Surely this has been opined before, but as I sit annotating Richard II in preparation for sending Kentucky Shakespeare’s cutting out to the summer cast, I can’t help but note that there are two important scenes, the first one and the top of Act IV, in which the throwing down of gages, that is to say, gauntlets, that is to say, gloves figures very prominently. Of the handful of legitimate (non-alternative) facts known about Shakespeare, one is that his father, John, was a glover by trade. It is also known that for the last fifteen or twenty years of his life (he died in 1601) he was plagued by debt for some reason (NB: he was an official ale taster for a time, which is the kind of job that probably keeps its claws in you even when you stop doing it). It is further known that during this time Richard II (among others was written).
Now is it likely that John suggested to his son that “a play with a lot of gloves in it would be great for business”? Is it likely that his son, who knew how to turn a shilling to his own advantage, knew where gloves could be had for next to nothing? No Man Can Say.
But Richard II could in fact be the first known example of the our own time’s most revered tradition of patronage: product placement.
This opened my eyes to myriad opportunities.
Every one lets forth his Sprite ™ – Midsummer, V i (you can see LeBron as Puck, right?)
This haste hath Wyngz ™ indeed – All’s Well, II i
See the revolution of The Times ™ – 2 Henry IV, III i (though lately “Construe The Times ™ to their necessities” might be more apt)
A goodly Apple ™ rotten at the heart – Merchant, I iii (clearly a Microsoft placement)
Our Windows ™ are broke down in every street – 1 Henry VI, III i (clearly an Apple placement; anyone’s dime is good here)
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill Trump ™ – Othello, III iii (election’s just around the corner, in the grand scheme of things…)
Enough. Until I get someone to monetize moronic Shakespeare blogging, it’s back to work for me.