9781451605815

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski : A Most Excellent Comedie and Tragical Romance

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781451605815

  • ISBN10:

    1451605811

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-10-26
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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Summary

What if . . . William Shakespeare had writtenThe Big Lebowski? The Dude has met the Bardand 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 togetherin 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 Lebowskicomes alive anew in this definitive and lavishly illustrated edition, featuring recently discovered historical engravings, scholarly annotations, and a revelatory afterword from the author.

Excerpts

Act 1

 

Scene 1

 

THE KNAVE’s house. Enter THE KNAVE, carrying parcels, and BLANCHE and WOO. They fight.

 

BLANCHE

Whither the money, Lebowski? Faith, we are as servants to Bonnie;

promised by the lady good that thou in turn were good for’t.

 

WOO

Bound in honour, we must have our bond; cursed be our tribe

if we forgive thee.

 

BLANCHE

Let us soak him in the chamber-pot, so as to turn his head.

 

WOO

Aye, and see what vapourises; then he will see what is foul.

 

They insert his head into the chamber-pot.

 

BLANCHE

What dreadful noise of waters in thine ears! Thou hast cool’d

thy head; think now upon drier matters.

 

WOO

Speak now on ducats else again we’ll thee duckest; whither the

money, Lebowski?

 

THE KNAVE

Faith, it awaits down there someplace; prithee let me glimpse

again.

 

WOO

What, thou rash egg! Thus will we drown thine exclamations.

 

They again insert his head into the chamber-pot.

 

BLANCHE

Trifle not with the fury of two desperate men. Long has thy

wife sealed a bond with Jaques Treehorn; as blood is to blood,

surely thou owest to Jaques Treehorn in recompense.

 

WOO

Rise, and speak wisely, man—but hark;

I see thy rug, as woven i’the Orient,

A treasure from abroad. I like it not.

I’ll stain it thus; to deadbeats ever thus.

 

He stains the rug.

 

THE KNAVE

Sir, prithee nay!

 

BLANCHE

Now thou seest what happens, Lebowski, when the agreements

of honourable business stand compromised. If thou wouldst

treat money as water, flowing as the gentle rain from heaven,

why, then thou knowest water begets water; it will be a watery

grave your rug, drown’d in the weeping brook. Pray remember,

Lebowski.

 

THE KNAVE

Thou err’st; no man calls me Lebowski. Hear rightly, man!—for

thou hast got the wrong man. I am the Knave, man; Knave in

nature as in name.

 

BLANCHE

Thy name is Lebowski. Thy wife is Bonnie.

 

THE KNAVE

Zounds, man. Look at these unworthiest hands; no gaudy gold

profanes my little hand. I have no honour to contain the ring. I

am a bachelor in a wilderness. Behold this place; are these the

towers where one may glimpse Geoffrey, the married man? Is

this a court where mistresses of common sense are hid? Not for

me to hang my bugle in an invisible baldric, sir; I am loath to

take a wife, or she to take me until men be made of some other

mettle than earth. Hark, the lid of my chamber-pot be lifted!

 

WOO

Search his satchel! His words are a fantastical banquet to work

pell-mell havoc and confusion upon his enemies. There sits

eight pounds of proof within.

 

BLANCHE

Villainy! Why this confounded orb, such as men use to play at

ninepins; what devilry, these holes in holy trinity?

 

THE KNAVE

Obviously thou art not a colfer.

 

BLANCHE

Then thou art a man to carry ball in his sack? Thou varlet, a

plague upon your house; I return thine orb to earth.

 

He drops the ball.

 

Thy floor cracks in haste, sir; thou art not a man of ample foundation.

Woo?

 

WOO

Speak, friend; I am but of droplets.

 

BLANCHE

Was this not a man of moneys and repute? Did not Treehorn

speak of chalcedony halls, and three chests of gold, as was hard

food for Midas? What think’st thou?

 

WOO

O undistinguish’d man! We are deceived; this man has put not

money in his purse.

 

THE KNAVE

Weep not for grief of my own sustaining, sir. At least I am

house-broken, none to break the houses of others.

 

WOO

If dog you are, in time you’ll have your day;

Waste time, but Jaques Treehorn will you pay.

 

Exeunt severally.

***  

13 rash egg: impolitically bold child or spawn. ‘Egg’ also calls to mind ‘zero’ (as in the French l’oeuf) and hints at the thugs’ unimpressed reaction to the Knave’s dwelling.

 

20 deadbeat: a person who evades the payment of, or defaults on, a debt

 

33 profanes: debases, defiles, corrupts

 

35 Geoffrey, the married man: Elizabethan mores viewed bachelorhood with suspicion. Men were expected to be married, and often had to be to accept public office or important civic responsibilities.

 

37 baldric: a belt or sash worn over the shoulder

 

39 lid of my chamber-pot: a lid is customarily placed upon the pot to contain odours. Leaving it off indicates the Knave’s incivility and lack of a wife.

 

43 confounded: perplexed. Blanche means ‘confounding,’ though that is not the issue here.

 

43 orb: sphere

 

44 ninepins: the sport of kings. Variants and alternate names include loggats, kayles, and skittles. Shakespeare frequently referred to the sport: in The Taming of the Shrew, it is a metaphor for Petruchio’s courtship of Katherine; in Coriolanus, Menenius compares his overcommitted loyalty to the title character to a poorly rolled frame; and, most famously, Hamlet’s line ‘Ay, there’s the rub’ refers to an obstacle deflecting a bowling ball from its course.

 

45 colfer: a player of ‘colf,’ the Dutch predecessor to the Scottish game of golf. In the sixteenth century, as the modern game filtered down from Scotland, its variants were enjoyed by commoners and royalty alike; Mary, Queen of Scots, was an avid golfer.

 

46 varlet: a rascal or disreputable character, from the Old French vaslet

 

50 of droplets: i.e., only has a little urine left. Possibly a reference to the use of the aspergillum to sprinkle holy water in religious ceremonies, as if Woo is blessing the rug.

 

52 chalcedony: a fine mineral, similar to quartz. Named for the Bithynian port town of Chalcedon.

 

57 house-broken: versed in sanitary excretory habits suitable for civilised living; in casual speech, meaning docile or peaceably mannered.

 

 

 

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