The Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Play ctd.

Gib, another shepherd, enters and delivers his harangue. His problems are also bad weather and cold, but in contrast to the previous one, who was apparently more socially engaged, he concentrates on bad wives, in particular his one, who is tyrannical, fat and ugly. He advises young men to think well before they decide on the life of woe that apparently married life is, because you lose your freedom. Apparently those with the worst lives are the ones who remarried once or twice, because they suffered so many times. Although I can’t resist pointing out that nobody made them do so, and if the first marriage could be attributed to young men’s rashness, why should they wish to repeat the experience if it was such a dreadful one? “Triumph of hope over experience”, as Dr Johnson famously said? Here Gib seems to treat bad wives like sleet and snow, they just fall down from heaven on poor, unsuspecting men.


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