Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: October ::
Re: Couplets; Goneril; Gertrude; Miranda; Contemp.
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0819. Monday, 17 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Ron Macdonald <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 16 Oct 1994 11:38:37 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Couplets (SHK 5.0813); Goneril's death (SHK 5.0814)
 
(2)     From:   Michael Best <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 17 Oct 94 17:07:49 PDT
        Subj:   Gertrude's Closet
 
(3)     From:   Louis Scheeder <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 16 Oct 1994 12:52:36 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0814 Miranda
 
(4)     From:   Nina Rulon-Miller <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 18 Oct 94 05:55:19 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0814  Miranda
 
(5)     From:   Bradley S. Berens <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sun, 16 Oct 1994 12:50:46 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   [Contemporary *Rom.*]
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Macdonald <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 16 Oct 1994 11:38:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0813); Goneril's death (SHK 5.0814)
Comment:        Couplets (SHK 5.0813); Goneril's death (SHK 5.0814)
 
Louis Scheeder raises an interesting point about couplets and the "celebration
of resolution," but he also reminds us, implicitly, of how very sensitive
contrasts such as prose/verse or blank verse/rhymed verse are to context.  For
me, anyway, couplets don't "indicate" (if that is the right word) resolution so
much as the smug, or edgy, or genuinely anguished attempt to produce the effect
of resolution, often in the teeth of a situation that is anything but resolved
or even resolvable.  I think, for instance of _Othello_ and the Duke's attempt
in I.iii to console Brabantio for the loss of his daughter: "When remedies are
past, the griefs are ended / By seeing the worst, which late on hopes
depended," etc.-- at considerable length.  Brabantio, who surely realizes that
his own interests are being huddled aside because of Othello's enormous
importance to the state, replies with some (to my ear, anyway) ironic couplets
of his own, e.g., "So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile, / We lose it not, so
long as we can smile."  Brabantio's conclusion might stand as reply to all
sententious consolers, at least in the tragedies: "But words are words, I never
yet did hear / That the bruis'd heart was pierced through the ear."
 
Which leads me, perhaps by way of the couplet-prone Edgar in _King Lear_, a
failed consoler if ever there was one, to the problem Al Cacicedo raises about
Goneril's death.  There may be a connection here with Malcolm's attempt in
_Macbeth_ to retrospectively construct Lady Macbeth's death as a suicide and
thus support the notion that "unnatural" evil feeds on and ultimately consumes
itself.  In either case, the interesting aspect for me is not how the deaths
actually came about but the urgent need of survivors to represent them as
having come about in a way that will produce the effect of satisfactory
resolution.  As the corpses of Goneril and Regan are produced, one can imagine
Albany preparing to speak an improving homily over them, secure, at least, in
the knowledge that Lear's daughters are well past contradicting him.  He is, of
course, forestalled by the appearance of another corpse in the arms of the man
who will shortly be yet another.  This final pair resists homilies.  "All
friends," says the well-meaning but sententious Albany, "shall taste / The
wages of their virtue, and all foes / The cup of their deservings."  The
corpses of Goneril and Regan might serve this line of moralizing nicely, but
then Albany's gaze is attracted to the other pair of bodies on stage: "O, see,
see!" Not much opportunity for the moralizer here.  No wonder Dr. Johnson
couldn't bear it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Best <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 17 Oct 94 17:07:49 PDT
Subject:        Gertrude's Closet
 
Recent comments on Gertrude's un-bedroom have been salutary, but what exactly a
closet was is a bit less clear. Not just a place for privacy, devotion etc. if
we look at the 1608 *A Closet for Ladies and Gentlemen*, and the later *The
Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight, Opened* (1669). Both books (and others like
them) offer various kinds of recipes (for cookery, perfumes, medicine, even
what were probably seen to be aphrodisiacs), using techniques of infusion and
distillation. There are contemporary engravings of women in what might be their
closets, engaged in various activities of this kind. I don't recall any lines
that suggest that Gertrude spent time sharpening Claudius' appetite, but
Helena, Lady Macbeth and the Queen in Cymbeline are familiar with the arts of
medicine, white or black.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Scheeder <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 16 Oct 1994 12:52:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0814 Miranda
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0814 Miranda
 
Re: the Miranda-Ferdinand scene.  If the students pay close attention to the
prop specified in the text - i.e. the pile of logs that Ferdinand should be
carrying - they might find a pretty good comic obstacle and be able to avoid a
treacly reading of the scene.
 
Louis Scheeder
The Classical Studio
Tisch School of the Arts/NYU
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nina Rulon-Miller <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 18 Oct 94 05:55:19 EDT
Subject: 5.0814  Miranda
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0814  Miranda
 
In reply to David Peck's question on Miranda and the log scene: An interesting
approach is to look at Prospero as schoolmaster, teacher of Miranda, Caliban,
and,once he comes on the scene, Ferdinand. Although he has taught her many
things, including how to play chess, to disparage women, and to abhor "Other-
ness," he has not taught her how to act like a lady. No well brought up lady
would dream of carrying logs, clearly man's work. Actually, slaves' work, of
course - Ferdinand shouldn't be carrying logs around either, but he has no
choice at the moment.
 
These ideas are not entirely my own - did a long study of _Tempest_ several
years ago. If you're interested I could send sources another time.
cheers - Nina Rulon-Miller
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bradley S. Berens <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sun, 16 Oct 1994 12:50:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        [Contemporary *Rom.*]
 
Regarding the transcription of the NPR article on the Israeli/Palestinian ROMEO
AND JULIET, it should be sent this week.
 
Regards,
Bradley S. Berens
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.