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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: February ::
Re: Hubris; Fortinbras; Welsh; Multimedia Project
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0075.  Sunday, 5 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   David Wilson-Okamura <
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        Date:   Saturday, 4 Feb 95 10:36:01 CST
        Subj:   HUBRIS and HAMLET
 
(2)     From:   David Glassco <
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        Date:   Saturday, 04 Feb 1995 17:01:57 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0070  Re: Fortinbras at Winnipeg
 
(3)     From:   Bob Gingher <
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        Date:   Sunday, 5 Feb 1995 05:42:32 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0066 Re: Mrs. Mortimer's Welsh
 
(4)     From:   Bob Gingher <
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        Date:   Sunday, 5 Feb 1995 05:55:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0071 Multimedia Shakespeare Project
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wilson-Okamura <
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Date:           Saturday, 4 Feb 95 10:36:01 CST
Subject:        HUBRIS and HAMLET
 
My knowledge of Greek is rudimentary, but I have it on good authority (viz., my
wife) that _hubris_ is not to be confused with "intellectual pride," much less
some "tragic flaw."  Its primary meaning is suggested, rather, by the verbal
form _hubrizdo_, which L.S.J. defines thus: "to wax wanton, run riot, Lat.
_lascivire_, opp. to _sophronein_ to practice moderation; of over-fed horses,
to neigh, snort, prance, etc.; of plants, to run riot, grow over-rank.  2. with
regard to others, to treat despitefully, do despite to, to outrage, insult,
affront, ill-treat; in Att. more commonly, _hubrizdein eis tina_ to deal
wantonly, commit outrages towards one; _hubrizdein hubries_ to commit outrages;
so, _hubrizdein adikemata_ to do wanton wrongs. -> at Athens to do one a
personal outrage, to beat and insult, assault . . ."
 
Now it is not hard to see from this how _hubris_ came to be translated as
"overweening pride" and the like.  But in the case of Oedipus, it seems obvious
to me that we can take the word in a far simpler sense: Oedipus assaulted his
father, the king of Thebes.  This constitutes a double outrage, in that Laius
is his superior both by reason of paternity and civil rank. THAT is why Oedipus
is called "hubristic": not because he strove against his Fate, but because he
killed a kinsman who was also his superior.
 
Wherefore (I would suggest) we ought not to speak of Oedipus's pride so much as
his "unkindness," in the old sense of the word: in that sense, his crime is
like that of Claudius in Shakespeare's _Hamlet_--not "murther," perhaps, nor
even "foul," since he struck in self-defense--but "unnatural," an affront to
kinship and to kingship; as for the incest, it is condemned in both plays on
similar grounds.  The difference is, that Oedipus is not a "villain," since he
commits these unnatural acts unwittingly, whereas Claudius knowingly persists
in them (v. Claudius' attempts at prayer, _Hamlet_ III iii).
 
                                                Yours faithfully,
                                                David Wilson-Okamura
                                                
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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Glassco <
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Date:           Saturday, 04 Feb 1995 17:01:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0070  Re: Fortinbras at Winnipeg
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0070  Re: Fortinbras at Winnipeg
 
I wonder if Chris Gordon would elaborate on exactly why or how Hamlet's
soliloquay "How all occasions do inform against me..." was made so powerful in
the production she's discussing. I have always been bemused by the fact that
the occasion Hamlet has just experienced (Fortinbras going off to a pointless
war) is precisely the sort of occasion that might lead to a recognition of the
need for further thought _before_ action, rather than encouraging anything
precipitous.
 
David Glassco
Trent University
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Gingher <
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Date:           Sunday, 5 Feb 1995 05:42:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0066 Re: Mrs. Mortimer's Welsh
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0066 Re: Mrs. Mortimer's Welsh
 
Of interest here also is the (linguistic) Outsider, the role of the artist and
visionary as outcast, able to straddle two worlds like Kierkegaard's Knight of
Faith and thus write meaningfully in the way Yeats means when he notes
"conflict is consciousness." The Anglo-Irish tradition and explosion of
American "Southern fiction" testify to the importance of "fighting the
Englishing" (or any other homogenizing ruination) of nativ language, roots.
Writers "write what they know," always better than looking with one eye over
the shoulder back at the metropolis...
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Gingher <
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Date:           Sunday, 5 Feb 1995 05:55:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0071 Multimedia Shakespeare Project
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0071 Multimedia Shakespeare Project
 
I'm interested in the "video clip" portion of your announcement and in your
distinguishing between independent learners and hand-holders when involved with
classes of "the subscribed." I have over a hundred students on-line in various
classes now and find the independent learners are having a ball, the
hangers-back aren't.
 
P.S. Are you the Leslie Harris w/whom I went to grad school?
 
--bob gingher
 

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