106 - concerned. In this play,...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Bertram presents himself at court in Paris just as the king is bidding his soldiers to fight in the Italian  wars. The sight of Bertram, Lafeu, and Parolles spurs memories of former days: I would I had that corporal soundness now,  As when thy father and myself in friendship  First tried our soldiership! (24-26) At the end of this short scene, the king asks how long it has been since the court physician at  Rousillon died; if he were still alive perhaps he could cure the king's illness. Shakespeare broadly contrasts youth and age here, with Bertram greeting the feeble king while  preparations are made for a war in which the young gentlemen of France can prove themselves.  Note that the war is described as being more a training ground than anything else: "freely have they  leave / To stand on either part" means they can fight for either Siena or Florence as far as the king is 
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: concerned. In this play, "honor" has a number of different connotations, one of which is the prestige a young man like Bertram can achieve in battle. One remark which the king makes in describing Bertram's father has a bearing on the previous scene. The king says: Who were below him he used as creatures of another place, And bowed his eminent top to their low ranks, Making them proud of his humility, In their poor praise he humbled. (42-45) The gist of the comment is that Bertram's father was not a social snob. Ironically, a motivating factor in Bertram's behavior toward Helena (whom we know to be sensitive to the issue) is just such snobbery...
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online