found our main character to be Connie, and the title makes it fairly obvious that we will be meeting Desdemona and Juliet some time in the future.  Connie plus Desdemona plus Juliet= three characters.  According to the manuscript, "one plus two makes one not three", and here we have three main characters.  One of them, Constance, is assigned with the task of figuring out her own identity.  So, with the information given to us at this point in the play, we can safely assume that the three of them make up that one the inscription mentions.

The second piece of evidence that allows the readers to easily see the ending of the poem is cute little play on words.  Shortly after Connie befriends Desdemona, they get into a conversation about Connie and where she is from.  During this conversation, we find that they come to a cultural misunderstanding about what "B.S." is.  Constance explains as follows, "A kind of lie.  For instance, Academe believes that you're a doomed and helpless victim."  And Desdemona questions, "I?", receiving a response from Connie being, "Ay." (Pg. 38)  While I was reading this, I could easily see the difference between the responses, but in my head, it sounded as if Connie was correcting Desdemona and saying that it was her who the world she came from found her to be "a doomded and helpless victim." 

The thrid, and probably most blatant thing that foreshadows the ending of the book, is the ghost who Constance believes is Yorick.  Everytime that Connie attempts to ask the ghost if he is Yorick, he responds by saying, "Na-a-ay.  You're it." (Pg. 73)  This situation happens on a couple different occasions, the last being the part where she finally understands everything. 

All in all, "Goodnight Desdemona (Goodmorning Juliet)", is an amusing play to read, and it may be fun to watch, but it was extremely predictable which ends up taking out alot of the fun of reading.  I think if it were less predictable, then I would have enjoyed it much more than I did.

To see what my classmates have to say, click here! 

1 Comments

You know, your second point is really quite interesting. I didn't pick up on it when I read the play. Many authors, especially Shakespeare, use puns to give a sense of ambiguity in their works. Do you think MacDonald's use of a pun for this purpose tarnished the quality of her play, or did it improve her work since it was likely an intentional decision used to imitate Shakespeare himself?

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