1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 45: Elizabeth Rex: by Timothy Findley


Elizabeth Rex is, like such works as the upcoming Anonymous, and past films like Shakespeare In Love, fictionalizes the life of Shakespeare in much the form which he was assumed to write (the screen being the contemporary for of the stage in many respect, though Elizabeth Rex unlike the aforementioned films was written for the stage specifically). There is no plot, merely that Queen Elizabeth, who had been entertained one evening by Will Shakespeare and his troupe of actors, decides to steal away to the barn in which they have been housed and have a conversation on a number of topics, but focuses mostly on themes which carry feminist implications and assigned gender roles of the patriarchal tradition. It is essentially a dramatizes essay which explores some feminist implications of Shakespeare’s work. It notes how women in positions of authority have to adopt traits considered to be masculine in order to maintain respect, and indulges also in the gender roles assigned to homosexuals (Ned, with whom Elizabeth speaks with the most is a homosexual actor consider to be the best actor of women of his time). As most plays are, it is a quick and easy read, with references to Shakespeare’s work and limited biographical facts to appease fans of Shakespeare’s work, but Findley makes no effort to conform to the Elizabethan style of speaking. The dialogue in fact is spoken in very plain English, which detracts slightly from the work and lends itself to suggest that Findley was perhaps a little rushed or lazy in his approach to aesthetics of the play, but the content remains very much challenging and interesting at the same time. It comes across as trying to be a little too hip at times, like a Tarantino screenplay that references cult films, but rather references Shakespearian plays, and in turn comes across as more of a pat on the back for having read a handful of plays and only looking upon the surface of Shakespeare’s biography.





Words I thought I’d look up:



Petulant: Sulk or ill-tempered.



Obsequious:  Submissive or Eager to please.



Reprobate: Somebody immoral.



Indelible: Impossible to remove or alter. Also unforgettable.

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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