Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: March ::
Re: Macbeth and Leontes; P. Stewart; RTC's *Rom.*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0253.  Sunday, 20 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Lonnie J Durham <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 16:41:59 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Psycho Macbeth, Leontes, etc.
 
(2)     From:   James Schaefer <SCHAEFEJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 18:05:58 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0247  P. Stewart
 
(3)     From:   Harry Hill <HILHAR@CONU2.BITNET>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Mar 1994 09:01:48 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0251  Renaissance Theatre Company's *Rom.*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lonnie J Durham <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 16:41:59 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Psycho Macbeth, Leontes, etc.
 
I was tempted to respond to BG's parting remarks on Macbeth as a serial killer
not with *BULLSEYE* as someone else did, but with a word very near that, but
the fact is, we all work in different ways to give our readings the weight and
dignity that we feel such a revered author deserves.  In that respect, W.S. is
something of a mandala.
 
Here's my own rationale, though, for resisting these pathological descriptions
of motive:  I find these interpretations tainted not only with Protestant
literalism, but with modernist Literary Realist assumptions.  Here--in Macbeth
and Leontes--we have two characters who act in strict accordance with
well-known symptoms brought on by disordered imaginations brought on by
what?--chemical imbalance?, infantile sexual abuse?  Whatever it is, it is an
inert datum.  It has no meaning beyond itself, except that such accidents
happen randomly in nature all the time.  Some readers are thrilled by such
correspondences between fiction and REAL LIFE because of a misplaced reverence
for what they perceive as experiential truth.  The tendency, though, is toward
fundamentalist reduction: the Bible is great because it is historical FACT.
 
But the interpretive habits of SH. and his contemporaries were still fully
allegorical.  Yes, Leontes is full of jealousy and sexual nausea just as Hamlet
is, and for similar reasons: the women central to their lives are engines of
TIME, of generation, birth and death, as against the timeless, non-heterosexual
paradise of boyhood described by Polixenes before he and his friend were drawn
into the fallen world by the women who were to become their wives.  Of course
it is sick to want to stop time (or even to make it run backward), but that is
a sickness we all share, especially in the tragic mode, where the rage to
overcome the past is represented as more guilty than the rage to preserve it.
 
All I'm saying, I guess, is that I'm for any interpretation that can lead
elegantly and productively into the great traditional topoi.  If you can do
that with pathology, fine.  But if it  is simply in the name of realist
causality or interpretive fundamentalism, hoh-hum.
 
Cheers, everybody. Lonnie Durham 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <SCHAEFEJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 18:05:58 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0247  P. Stewart
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0247  P. Stewart
 
TO:  Elizabeth Schmitt
SUBJECT:  Gasping -- TWICE!
 
So here we've been having a trans-world conversation about textual ambiguity --
in the abstract -- when a real-world example tripped up many of us --
completely unawares!
 
I hope someone out there is a friend of a friend of Patrick Stewart, and can
pass this story along!
 
Jim Schaefer

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
(202) 687-4478
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <HILHAR@CONU2.BITNET>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Mar 1994 09:01:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0251  Renaissance Theatre Company's *Rom.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0251  Renaissance Theatre Company's *Rom.*
 
"All Star Casts" do not productions make, I'm afraid. They work best in music,
in chamber ensembles. The key word, of course, is that: ensemble. It worked
with Olivier's Granada LEAR where so many well-known faces brought their own
backgrounds to the roles which of course became an ineluctable part of OUR
interpretation. The OLD MAN, for instance, was the celebrated Esmond
Knight--for a while president of British Actors' Equity and the only totally
blind actor to be a success.
 
But what do we want? Jacobi playing one of the dazzling parts in his
mid-fifties? So? These plays are not mirror-naturalism. At least Jacobi is
capable (as you rightly point out) of uttering the lines with clarity and
intelligent emphasis and focus, thereby creating a Mercutio out of the
playwright's score he is working from.
 
But I do hope the star system never dies. The performers, as I said, bring what
we know of themselves to the parts: Olivier's Lear was to a certain extent
Olivier, thus providing us with what Arthur Koestler described as the perfect
theatrical response. ("The Act of Creation", 1963?)
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.