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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: August ::
Re: *Shr.* & Domestic Violence; Antonio & Shylock
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0665.  Tuesday, 9 August 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Stefanie DuBose <GPDBLF@UNIVSCVM.BITNET>
        Date:   Monday, 08 Aug 94 12:33:07 EDT
        Subj:   OJ version of the Shrew
 
(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Aug 1994 21:51:43 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Antonio and Shylock
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stefanie DuBose <GPDBLF@UNIVSCVM.BITNET>
Date:           Monday, 08 Aug 94 12:33:07 EDT
Subject:        OJ version of the Shrew
 
In response to Kate Caldwell's question of OJ/Shrew:  yes, I have seen the
strong similarity between the psychological dynamics of domestic violence and
the undercurrents between Kate and Petrucchio in Shrew.  However, when I tried
to discuss this in my graduate level class, only 1 other student agreed with me
while my professor and the rest of the class (politely) snubbed my idea,
arguing the comic nature of the play. . . .However, humor can be a method of
distancing oneself from the horror of reality ("When was the last time you beat
your wife??" comes to mind), and the renaissance was not known for the overall
humane treatment of women.  In fact, the law of thumb which stated that a
husband could not beat his wife with a stick larger in diameter than his thumb
stems from the British (when, I don't know but I will check on it if anyone is
interested in this topic).  I work with battered women and have studied the
brainwashing tactics of domestic violence; the same tactics are more than
apparent to me in TS.  When I last read the play, I found many instances which
could easily be interpreted as the subtle development of domestic abuse. My
apologies for not being more specific; I need to look over the play to note the
various examples and I have not done this yet.
 
Regards,
Stefanie DuBose
(
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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 08 Aug 1994 21:51:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Antonio and Shylock
 
I like Chris Gordon's comment on MERCHANT, though it remains to be seen what
each of the old men cherish and lose. Shylock is dispensed with by the
Christians in Act IV, and Antonio is put in his place by Portia in Act V.
Shylock loses his religion, and a good bit of his capital; Antonio loses
Bassanio as well as his hold over Bassanio -- if I can separate the two.
 
And I suppose that Antonio and Shylock no longer have the bond of hatred that
seems to bind them earlier in the play. Since Shylock has had Christianity
forced on him, Antonio can no longer spit on him and kick him. Antonio loses
both his love object and his hate object. Or does he?
 
If Shakespeare had written a sequel to MERCHANT, would we find Antonio and
Shylock in business together? Perhaps they argue over whose name goes first on
their stationery. Do Antonio and Shylock finally realize that the passion that
has bound them for so long is actually love? Does Bassanio sneak from Belmont
to Venice to see Antonio? Does Portia really care?
 
Tune in next week for the further adventures of your favorite merchants.
 
Fantastically,
Bill Godshalk
 

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