Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Guide to Quarrelling, by Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde

From Emsworth comes this I suppose tongue-in-cheek guide to having a really good quarrel, using examples from Cassius/Brutus (Julius Caesar) but also Cecily and Gwendolyn (The Importance of Being Earnest):

Play the guilt card for a winning hand

Tired of being called names, Cassius resorts to inflicting guilt. He whines to Brutus that he “hath riv’d my heart” and that “a friend should bear his friend’s infirmities,” and he complains to Brutus: “You love me not.” Brutus has only a weak retort: “I do not like your faults.” Cassius trumps: “A friendly eye could never see such faults.”

A minute later, Brutus, who was masterly in the early rounds, gives it up. Cassius claims victory amidst the lovefest:

Brutus: When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
Cassius: Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
Brutus: And my heart too.
Cassius: O Brutus!

Very well written, especially since it could easily have gone into some modern psychology journal about how to avoid quarreling, using Cassius as an example of what not to do.  Instead, M turns it around to keep our attention, making Cassius the ultimate winner of the quarrel.

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