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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: April ::
Re: Plain Dealing; *Mac.* Anecdotes; The Mousetrap
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0335.  Wednesday, 13 April 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Ben Schneider <SCHNEIDB@LAWRENCE.BITNET>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Apr 1994 12:01:40 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   plain dealing
 
(2)     From:   Ron Moyers <
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 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Apr 1994 15:37:38 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   *Mac.* Anecdotes
 
(3)     From:   William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Apr 1994 22:10:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0330  Re: Plain Dealing; Ophelia
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Schneider <SCHNEIDB@LAWRENCE.BITNET>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Apr 1994 12:01:40 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        plain dealing
 
Dear Christine Gordon:
 
When you say, speaking of Don John in MAN, that plain dealing "is a tool for
people of all sorts, good bad, and all muddled like most of us," do you mean to
suggest that PDing is not a totally unambiguous virtue?
 
Granted that villains may be plain dealers, and several of Shakespeare's
villains are plain dealers in the same sense as Don John (Iago, Richard III,
Edmund in Lear), does it follow that plain dealing itself is villainous?  For
example compare Goneril&Reagan with Edmund.  The double-dealing sisters tell
themselves that what they are doing is for Lear's own good; plain dealing
Edmund has no such illusions.  He's unambiguously out for himself.
 
Edmund says to himself, if I'm a bastard in birth why not be a "bastard" in
behavior?  "Nature, be thou my Goddess."  He goes about his evil-doing "with
direct eyes" like the un-Hollow Men in Eliot's poem.  He is a man of a superior
intelligence.  Watch him characterize his shilly-shallying father:
 
"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune
-- often the surfeits of our own behavior -- we make guilty of our disasters
the sun, the moon, and stars, as if we were villains on necessity, fools by
heavenly compulsion." (1.2.118-22)
 
No one has a better grasp of what's rotten in England. Isn't it better to be a
clear-eyed villain than a hypocritical rationalizing, self-approving
pragmatist?
 
My point is that Plain-dealing is a good thing even when it's an attribute of
villains.
 
Yours ever,
BEN SCHNEIDER

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Moyers <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Apr 1994 15:37:38 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        *Mac.* Anecdotes
 
I seem to recall that the spring 1988, Broadway-bound production of *Mac.*
which starred Glenda Jackson and Christopher Plummer was sufficiently troubled
to exhaust the play's ill luck for some time to come.  I believe a Sunday
NYTimes, ca. March-April '88, has an article detailing the productions's
out-of-town woes--e.g., several directors, various sets, a multitude of
Macduffs, etc.--Ron Moyer, Theatre, Univ. of South Dakota
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Apr 1994 22:10:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0330  Re: Plain Dealing; Ophelia
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0330  Re: Plain Dealing; Ophelia
 
Rick Jones is absolutely right about Hamlet's "mousetrap." He should have had
the king's brother kill the king. Of course, even this wouldn't have proven
that Claudius was/is guilty. Claudius might point out that he took the play as
an insulting accusation that he killed his brother Hamlet.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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