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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Disney; Feminist Crit.; Adriana's Speech
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0583.  Wednesday, 29 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   William Proctor Williams <TB0WPW1@NIU.BITNET>
        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jun 94 13:34 CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0577  Re: Shakespeare and Disney
 
(2)     From:   Sarah Werner <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jun 1994 22:56:06 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: Feminist Performance Criticism
 
(3)     From:   John Senczuk <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jun 1994 14:32:50 +1100
        Subj:   RE: ADRIANA's speech
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <TB0WPW1@NIU.BITNET>
Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jun 94 13:34 CDT
Subject: 5.0577  Re: Shakespeare and Disney
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0577  Re: Shakespeare and Disney
 
Well, maybe I'm wrong.  I have been known to be in the past. I didn't mean to
trivialize the list and I apologize to those who may think I have.  On the
various questions, points, positions raised perhaps the only answer is to just
wait and see.  +TLK+ is probably no worse than +Shakespeare Boiled Down+,
issued by the New Home Sewing Machine Co. of Chicago, but it is certainly no
better.
 
I suppose my concern, some would say worry, is whether the item of popular
culture leads, eventually, to a better experience of culture (whatever that may
be, some would say) or whether it acts to lower (I know these are culturally
loaded terms but I can think of no others right now) that experience.
 
Will all those who think that every day and every way we are getting better and
better please raise their hands and or paws?  Thank you very much.  You will be
happy to learn that for a number of days I will be away from my terminal by
which time we may have move on to another subject.
 
William Proctor Williams
Northern Illinois University
TB0WPW1@NIU.BITNET
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sarah Werner <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jun 1994 22:56:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: Feminist Performance Criticism
 
For Mary Ellen Zurko:
 
The best place to start with feminist performance criticism of Shakespeare is
Lorraine Helms' "Playing the Woman's Part: Feminist Criticism and Shakespearean
Performance" _Theatre Journal_ 41 (1989): 190-200; also try looking at work by
Barbara Hodgdon and Ellen O'Brien.  For non-Shakespearean performance
criticism, you can't beat Elin Diamond's "Brechtian Theory / Feminist Theory:
Toward a Gestic Feminist Criticism" _TDR_ 32 (1988): 82-94.
 
Some other things to look at:
Rhonda Blair "Shakespeare and the Feminist Actor" _Women and Performance_
2:2 (1985): 18-26.
Gay Gibson Cima's _Performing Women: Female Characters, Male Playwrights,
and the Modern Stage_ (Cornell 1993) has a good general introduction.
Lizbeth Goodman's _Contemporary Feminist THeatres_ (Routledge 1993) is not
about SHakespeare, but is full of details about British feminist theater.
For other non-Shakespearean fem. perf. criticism, Lynda Hart & Peggy
Phelan's _Acting Out_ (Michigan 1993) is a good recent anthology.
And back to Shakespeare, look at Carol Rutter's _Clamorous Voices_ for
what some RSC actors have to say about playing Shakespeare's female
characters.
 
have fun--
 
Sarah Werner
University of Pennsylvania
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Senczuk <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jun 1994 14:32:50 +1100
Subject:        RE: ADRIANA's speech
 
My thanks to both William Godshak and Harry Hill for their contribution to my
understanding of Adriana's lines (2.1.103-116) and I enclose the following as
my resolutions in performance.
 
Adrian's lines are prompted by an insecure, forced marriage:
 
          ADRIANA
          May it please your grace, Antipholus my husband,
          Whom I made lord of me and all I had,
          At your important letters...(5.1.136)
 
cf        ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
          Justice, sweet prince, against that woman there!
          She whom thou gavest to me to be my wife ... (5.1.190)
 
which is deteriating.  She has just been informed that Antipholus knows
 
          ... no house, no wife, no mistress
 
and at 2.1.86 speculates at to the reason for the breakdown concluding, vainly,
that Antipholus is
 
          ... the ground
          Of my defeatures.  My decayed fair
          A sunny look of his would soon repair...
 
She questions, and is insecure about, her own beauty (how things look, the
images are visual and to do with seeing) which fuels the jealousy.
 
In paranoia, she asks of herself the question
 
          I know his eye doth homage otherwhere,
          Or else, what lets it but he would be here?
 
cf         Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects
 
She concludes
 
          Since that my beauty cannot please his eye,
          I'll weep (what's left away) and weeping die.
 
cf        I am not Adriana, nor thy wife...
          The time was once when thou unurg'd wouldst vow ...
          That never object pleasing in thine eye,
          That never touch well welcome to thy hand...
          Unless I spake, or look'd, or touch'd, or carv'd to thee.
 
The intervening lines are her arguments for and against her rhetorial question.
 
                      Sister, you know he promis'd me a chain,
                      Would that alone, a toy he would detain,
                      So he would keep fair quarter with his bed:
                      I see the jewel best enamelled
                      Will lose his beauty.
 
Adriana was promised a chain by Antipholus (which we discover has been ordered
but not delivered) and here she decides that she would prefer not to have the
chain/jewel, (a shrewd wife) as even the best will tarnish,if Antipholus would
only, as she says directly too him later,
 
                      Keep then fair league and truce with thy true bed,
                      I live unstained, thou undishonoured.
 
(I can't accept that *the jewel* is or is directly being compared to
Antipholus. It is Antipholus/husband, versus the chain/jewel/gold)
 
1. He can keep the chain if he pays appropriate attention to his marriage.
 
                      Yet the gold bides still
                      That others touch, and often touching will,
 
2. On the other hand, should she take the chain  (as gold will, although
tarnish, endure; it will even endure persistant handling) it at least will,
perhaps, be more lasting token.
 
                      Where gold and no man that hath a name,
                      By falsehood and corruption doth it shame
 
2a. If she takes the chain (where gold has these enduring properties) it
follows that no husband, who has a reputation for being an adulterer, will ever
be able to take it away from her whereas (the very powerful and currently
relevant)
                      I am possess'd with an adulterate blot,
                      My blood is mingled with the crime of lust:
                      For if we two be one, and thou play false,
                      I do digest the poison of they flesh,
                      Being strumpeted by thy contagion (2.2.140)
 
I used the Folio punctuation.
 
This simple decision making process was accessable in performance, contibuting
much to the nature of Adriana's consistantly selfish and vain personality.  It
also allowed the next two scenes (2.2 and 3.1 both typified by each Antipholus
having the first lines which picks up both sides of Adriana's *gold* argument)
to logically build on and explore each other.
 
cf                   ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE
                     The gold I gave to Dromio is laid up
                     Safe at the Centaur   (2.2)
                     ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS
                     Good Signior Angelo, you must excuse us all,
                     My wife is shrewish when I keep not hours;
                     Say that I linger'd with you at your shop
                     To see the making of her carcanet,
                     And that to-morrow you will bring it home. (3.1)
 
Each scene pursues Adriana's black and white argument
 
cf                   BALTHAZAR
                     Have patience, sir, O let it not be so,
                     Herein you war against your reputation,
                     And draw within the compass of suspect
                     Th'unviolated honour of your wife.  (3.1.85)
 
3.2, of course, abruptly extends and repeats the cycle.
 
The Prince of Morocco's casket choice is much in mind, as is the constant
reference to gold in the early plays and in the Elizabethan period generally.
 
John Senczuk
University of Wollongong
 

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