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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: April ::
Re: Plain Dealers; Friar Lawrence; Limericks; Ophelia
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0329.  Monday, 11 April 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
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        Date:   Sunday, 10 Apr 1994 10:21:09 -0500
        Subj:   plain dealers
 
(2)     From:   Herbert Donow <
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        Date:   Sunday, 10 Apr 94 11:54:47 CST
        Subj:   Query on Friar Lawrence
 
(3)     From:   Pat Buckridge <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Apr 1994 10:40:10 +1000 (EST)
        Subj:   Anti-Oxonian Limericks
 
(4)     From:   Karla Walters <KWALTERS@UNMB.BITNET>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Apr 1994 21:14 MST
        Subj:   Ophelia's Contraceptive
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
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Date:           Sunday, 10 Apr 1994 10:21:09 -0500
Subject:        plain dealers
 
A wonderful colleague of mine who's been lurking on the SEC and enjoying the
interchanges pointed out a relevant speech from *Much Ado* on the topic of
plain dealing/dealers: in 1.3, Don John proclaims, "In this, though I cannot be
said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I am a
plain-dealing villain." Plain dealing clearly can be a tool for people of all
sorts: good, bad, and all muddled like most of us. --Chris Gordon, University
of Minnesota
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Herbert Donow <
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Date:           Sunday, 10 Apr 94 11:54:47 CST
Subject:        Query on Friar Lawrence
 
Michael Dotson asked about Friar Lawrence in II.iii. The speech gives us a
curious revelation into the way his mind works, preparing us for his very bad
ideas (assisting in an unsanctioned marriage and a trick suicide). When he
observes, correctly, how good things in nature can, when misused, be bad, and
how even the most vile of things can serve some useful function, he makes the
illogical leap to  "Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,/And vice
sometime by action dignified." To jump from speaking of things appearing
virtuous, to virtue itself, leads him into an absolute form of error, tipping
us off as to the kind of problems he will eventually lead himself and others.
Herbert Donow   Southern Illinois University
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Buckridge <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Apr 1994 10:40:10 +1000 (EST)
Subject:        Anti-Oxonian Limericks
 
John Cox's revelation of the source of the 'limerick cycle' was interesting.
David Bevington, for whose work I have always had great respect, is one of the
relatively few Shakespearean scholars whose work requires him to maintain an
anti-oxfordian (or 'oxonian' if we must) stance.  In his early work, (*From
Mankind to Marlowe*) he confronted, more directly than most, the yawning chasm
that separates the popular drama of the mid 16th century from that of the
Shakespeare-dominated late 16th, and 'bridged' it in a way that, directly or
indirectly, has given performance criticism aid and comfort ever since.  The
fact that his 'bridge' ignores (or, by implication, consigns to the realm of
the inexplicable) so many dimensions of Shakespeare's (and Marlowe's and Kyd's)
dramatic writing *other* than structure (e.g. lexical richness and rhetorical
complexity) is overlooked in the rush to affirm that yes, we *can* somehow
derive Shakespeare's work from the popular tradition.
 
Anyway, my point is that Bevington has an interest in ridiculing the actually
very powerful Oxford claim.  Others do not, and it would be a pity if they were
prevented from having an open-minded look at the evidence by a political
strategy that might be mistaken for mere pleasantry.
 
Patrick Buckridge.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karla Walters <KWALTERS@UNMB.BITNET>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Apr 1994 21:14 MST
Subject:        Ophelia's Contraceptive
 
Recently some discussion occurred on this list about Ophelia's rue having
contraceptive or abortive effects. Just last week in writing an answer to an
exam question a student interpreted the scene in which Laertes leaps into
Ophelia's tomb and cries, "Now pile your dust upon the quick and the dead":
The student wrote, "He uses quick to mean both "living" or "alive" and also "to
be with child," which leads us to believe that Ophelia was pregnant with
Hamlet's child at the time of her death."
 
Honestly, I never discussed this scene with my class in these terms.  Has
anyone seen this interpretation of Laertes' speech as 'evidence' that Ophelia
was pregnant?
 
        Karla Walters
        Univ. of New Mexico
        
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