Welcome to MARCH breACK! 2014!
Each weekday in March BreACK!, the kids will read a segment of a book I have written and illustrate it! Today, we’re reading the first act of our Shakespeare play, transformed: Bearicles, Prince of Tyre. I’ll encourage the kids to use simple black ink pens on paper today.
The Play of Bearicles, Prince of Tyre, Act I, Summary:
The ghost of the great turtle-poet Gower introduces himself, telling us that he is going to entertain us with a tale from long ago: Bearicles, the bear-prince of Tyre (ancient Lebanon) has travelled to Antioch (ancient Syria) to try to win the “paw” of the daughter of Antiochus, the King. To do so, he must solve a riddle written by the king. If he doesn’t solve the riddle, however, he will lose his family suit of armour and disgrace his coat of arms. (Eek! He even suspects that he might lose his life!) The king points to all of the empty suits of armour around the room, warning the heroic Prince Bearicles about the risks involved. Many many bear-princes have already tried to solve the riddle and failed. Looking on the beautiful Princess, however, Bearicles accepts the challenge. Of course, our wise bear-hero understands the meaning of the riddle right away. Unfortunately, this answer exposes the grave, unspeakable sins of Antiochus himself. Bearicles now sees plainly that the King and his daughter are “snakes in bear fur.” Instead of exposing the king and his daughter to infamy, however, the honourable Bearicles responds with a riddle-like answer of his own. This signals to the king that Bearicles understands his secret and has solved the riddle without exposing the king publicly. Concerned, Antiochus responds by stating that Bearicles’ response provides “no real conclusion.” He invites Bearicles to stay in Antioch for another 40 days until the prince can come up with a “solid answer.” But, a smart, skeptical Bearicles high-tails it out of there, fleeing back to his homeland, Tyre (Lebanon). Antiochus, afraid that Bearicles will make his secret “snake” identity known, sends a bounty-hunter to follow Bearicles. The bounty hunter promises not to return to Antioch until the Prince of Tyre is no more. Back in Tyre, knowledge of Antiochus’ awful secret weighs heavy on the heart of Bearicles. He seeks advice from his best buddy and advisor, Helicanus, who urges him to get on his sail-barge and travel for a while, comforting himself by offering aid to foreign cities and citizens in need. Bearicles sails to Tarsus (ancient Turkey), where he feeds a starving kingdom, befriending King Cleon and his wife, Queen Dionyza. The bounty hunter arrives in Tyre only after Bearicles has left.