Posted by: daveed | January 24, 2010

The Dude abideth

It’s been a source of many a sleepless night, as I’ve been gripped by intense struggle over the aesthetic, linguistic and dramatic implications of this, our latest English language masterpiece:

The Big Lebowski, according to William Shakespeare. Or rather, A Most Extraordinary and Sublime Imitation of The Bard, with all Due Flattery and Respect (Or is it “Reʃpect”?), owed to The Master.

Here’s a brilliant riff on one of my favorite scenes:

WALTER
I mark thee, and pay tribute to thy wits,
Deduction noble made, but all the same
Must query quick the nature of this crime
That leads me out of doors on Sabbath eve.

THE KNAVE
Sir Walter, prithee cease; thou art no Jew.
Of Papists born in Poland was thy line.

WALTER
Thou knowest I converted ere I wed
The Lady Cynthia.

THE KNAVE
But that is past;
Five twelvemonths cross’d the sky since thou were wed.

WALTER
‘Tis true, I have in oath and court of law
Made a divorce betwixt Cynthia and me,
But doth equivocation turn a heart?
When justice calls a Jew into the court
Must not a Jew emerge? Is he anew?
May I no more of libraries borrow,
Or push my cart, or be my selfsame man?
The Hebrew turns not Christian; he is rock.

THE KNAVE
Thy sickness for fair Cynthia is sad;
Thou carest for her cur, though are not wed,
And still her synagogue thou dost attend.
Thou livest in the most accursed past.

WALTER
Forsooth! Three thousand years of history,
Traditions beauteous from Moses on:
Thou speakest damn
éd truth, and speakest well,
I am a man to live in bygone past!
But let’s away; the big Lebowski waits,
And fate rewards no man who hesitates.

[Exeunt]

I’ve always had a hard time getting my head around Shakespeare, especially when trying parse what’s on the written page. Thank the gods someone is staging Two Gentlemen of Lebowski. Wonder if intermission refreshments will include white russians.

WALTER
I mark thee, and pay tribute to thy wits,
Deduction noble made, but all the same
Must query quick the nature of this crime
That leads me out of doors on Sabbath eve.
THE KNAVE
Sir Walter, prithee cease; thou art no Jew.
Of Papists born in Poland was thy line.
WALTER
Thou knowest I converted ere I wed
The Lady Cynthia.
THE KNAVE
But that is past;
Five twelvemonths cross’d the sky since thou were wed.
WALTER
‘Tis true, I have in oath and court of law
Made a divorce betwixt Cynthia and me,
But doth equivocation turn a heart?
When justice calls a Jew into the court
Must not a Jew emerge? Is he anew?
May I no more of libraries borrow,
Or push my cart, or be my selfsame man?
The Hebrew turns not Christian; he is rock.
THE KNAVE
Thy sickness for fair Cynthia is sad;
Thou carest for her cur, though are not wed,
And still her synagogue thou dost attend.
Thou livest in the most accursed past.
WALTER
Forsooth! Three thousand years of history,
Traditions beauteous from Moses on:
Thou speakest damnèd truth, and speakest well,
I am a man to live in bygone past!
But let’s away; the big Lebowski waits,
And fate rewards no man who hesitates.
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Responses

  1. Brilliant!!


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