Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: A Most Excellent Comedie and Tragical Romance
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What if…William Shakespeare had written The Big Lebowski?
The Dude has met the Bard—and he doth abide.
Join “The Knave” and Sir Walter on a wild tale of mistaken identity, kidnapping, bowling, and a rug that, in faith, really tied the room together—in a sidesplitting Shakespearean comedy of errors and ninepins, told in five glorious acts of iambic pentameter and impeccable period prose.
Already a theatrical hit and a worldwide viral phenomenon, Two Gentlemen of Lebowski comes alive anew in this definitive and lavishly illustrated edition, featuring recently discovered historical engravings, scholarly annotations, and a revelatory afterword from the author.
fair effects of future hopes. Such plays may well transport us all beyond This ignorant present. THE KNAVE Faith, an excellent dream; But I still read Ben Jonson manually. A beaver picture. JAQUES TREEHORN Ay, there’s the rub. I pray thee, Knave, to hear The purpose of my night’s invitation As brought thee to my seat. Where’s Bonnie fair? THE KNAVE O irony; I thought that thou couldst know. JAQUES TREEHORN My mind is slate and sky-dark; the lady Only ran off to flee her debt to
Burbage and which to Will Kempe. And he finds that the more time he spends with the work, the more he wonders how anyone but he wrote something so Shakespearean. This is my contention: If The Big Lebowski had premiered in 1598, Shakespeare would have ripped it off by 1603. It’s not so hard to believe. The vast majority of Shakespeare’s plays (the bulk of the series, if you will) can be linked to prior sources: history, classic stories, even the original work of other writers. Romeo and Juliet
is a suggestion of an echo of Shakespeare’s own personal thoughts.” Thoughts, but also words. Lebowski is the ultimate example of linguistic propagation. Characters pass language back and forth, often quoting one another, and before long idiosyncratic verbiage on the order of “unchecked aggression” and “in the parlance of our time” is careening all over California. A trademark precision in word choice is on full display in Lebowski, with every pause, phrase, and epithet calculated in masterly
painted lady, or whore. See Act 1, Scene 4. pastoral: bucolic, rural steward: caretaker vows of Sabbath pure: the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, i.e., shomer Shabbos catharsis: a Greek term (from kathairein, to purify or purge) signifying emotional cleansing. In his Poetics, Aristotle defined the function of tragedy as a catharsis of pity and fear. Shakespeare’s familiarity with Aristotle is unknown, though his tragedies do conform to some of the Poetics’ requirements for drama,
the trail: i.e., see you again in the future. The Chorus paints Two Gentlemen of Lebowski as a fairy tale, encouraging us to forget the grim undercurrents of the story (deception, vandalism, kidnapping, theft, and Donald’s senseless death) and embrace the cycle of life. By giving us his promise to rejoin us, the Chorus assures us that all will be well. He ends with a statement that the story is over, signaling a request for the audience’s applause. Acknowledgments People sometimes ask me