One day in rehearsal, we were all wondering what one of Theseus's line meant: "Now is the mure rased between the two neighbors." Our photocopied Arden script did not explain the "mure rased." I recently discovered that the Arden edition does indeed address this line: in the appendix... over the course of THREE pages!
After searching through several versions of the play, I found that the Quartos (the first published in 1600 and the second in 1619) have Theseus say "moon used" in place of the Arden's "mure rased." This however, as most editors note, makes no sense in the context of the scene. After all, it is not Moonshine that has just exited, but Wall. Interestingly, the Folio (published in 1623) uses "morall downe." Harold Brooks, in his Arden appendix, posits that perhaps "rased" was replaced after an actor refused to say the line for fear that "rased" (raze=demolish) would be mistaken by the audience for its antonym "raised." R. A. Foakes, the editor of the Cambridge edition, writes that it is possible that the "morall" in the Folio came from the result of someone trying to correct "moon" with "wall" and having the resulting smudge be confused with "morall." In any case, the Arden uses "mure rased", the Pelican uses "mural down" and the Cambridge, Folger, and Oxford use "wall down."
Some of us were talking about it after rehearsal today and were wondering what the back story to these two characters are.
How did they fall in love? Does Hippolyta really love Theseus or is she forced to?
Let me know what you think..
Lauren Beck: Excellent question. As you know from the text, Theseus wooed Hippolyta with his sword. And although there are many versions of the myth, they all involve Theseus (sometimes with "kinsmen Hercules") kidnapping and conquering Hippolyta. HOWEVER, this does not necessarily mean that Hippolyta is forced to marry or love Theseus. I mean, just because Theseus conquered Hippolyta, doesn't mean he HAS to marry her. I like to think that Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons has never met a man that could defeat her, while Theseus, a royal conqueror, has perhaps never met a woman who could dominate him. These two, being sort of equally matched in strength, intelligence, and aggression, I believe, DO fall in love. And rather than see Hippolyta as surrendering to Theseus, we can almost see Theseus surrendering part of his dukedom to Hippolyta. That's how I like to see it anyway. ESPECIALLY in the more modern context of the 1960s. Although even by just examining the text, we can see that Hippolyta stands her ground with Theseus, and isn't a meek creature in the background.
My name is Lauren Beck and those that know me know I like to blog. Tawnya Pataky, my fellow co-dramaturg may surprise you with a posting now and again as well. Contact us at BnPdramaturgy@gmail.com and make sure to leave comments on the posts so we don't get lonely!