Summary and Analysis Act II: Scene 2


The Countess and her clown/servant, Lavache, discourse on the subject of the "court," where he is shortly to be sent on an errand.


This comical interlude has a threefold function: (1) as a bridge, (2) as an emotional and thematic gloss on the scenes either side of it, and (3) as a simple entertainment in itself. Remember, Shakespeare's comic actors were given room for improvisation, and hence a scene like this one, obliquely satirizing courtly manners, could be largely visual in the person of the clown preparing himself to make an appearance before a group of courtiers. While practicing the art of foppishly affected speech — the inanely repeated "universal answer" to every question is "O Lord, sir!" — the clown is no doubt also training himself physically, in highly artificial, dance-like movements. This, Shakespeare seems to be saying, is the world to which Bertram wants to attach himself.

Pop Quiz!

Bertram refuses to marry Helena because he


Why didn't Socrates write any books? After all, he was supposed to be so intelligent and wise.