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Gay Quaker Parrots
Literary Slash
Theirloveisso... Shakespearean. 
14th-Sep-2005 11:38 pm
As promised, I have 'Twelfth Night' in front of me, and I'm ready and raring to transcribe the slashiness of Sebastian and Antonio.

[their first scene-- Sebastian is preparing to part company with Antonio, to whom he has given a false name]

ANTONIO: Will you stay no longer? Nor will you not that I go with you?

SEBASTIAN: By your patience, no. My stars shine darkly over me: the malignancy of my fate might, perhaps, distemper yours; therefore I shall crave of you your leave, that I may bear my evils alone. It were a bad recompense for your love, to lay any of them on you.

ANTONIO: Let me yet know of you whither you are bound.

SEBASTIAN: No, sooth, Sir. My determinate voyage is mere extravagancy. But I perceive in you so excellent a touch of modesty, that you will not extort from me what I am willing to keep in; therefore it charges me in manners the rather to express myself. You must know of me then, Antonio, my name is Sebastian, which I called Roderigo. My father was that Sebastian of Messaline, whom I know you have heard of. He left behind him myself and a sister, both born in an hour: if the heavens had been pleased, would we had so ended! But you, Sir, altered that; for some hour before you took me from the breach of the sea was my sister drowned.

[a little later-- I'm skipping some stuff Sebastian says about his 'dead' sister]

SEBASTIAN: Oh, good Antonio, forgive me your trouble.

ANTONIO: If you will not murder me for my love, let me be your servant.

SEBASTIAN: If you will not undo what you have done, that is, kill him whom you have recovered, desire it not. Fare ye well at once: my bosom is full of kindness; and I am yet so near the manners of my mother, that, upon the least occasion more, mine eyes will tell tales of me. I am bound to the Count Orsino's court: Farewell.


ANTONIO: The gentleness of all the gods go with thee! I have many enemies in Orsino's court, else would I very shortly see you there; But, come what may, I do adore thee so, that danger shall seem sport, and I will go!

ANTONIO exits after him.


I'll post more actual scenes and lines later. Antonio doesn't marry Sebastian's sister, which is strange in these litslash situations-- in fact, he doesn't get to marry anyone, which is strange in a Shakesperean comedy. But his devotion to Sebastian-- which causes him some heartache later, along with the whole mistaken identity thing-- is what makes him one of my favourite characters. I saw the play performed just this past summer in Ashland, with some theatre friends, and one of my friends had seen a TV movie version where the actors didn't play up the slash angle, and had never seen it that way, but the actor we saw playing Antonio really ran with it, and she told me afterwards that it was definitely there.

16th-Sep-2005 01:10 am (UTC)
I honestly don't know how anyone can deny the slashiness of that bit. What do you make of the relationship? It doesn't seem the healthiest, and you can see various parallels with the other Antonio: probably an older man who's more interested than the other one is, gets quite thoroughly used, left out of the magic circle of couples at the end.

Isn't that bit verse, though? You said "transcribe": you do know that there are umpteen e-texts of Shakespeare and you can just copy and paste? If you've actually copied all that out yourself, bless you for taking the trouble!

One reason why I haven't put in all the lesbian slash from Gone With the Wind yet is that it's still within copyright or something, and there are no e-texts. Since it's 1000 pages long, there are rather a lot of slashy bits to dig out and transcribe. I will one day, probably when on work avoidance.
16th-Sep-2005 06:52 am (UTC)
Well, with THE PLAYS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE Vol.IV right at hand, I just figured I'd copy it. I haven't ever dug through the e-texts, and I'm crap with PCs-- I just need my Mac to get fixed-- so... I dunno, I decided it'd be just as easy for me to type as it would be to find the e-texts and copy/paste. *shrugs* I really don't mind doing it the old-fashioned way.

16th-Sep-2005 07:16 am (UTC)

I do feel so bad for Antonio, being the lone unmarried figure at the end. Well, *almost* lone. The one totally sympathetic character who doesn't get any.

I do also feel, however, that had Sebastian not been ambushed by marriage, things could have been different. After all, this beautiful woman who thinks he's someone else shows up and drags him to the chapel. It's not a position condusive to thought, he had no time to consider the alternatives... I like to think, that with Sebastian living under the veneer of respectable marriage, maybe the two of them snuck around to be together.

16th-Sep-2005 06:29 pm (UTC)
a) Who said that being married is a good thing in Shakespeare? I can only think of one happy couple in the whole of Shakespeare (my definition includes being alive at the end of the play, actually being remotely suited, and not being under the influence or drugs or magic). Most of them are dismally suited. The worst is Measure for Measure, where two of them are actually forced marriages.
b) And who said that everyone is suddenly going to lead lives of respectable heteroerotic monogamy? I used to think so, then my tutor said, "Look again," and she's right. They're all set up to continue the shenanigans in a different way. I wouldn't be remotely surprised if Orsino and Olivia were to swap spouses, for instance, considering that Sebastian has been fairly involved with a man, Orsino never really got off the ground when he thought he was wooing a woman and related to Viola/Cesario as a man, Olivia on the other hand rejected actual men and had a very feminine dynamic to her relationship with Viola, and Viola's in a fair muddle and could go either way. Several of them desire more than one person at once. It's true that Antonio isn't as involved in all of this and gets pushed out at the end. On the other hand, he might be better off out of that sort of mess. I'm not sure I'd trust either of the twins to stick out a long-term relationship they're charming and sexy, but they're also manipulative and fickle.

Copying out can be quite nice, fair enough. Would you mind posting anything that's verse so that it's still in verse, though? It'd be nice if you could edit this one so that the verse shows up, too, and also to say what part of the play it's from. If you do decide to be lazy, here's a direct link to e-texts of Shakespeare. They're searchable too, which is very handy when you remember a quotation but can't quite remember where it's from.
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