June 13th, 2017 → 5:57 am @ // No Comments

“‘Tis strange.  A threepence bowed would hire me,
Old as I am, to queen it.”  – Henry VIII

So Shakespeare didn’t actually write the word “quean” here -Â meaning a prostitute or an ill-behaved girl – but my Shakespeare text (David Bevington, 4th edition) notes that speakers of this passage would imply “quean” where “queen” is written, in a kind of wink-wink to the audience.  (“bowed” could also be pronounced as “bawd”).  Now I’m wondering how many other times in Shakespeare when I see the word “queen,” might an actor pronounce it to imply prostitute!
(I’m also thinking how sad it is there is no parallel for “king.”)

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