Andromache--translation on the way...
Posted by Barbara on July 22, 1998 at 16:44:00:
In response to You guys are incredible!, written by Martine on July 22, 1998 at 12:37:41
] If you need help for the translation, just let me know by e-mail.
I have been working on this, but it is hard to do. Not only is there the old French, but, because it is written in verse, a lot of it is very turned around (structurally) in order to make the rhymes work. What I have done so far is the scene right before where Margaret is reciting her lines (Act II Scene II) I will mail it to you, Martine, so you can see what a dreadful mess I've made and fix it for us!
] One thing about the play "Andromache:" Jean Racine is know for his retelling of Greek heroes and heroins stories in tragedies written in the classic style (classic, at that point in time, meaning Greek and Roman.) The Greek tragedy has one particularity: as the name clues you in, it ends...in tragedy. Meaning that NO ONE in the story will either be happy or survive (have any idea why I don't care for Racine so much...?! ;-D )
] At the point in the movie when we hear this passage, this is precisely what is happening for Elinor: she just learned through the servant's explanation that "Mr. Ferrars" and his wife, "Miss Steele as she were" passed through town. This is the end of all of Elinor's hope, as far as she (and we) know at that point. "Mr. Ferrars" is married. She will not have him. She will live unhappily ever after, as will "Mr. Ferrars" whom she knows does not love Lucy. Pretty tragic right there...Hope is gone.
I think that Emma Thompson, who is very clever and well-educated, did not chose this particular recitation in French by accident. I mean, she could just as easily have had Margaret reciting her verb conjugations, couldn't she ;-) So what Martine says is undoubtedly part of the underlying meaning there--the utter hopelessness that there seems to be at this point in the story.
I read a bit about Andromache in a history book I have called The Story of Civilization (Vol. VIII): The Age of Louis XIV by Will and Ariel Durant. In a chapter called "Classic Zenith in French Literature", they call Andromache Racine's greatest play, on a level with Shakespeare. They write:
The play is a tangle of loves. Orestes loves Hermione, who loves Pyrrhus, who loves Andromache, who loves Hector, who is dead.
At the part of the play we are interested in, Orestes has just come to see Hermione, and I think to ask her to marry him again. The words Margaret is saying are Orestes' lines. In the scene just before this, Hermione is talking with a friend or servant of hers and seems to be examining her feelings on how she should react and what she ought to say or do when she sees Orestes again, and even WHETHER she ought to see him again. This, I think, ties in pretty closely with what is going on in S&S at this point.
However, the Durants also liken the character of Hermione to Lady Macbeth, and she does later on in the play do some pretty evil stuff, so I don't think we can make an exact parallel between Hermione and Elinor!
- a little help... Val L 02:27:40 7/29/98 (0)
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