Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Godfather and Shakespeare

Some time ago I wrote a blog comparing the first Godfather movie to Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. I received some very interesting responses to this blog.

This past holiday season a television station aired all three Godfather movies. It seemed a strange choice for Christmas, but my wife and I watched them all, the first being our favorite.

I could not help but notice that the end of The Godfather reminded me of a scene from Shakespeare's Henry IV part I. The scenes have to do with secrets that husbands keep from their wives (even the women have similar names).

First, here is the scene from the end of The Godfather.

KAY
Michael, is it true?

MICHAEL
Don't ask me about my business, Kay...

KAY
Is it true?

MICHAEL
Don't ask me about my business...

KAY
No.

MICHAEL (as he slams his hand on the desk)
Enough!

Those familiar with The Godfather will undoubtedly recognize this scene.
The scene from Henry IV part I occurs in Act II, Scene iii. Harry 'Hostspur' Percy is planning an attack against King Henry. Hotspur's wife, Lady Percy (Kate) is questioning Harry what troubles him so that his sleep is disturbed. Kate wants to know where Hotspur is going and why.

LADY PERCY
Come, come, your paraquito, answer me
Directly unto this question that I ask....

HOTSPUR
But hark you, Kate,
I must not have you henceforth question me
Whither I go, nor reason whereabout...
... I know you wise, but yet no further wise
Than Harry Percy's wife. Constant you are
But yet a woman...


Both of these scenes have patriarchal overtones. The husbands (the head of the family) do not believe it is important their wives know (or cannot be trusted with) the truth of their business.

The women in these scenes (both strong women) know that it is their wifely duty to know their husbands' business.
Case in point: So many wives in the news today live a lavish lifestyle then claim ignorance when their husbands are arrested for a crime (some quite despicable; how about the husband who stole body parts from the recently deceased).

Men may think women are just nosey, but if they are, men give them good reason to be.


Stephen Gaspar is a writer of mystery/detective fiction. 
Stephen Gaspar's books on Amazon

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