1993

Re: Isabella

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 793.  Sunday, 14 November 1993.
 
From:           Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 15:33:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0786  Q: Isabella
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0786  Q: Isabella
 
Ryan,
        I'm not aware of *any* evidence that Isabella consciously uses her
sexuality to tempt Angelo.  Claudio notes that his sister has a "prone and
speechless dialect" that moves men, but this quality seems to be something
that she does not knowingly employ.  However, there is nothing in the text
of her scenes with Angelo that absolutely prevents her from using her
sexual attractiveness to influence him.  Personally, I'm more interested in
the consequences of such a choice: if Isabella consciously arouses Angelo's
lust, the audience may more likely sympathize with his desire rather than
condemn it as a perverse longing to befoul virtue.  This sympathy then might
make it easier to forgive Angelo at the end of the play, but it will also
lessen the force of Isabella's anguished decision to plead for his life.
 
                                        Michael Friedman
                                        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
                                        University of Scranton

Re: Hypermedia Meeting at SAA

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 792.  Sunday, 14 November 1993.
 
From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 11:43:27 -500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0760 Re: Hypermedia Meeting at SAA
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0760 Re: Hypermedia Meeting at SAA
 
Dear Michael, This may be redundant but please include my name for the
hypertext conference. Nick Clary at Saint Michael's College, Burlington,
VT, is also interested, as is my colleague at UVM Tom Simone. Much thanks,
Ken Rothwell

Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 790.  Sunday, 14 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Mike Neuman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 14:37:29 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   The Ghost in Hamlet
 
(2)     From:   David McFadden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 16:24:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
(3)     From:   Ann M. Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 93 20:51:15 EST
        Subj:   SHK 4.0758 Q: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Neuman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 14:37:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        The Ghost in Hamlet
 
In response to John Cox's question of November 10th . . .
 
Jack Kroll, in the Newsweek issue of June 2, 1980, describes a
production of Hamlet starring Jonathan Pryce at London's Royal Court
Theatre:
   In a daring innovation, Hamlet's dead father appears not as a
   specter but as a kind of Danish dybbuk muscling his way out of
   Hamlet's very bowels.  This scene is an astonishing spectacle:
   Hamlet becomes a giant, unwilling ventroliquist's dummy as his
   father's voice is wrenched from his mouth in hair-raising
   sepulchral tones while Pryce's body lashes, heaves, and snaps in
   a fit of ectoplasmic epilepsy.  This is a true ghost, the anguished
   retroactive voice of an unfulfilled relationship.
 
Mike Neuman
Georgetown University
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David McFadden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 16:24:13 -0500
Subject:        Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
Re John Cox's student. His notion that Gertrude's inability to see the ghost
in the bedroom scene somehow indicates the Ghost wasn't really "real" is
easy to refute. Ghosts always come armed with supernatural powers, including
the power to become visible to x but not to y at will. Further, since the
Ghost has already in his "leave her to heaven" speech advised Hamlet to
treat Gertrude gently and sympathetically, it would follow that the Ghost
would prefer to exercise his will to remain invisible to his former Queen,
if only to spare her unnecessary grief.
 
Whether the Ghost in question is real or not is not the question as far as
Hamlet is concerned. His primary concern is whether the Ghost represents his
father or a devil come to torment him.
 
Anyway, Hamlet certainly is a ghost story, and it might also be pointed out
to the student that the ghost dwells in a metaphysical realm that is neither
real nor illusory. Along with UFOs, precognitive dreams, gods, angels,
devils, poltergeist phenomena and so on its objective reality can neither be
proved nor disproved--unless we're lucky enough to catch some Madame Blavatsky
type pulling the strings.
 
Maybe I just don't understand the question.
 
David W. McFadden
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann M. Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 93 20:51:15 EST
Subject: Q: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
Comment:        SHK 4.0758 Q: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
John Cox has suggested that the ghost in Hamlet may be an hallucination.
This is very possible, however, all the information that the ghost
imparts concerns the true nature of the former king's death.
I suppose one could argue that these were Hamlet's suspicions from
his subconscious coming to the surface, but the ghost imparts facts
that Hamlet was unaware of, namely, that his father was murdered and
the deed committed by his uncle.
 
Ann M. Cox
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Marriage in Shakespeare

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 791.  Sunday, 14 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Peter D. Junger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 93 17:21:14 EDT
        Subj:   Re: Shk 4.0776 Marriage to deceased wife's sister
 
(2)     From:   Martin Green <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 93 17:19:57 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0776 Re: Marriage in Shakespeare
 
(3)     From:   Al Cacicedo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 23:29:05 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re 4.0776, Re: SHK 4.0773  Marriage in Shakespeare
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter D. Junger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 93 17:21:14 EDT
Subject:        Re: Shk 4.0776 Marriage to deceased wife's sister
 
Doesn't the classic statement of social attitudes--at least those of the
governing classes--regarding marriage to one's deceased wife's sister
appear in Iolanthe rather than in Hamlet?
 
Peter D. Junger
Case Western Reserve University Law School, Cleveland, OH
Internet:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. -- Bitnet:  JUNGER@CWRU
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Green <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 93 17:19:57 -0400
Subject: 4.0776 Re: Marriage in Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0776 Re: Marriage in Shakespeare
 
>While one certainly wants to find clear explanations for events in
>Shakespeare's plays, is it really safe to assume that the connections we find
>so clear cut and obvious (such as Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon
>and Claudius' to Gertrude) were the first things that a member of the original
>audience brought to mind?  To play devil's advocate, let me offer an instance.
>In Shaw's _Major Barbara_ a key plot turn occurs when Cusins reveals that he is
>not legitimate because of his parents' questionable marriage:  "Their marriage
>is legal in Australia, but not in England.  My mother is my father's deceased
>wife's sister; and in this island I am consequently a foundling."  Now can we
>say that because Shaw is so very conscious of Shakespeare and his works
>(easily demonstrated ) that Shaw must have intended us to connect this moment
>to a parallel marriage in _Hamlet_, viz., that Hamlet's mother is his
>stepfather's deceased brother's wife?
 
This question vividly demonstrates exactly how significant to an understanding
of a writer's work are the events of the time in which he lived. _Major
Barbara_ was first produced in 1905. One of the major causes of the time was
the movement for the legalization in England of the marriage of a widower to
his deceased's wife sister; bills for this purpose were introduced in
Parliament from 1851 on, but the Act of Parliament legalizing such marriages in
England was not passed until 1907.  Australia had passed such a bill much
earlier. Shaw was probably not alluding to Shakespeare; he certainly was
alluding to contemporary issues of interest.
 
>I suppose that I may be one of the people you are puzzled about. Yes, you are
>quite right, were I looking for a source or explanation, I would begin with the
>literature of Shakespeare's time. In fact, I do begin there!
>
>My problem is more theoretical. When I write fiction, my imagination (no matter
>how culturally constructed that imagination is) mediates between reality as I
>construct it or perceive it (no matter how culturally constructed that
>perception is) and my fiction (no matter how, etc.). My imagination can distort
>my perception of reality a great deal. I can imagine a reality that I have
>never experienced. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "' Authenticity,' or the Lesson of
>Little Tree," NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW, 24 Nov. 1991, 1, 26ff., asserts: "No human
>culture is inaccessible to someone who makes the effort to understamd, to
>learn, to inhabit another world" (30). Gates's point is that we are not
>culture-bound, that the human imagination does wonderful things.
>
>In other words, is Hamlet's world really just a point by point projection of
>Will's world? Does Will's imagination mediate between the world of physical
>history and the world of fantasy? And, yes, I know that Will has to create that
>world with physical things: pen, paper, actors, a playhouse. But is that world
>in which Hamlet lives in the present tense the same as the world in which Will
>lived in the past tense? The Pope, for example,  doesn't exist in Hamlet's
>world.
 
Well, I don't know how a creative writer transforms the raw material of his
environment and times into a work of art (which often has nothing to do with
the author's environment and times), and this is something I don't attempt to
figure out - nor, I think, can anyone. My sole concern, in my research on
Shakespeare, has been to ascertain, to the extent that one can, just what were
the raw materials with which he worked, and just what were the facts of his
life, and my submissions to SHAKSPER have been precipitated, in part, by my
amazement at how little a matter of interest to so many SHAKSPERians appears to
have been the identification of the raw materials with which Shakespeare was
working: the personages, events, customs, literature, laws, discoveries, etc.
of his time.
 
I realize, sadly, that my approach to Shakespeare is hopelessly out of date,
for the most celebrated contemporary writers on Shakespeare in fact use
Shakespeare as a springboard to write (in often impenetrable prose), not about
the issues of his time, but about the issues of today.  Oh, well, . . .
 
Sincerely,
Martin Green
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Cacicedo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 23:29:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: SHK 4.0773  Marriage in Shakespeare
Comment:        Re 4.0776, Re: SHK 4.0773  Marriage in Shakespeare
 
The following comes under the heading, "Nothing good or bad, but thinking makes
it so."
 
"In other words, is Hamlet's world really just a point by point projection of
Will's world?" asks Bill Godshalk.  Surely not.  "The moment of transgression
is the key moment of practice," as Julia Kristeva says, and goes on to say that
that's the point at which enjoyment emerges and art is made possible.  But I
wonder whether the passage cited from Henry Louis Gates's article in the *New
York Times Book Review*, that "No human culture is inaccessible to someone who
makes the effort to understand, to learn, to inhabit another world," is the
central element of that transgressive moment.  I wonder in particular because
such a formulation seems to make Will always willing, if you will.  I also
wonder, therefore, whether that approach to imaginative freedom is not a bit
like Sidney's description of how centaurs come to be invented--on the whole, a
bit more mechanical than the zodiac- roving freedom he then affirms.  And so
I'm not sure what to make of Bill's second question, "Does Will's imagination
mediate between the world of physical history and the world of fantasy?"
Kristeva is definite that the point of rupture involves "the speaking subject
as a divided subject," which makes imagination not so much a "faculty" of
Will--that's how I take the idea of "mediation" between history and fantasy--as
a compromise formation, an obviously Freudian point.  Let me then wonder about
Bill's last question, another mapping one:  "is that world in which Hamlet
lives in the present tense the same as the world in which Will lived in the
past tense?"  I guess I'd have to ask, which Will, and which of his worlds?  At
any rate, I suspect that the history in which Will lived must be one of the
terms on which the compromise is built for the nicely circular reason that
that's the world in which Will lived.  That there is transgression, on the
other hand, says to me that the mapping is not and cannot be point by point.
By the way, I've been citing Kristeva from "The System and the Speaking
Subject," reproduced in Toril Moi's *The Kristeva Reader*.
 
Dividedly,
Al Cacicedo
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Hamlet (the father), Gertrude, Incest, Ted Hughes

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 789.  Sunday, 14 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Roy Flannagan <FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 November 93, 11:06:11 EST
        Subj:   Hamlet (the father) and Gertrude
 
(2)     From:   David McFadden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 16:39:02 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Incest
 
(3)     From:   William Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 23:25:47 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0775  Re: Gertrude, Incest, and Adultery
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB>
Date:           Saturday, 13 November 93, 11:06:11 EST
Subject:        Hamlet (the father) and Gertrude
 
Isn't the audience supposed to believe what Hamlet says about his father, that
he was an Hyperion as compared with the satyr Claudius? and isn't he a real man
(possibly not of a PC variety), according to Hamlet?  Aren't we judging him
outside the context of his son's testimony if we call him a prig?  If he's a
prig, Hamlet's another one. Putting down the Dane may involve re-judging the
text.  Even the "old mole" business may just reflect Hamlet's hysteria at the
time he says it.
 
Gertrude in turn may be a cow, in the modern English sense of the term (again
not PC), and she certainly is pliable.  But she is to some degree loyal to her
son.  Though she doesn't do exactly what Hamlet begs and cajoles her to do in
the closet scene, she may indeed drink the poisoned cup in order to prevent her
son's doing it (has anyone brought that up?).
 
Might someone (Steve, you busy?) compile the Q and Folio versions of the closet
scene and send them to SHAKSPER, for all to examine?
 
Roy Flannagan
 
[I'll give a shot early next week at compiling the Q1, Q2, and F1 closet scenes
unless someone else would want to.  --HMC]
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David McFadden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 16:39:02 -0500
Subject:        Re: Incest
 
Kimberly Nolan asks: "Speaking of inheritance--has anyone thought of Claudius
as a second son fraught with all the baggage that role carries?"
 
Hm, since it's often easy to forget that Hamlet Sr. and Claudius are
brothers, wouldn't it be terrific to put together a production in which the
Ghost and Claudius are played by the same actor! Does anyone know if this has
been done? The only Hamlets I've known (and I've loved 'em all) are Laurence
Olivier, Richard Burton, Derek Jacobi, Mel Gibson, Kenneth Branagh, and the
Canadians R. H. Thompson and Brent Carver. In none of these productions was
Claudius given a smidgen of a sympathetic portrayal, nor was anything made of
the kinship between Claudius and Hamlet Sr. other than what is in the hard
lines of the text.
 
By the way, Ted Hughes in his *Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being*
(1992, and unless my search mechanism is at fault, this is the first
reference to this dazzling-stimulating-complex book to appear on SHAKSPER)
makes a big thing of the Rival Brothers theme as it appears throughout the
plays--and the poems. It's frustrating that the book lacks an index, and my
rather too-quick reading left me feeling too overwhelmed for comfort. I'm
going to have to read it more attentively and slowly. Hughes seems to make
more of the Rival Brothers theme in other plays than he does in Hamlet. But
without breathing the word "incest" he does state that Hamlet's killing of
Claudius is a replay of Claudius' murder of Hamlet Sr. and therefore the
Prince will have to die in turn, for the same set of sins. He also avers that
the Prince's bond with Gertrude is the cause of his rejection of Ophelia,
that Hamlet and Laertes form a subset of the Rival Brothers theme, and that
Hamlet's black suit links him with the black skin of Othello, which leads
Hughes into a whole series of interconnecting themes. These themes come
together under the heading of the "Tragic Equation," which Hughes sees
"maturing" throughout the plays as they are written, ending with its
"dismantling" in The Tempest. His prime thesis is that Shakespeare must have
been a student of Giordano Bruno's, since Bruno was in England at the right
time, they had friends in common, and Hughes sees Bruno's ideas given major
treatment throughout the plays.
 
Has anyone else on-line read Hughes' book, and found it at all helpful in our
ever-growing appreciation of the plays?
 
I seem to have managed to talk myself into rereading the Hughes book starting
toot sweet.
 
There certainly are a lot of Rival Brothers in Shakespeare.
 
David W. McFadden
 
PS The Hughes book came out in paperback a week after I bought it hardcover.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 23:25:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0775  Re: Gertrude, Incest, and Adultery
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0775  Re: Gertrude, Incest, and Adultery
 
And, Milla, Henry also had Anne Boleyn charged with incest - with her brother.
As I recall the case, he confessed.
 
Bill Godshalk

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