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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: *Tmp.*; Helena; Character
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0551.  Tuesday, 21 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   John Boni <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Jun 1994 12:21:15 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: Prospero, Miranda, *Tmp.*, and Character & Dogma
 
(2)     From:   John Cox <COX@HOPE.BITNET>
        Date:   Monday, 20 Jun 1994 14:15:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0543  Re: Iachimo; Prospero and Miranda; Titania
 
(3)     From:   Scott Crozier <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jun 1994 17:37:32 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0543  Re: Iachimo; Prospero and Miranda; Titania
 
(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
        Date:   Monday, 20 Jun 1994 18:47:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: Character and Dogma
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Boni <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Jun 1994 12:21:15 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Re: Prospero, Miranda, *Tmp.*, and Character & Dogma
 
Regarding Caliban's attempted rape of Miranda:
 
No one has yet suggested what has seemed a salient point to me--the concepts of
honor (most certainly) and rape (judging from his response) are foreign to
Caliban's nature.  "Honor' is an abstraction far from his realm of thought.
And in response to Prospero, Caliban uses the biological or natural--in having
sex with Miranda he would have "peopled this isle with Calibans."  (I choose
"having sex with " deliberately.) Caliban exists in a world different from that
of  his European master and mistress.  The language Shakespeare gives him:
'water with berries in it,' 'how to name the bigger light and the less,'
provides further evidence of this difference.
 
My point also is not to minimize rape (the correct caveat must be entered) but
to reflect conceptual differences inherent in among the (dare I say it?)
characters.
 
BTW, one odd directorial effect I witnessed a few years back had Miranda
advancing towards Caliban even as she stated that he is "A villain, sir,/I do
not love to look on."  Odd. Doubly odd, since the text suggests that Caliban is
not yet on stage.
 
John Boni

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Cox <COX@HOPE.BITNET>
Date:           Monday, 20 Jun 1994 14:15:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0543  Re: Iachimo; Prospero and Miranda; Titania
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0543  Re: Iachimo; Prospero and Miranda; Titania
 
Following Henry Luce's observation in the original Arden edition of *The
Tempest*, several people have pointed out a considerable age difference between
Caliban and Miranda:  she was three when she reached the island, at the same
time that Caliban was about twelve.  He must therefore have matured sexually
long before she did.  This raises the possibility that what Prospero reacted to
was not a rape per se but what he perceived to be a young man's sexual interest
in a child, and that that is why Prospero sees Caliban as a monster and a
devil.  I mention this possibility not to rule out others (such as incest or
cultural misunderstanding) but to rule this one in *as a possibility*. What
happened between Caliban and Miranda is simply unknowable, because the play
raises so many interesting possibilities without allowing any of them to be
definitive.  That's why it is such a rich play.
 
John Cox
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Crozier <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jun 1994 17:37:32 +1000
Subject: 5.0543  Re: Iachimo; Prospero and Miranda; Titania
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0543  Re: Iachimo; Prospero and Miranda; Titania
 
Having read the discussion prompted by Lonnie Durham with much  interest, I was
triggered into excitement about the comments that Lonnie made on June 18 about
disorder and rape.  I am up to my "ass's" ears in MND  at present and I
couldn't help thinking of Helena's plight in the forest in connection with what
has been discussed about about Miranda.  Like Miranda, Helena is motherless (as
are most of S's ladies) except that Terence Hawkes would like us to think
otherwise - but that is a different tack altogether - and like Miranda Helena
is subjected the unwanted affections of men.
 
Tantamount to rape, Helena is subjected to the psychological mawling of two
sexually dysfunctional (at the time) men and all this happens in the chaos of
the fantastic world of faery outside the bounds of the civilised city.  We know
the rest of the story: the lovers return to the world  they know, comforted in
the warmth of the security of the old world  of parents from which they had
run.
 
It seems that this theme runs through a number of the plays MND, Tempest,
Pericles, Cymbeline are a few.  Should we find New Historicist interest  in
this, or is this just me finding connections which have more to do with my
interest in MND than in Shakespeare's post-structuralist criticism.
 
Regards,
Scott Crozier
 
PS Terence Hawkes's essay "OR" on MND is worth the read if you haven't done so!
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Monday, 20 Jun 1994 18:47:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: Character and Dogma
 
I find David Schalkwyk's response to theory and character very interesting. But
I wonder if it is ever possible for humans to approach anything without the
"grammar" of human actions, etc. Our languages are so metaphorical that we
constantly introduce action, values, etc. into our discussions. (Notice I
didn't say "discourses.") Even if we discuss word usage and formal
relationships, wouldn't our metaphors betray us? In fact, David himself seems
to make this point later in his comments when he discusses "text." When the
author is excluded, the text itself takes on human characteristics. "The text
demands that we . . . . "  And, of course, the text makes no such demand; the
text does nothing on its own. Nor, indeed, does the author -- after she's dead.
 
The reader, the actor, the audience: they are the active ingredients. Until a
text comes in contact with one of these it's has no life.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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