45. monologue

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He’s a very smart Prince.

He’s a Prince who prepares. Knowing this time I’d run from him, he spread pitch on the stairs. I was caught unawares. And I thought: well, he cares.

This is more than just malice! Better stop and take stock while you’re standing here stuck on the steps of the palace.

You think, what do you want? You think, make a decision. Why not stay and be caught? You think, well, it’s a thought. What would be his response? But then what if he knew who you were when you know that you’re not what he thinks that he wants?

And then what if you are what a Prince would envision? Although how can you know who you are till you know what you want, which you don’t, so then which do you pick: Where you’re safe, out of sight, and yourself, but where everything’s wrong? Or where everything’s right and you know that you’ll never belong?

And whichever you pick, do it quick, ’cause you’re starting to stick to the steps of the palace.

It’s your first big decision, the choice isn’t easy to make. To arrive at a ball is exciting and all– once you’re there, though, it’s scary. And it’s fun to deceive when you know you can leave, but you have to be wary. There’s a lot that’s at stake, but you’ve stalled long enough, ’cause you’re still standing stuck in the stuff on the steps…

Better run along home, and avoid the collision. Even though they don’t care, you’ll be better of there where there’s nothing to choose, so there’s nothing to lose. So you pry up your shoes.

Then from out of the blue, and without any guide, you know what your decision is, which is not to decide. You’ll just leave him a clue: for example, a shoe. And then see what he’ll do. Now it’s he and not you who is stuck with a shoe, in a stew, in the goo, and you’ve learned something, too, something you never knew, on the steps of the palace.

– Stephen Sondheim, from Into the Woods

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