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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: March ::
Re: A Few Good Men
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0285.  Wednesday, 30 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Kenneth S. Rothwell <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Mar 1994 10:36:02 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0279 Good Men
 
(2)     From:   David Bank <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Mar 94 19:35:01 BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0262 Re: A Few Good Men
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Mar 1994 10:36:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0279 Good Men
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0279 Good Men
 
Dear Ben Schneider, Good to hear from you about plain dealing, or anything
else. The sound bites of e-mail open us up to all kinds of questions, no doubt.
Cornwall, admittedly a villain and an unreliable witness, gives a shrewd
appraisal nevertheless of  the Plain Dealer syndrome when he says of Kent:
"This is some fellow/ Who, having been prais'd for bluntness, doth affect/ A
saucy roughness" (Lr. 2.2.95). Admittedly your plain dealer, sir, is a rock of
integrity, unless he is only pretending like Iago to be a plain dealer to get
the better of us. A consequence of being a Plain Dealer is a certain air of
moral superiority, of ethical priggishness. Insofar as that rubs off on Kent I
meant there is a shadow about him. I admit, though, that the shadow may not be
there for others. That's why I spoke of the plays as Rorschach tests. Cheers,
Ken Rothwell
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bank <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Mar 94 19:35:01 BST
Subject: 5.0262 Re: A Few Good Men
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0262 Re: A Few Good Men
 
I take it we're looking for characters who act as moral "positives" as it were
- not for characters who are merely "not bad" or who, because of their
essentially functional role, resist this kind of question.
 
I don't recall any suggestions from the Roman plays. Enobarbus must surely
qualify as a loyal Kent of Old Nile. Brutus too was loyal in his fashion, a
"respectable moral sensibility" to quote Sean Lawrence's phrase, "an honourable
man" to quote Mark Antony's, yet something's missing. Love for another. I think
that is what unites Kent, Edgar/Cordelia, Enobarbus, Horatio. Their moral
compounds have an affective element which "goodness" cannot wholly assimilate.
 
  David Bank
 

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