A Not So Virginal Fair BiancaSunday, July 04, 2010
Katherina:Of all thy suitors here I charge thee tell
Whom thou lov'st best. See thou dissemble not.
Bianca: Believe me, sister, of all the men alive
I never yet beheld that special face
Which I could fancy more than any other.
Petruchio. Nay, that you shall not; since you have begun,
Have at you for a bitter jest or two.
Bianca. Am I your bird? I mean to shift my bush,
And then pursue me as you draw your bow.
You are welcome all.
The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare
After having seen Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra on Bard on the Beach and watched a Stratford Festival filmed production of George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra, Shakespeare and his characters have been much in my mind. Today I walked in the garden and I noticed that the David Austin English Rose, Rosa 'Fair Bianca' had an unusual bloom that was not the usual pristine and virginal white. The event in itself is not all that infrequent but today it was because of my thoughts on Shakespeare. Fair Bianca is the logical engénue sister of the fiesty and fiery Katherina of The Taming of the Shrew. I decided to read the play and I found that Fair Bianca is a rather smart girl who certainly knows what she wants and who she is. If Shakespeare had traveled to our present time he might have written a parallel play ( a sort of hyper text play) in which we might know a bit more about this really interesting minor protagonist who is not so minor in my books.
Reading between the lines I have decided that Fair Bianca while she may have been amply fair, she was not necessarily all that virginal. I see her as being an experienced woman. The sudden shift, from white to blushing pink, of this delicately scented rose may just be an indication that the rose is simply finding its own identity and that our perception of her (both the rose and her namesake) is not all that accurate.