1995

Re: Characters; *MV* Ongoing Discussion

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0059.  Monday, 30 January, 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Thomas Berger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 28 Jan 95 13:58:31 EST
        Subj:   Migrating Characters
 
(2)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 28 Jan 1995 21:06:48 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0055  Re: *MV*: Shylock and Moonlight Bank Scene
 
(3)     From:   Melissa Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 28 Jan 1995 23:14:32 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0046 Re: *MV*: Act Five
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Berger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 28 Jan 95 13:58:31 EST
Subject:        Migrating Characters
 
For Mr. Steggle?  I would have him consult AN INDEX OF CHARCTERS IN ENGLISH
PRINTED DRAMA TO THE RESTORATION, by Thomas L. Berger and William C. Bradford
(Englewood CO:  Microcard Editons, 1975) and that might be of some help to him
on migrating characters.  He will note that Shakespeare's characters very
rarely, if ever, migrate. I'm making you edit too hard.  Thanks, Tom Berger
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 28 Jan 1995 21:06:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0055  Re: *MV*: Shylock and Moonlight Bank Scene
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0055  Re: *MV*: Shylock and Moonlight Bank Scene
 
> The trouble with all of these nasty renditions of the moonlight bank scene is
> that they ignore the way it ends.  Does one have to repeat that these aren't
> real people but characters in a play?  Jessica admits, as the scene closes,
> that she is sad, because music always makes her so.  Lorenzo tells her, that's
> because she really appreciates it, her "spirits are attentive."  A person who
> doesn't like music, he continues, is "fit for treasons, stratagems, and
> spoils."  Shylock doesn't like music.  Belmont is full of music.  In context,
> then, Jessica proves in this scene that, far from being an outcast, she is a
> well-qualified member of Belmont society, and that, I would say, is the
> function of the scene.  All these nasty renditions of act V only prove once
> more that a director can make a play say anything he wants it to, and the
> author be damned.  See Lawrence Danson, _The Harmony of MV_, and my article in
> _Restoration_, aforementioned.
>
> Yours ever,
> BEN SCHNEIDER
>
What do you make of Portia's statement shortly thereafter that she has a "bad
voice"?  If being musical is the mark of being at home in Belmont, shouldn't
Portia have a good voice?
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 28 Jan 1995 23:14:32 +0200
Subject: 6.0046 Re: *MV*: Act Five
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0046 Re: *MV*: Act Five
 
>Regarding the breakdown of Lorenzo and Jessica's marriage: You can, I suppose,
>play any dialogue as an argument if you shout and stamp your feet, but the text
>really doesn't seem to support this course.
>
I experienced a similar problem with Henry IV, Part 1 some years ago.  I was
cast as Lady Mortimer.  The director wanted me to play the scene as though I
hated Mortimer and all my lines were basically "Go away, you Seisnig
colonialist pig."  Since the audience didn't speak Welsh, I had to pantomime
extreme anger and disgust, which made nonsense of the lyrical lines addressed
to Lady Mortimer. Maybe it isn't fashionable to say so, but some Shakespeare
plays really feel--when you play them--as though they are constructed a cretain
way and you play against it at your own risk. My gut suspicion about the Henry
IV scene is that the real moral is "For a truly affectionate relationship,
marry someone whose language you don't speak.  It takes language to build a
fight."
 
Melissa Aaron

Re: Greek (Athenian) Tragedy, esp. Oedipus

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0058.  Monday, 30 January, 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Grace Tiffany <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 28 Jan 1995 18:43:53 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0031  Re: Hamartia
 
(2)     From:   E. L. Epstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 29 Jan 1995 00:15:57 EDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0056  Greek Tragedy
 
(3)     From:   Victor Gallerano <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 29 Jan 1995 15:28:51 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0056 Greek Tragedy
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Grace Tiffany <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 28 Jan 1995 18:43:53 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 6.0031  Re: Hamartia; Keanu's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0031  Re: Hamartia; Keanu's Hamlet
 
Especially to Piers Lewis:  I've been teaching the Oedipus Cycle this week and,
with my students, pondering your questions about what moral lesson the plays
contain for us.  I say "plays" because while Oedipus at Colonus was not
initially performed immediately after Oedipus at Rex, it's an indispensable
part of the Oedipus myth, one with which Sophocles' audience was undoubtedly
familiar, and a final phase of the story to which the closing ode of Oedipus
Rex clearly points us ("Count no man happy until he is dead" ultimately
culminates in "his ending was wonderful, if mortal's ever was").
 
It seems clear to me that the Oedipus cycle, and even Oedipus Rex in isolation,
contains a profound moral lesson, though the lesson is not the simplistic and
wrong-headed one so often taught to high-school students and college freshmen,
i.e., that Oedipus deserves to be a parricide and commiter of incest for
"disobeying" some divine decree (he doesn't disobey, for one thing; there's no
decree, but a prophecy), and this judgment makes no sense as any high school
student can tell because if he had done his best intentionally to fulfill the
prophecy he would have ended up a parricide and committer of incest anyway,
which are precisely the things he curses himself for at the end of the play.
The moral (as opposed to moralistic) lesson of Oedipus Rex, which is enhanced,
deepened, and clarified by the profoundly moving Oedipus at Colonus, lies more
in the area of the teaching of what true hubris is (a lesson elaborated on by
the choral odes): i.e., the wrong-headed and prideful assumption that one is in
utter control of one's fate, that one's personal intellect is sufficient to
supply all the answers to the mystery of life, and that one may in fact
function as God in one's own universe, mistreating and slighting those whose
perspectives don't fit one's own paradigm (note Oedipus's short-sighted
treatment of Tiresias's words).  It seems to me that Oedipus is just BEGINNING
to learn the lesson of openness at the end of Oedipus Rex, beginning to learn
to listen to someone else, to begin on a pathway toward humility, to understand
that his own mind and being are not the central fact of the universe, but he
still has a long way to go as he begins his pain and exile.  For example, the
extended pathos in which he blames and  indicts himself for committing incest
seems a function of his initial hubris, and not an example of humility at all
("How could I, the wisest and best of men, have done this?  MOI?")  He doesn't
begin to reproach himself for impiety, doubt, and skepticism -- the things
whcih the choral odes tell us are really at moral issue in the play. In Oedipus
at Colonus, while Oedipus is not exactly sweetness and light -- that prideful
nature dies hard -- he is MUCH more open and humble, questioning, supplicating,
depending on others for help rather than trying to solve it all by himself,
and, importantly I think, he's reached the point where he can let his former
crimes go by acknowledging that he was following a track laid by god in
performing them -- that he wasn't aware that he was committing incest when he
did it.  Rather than an evasion of responsibility, this seems to be a real
evidence of spiritual growth -- advancing to the point of realizing that he
isn't the omniscient power saving the universe, but a player in a game which is
much larger than he can possibly realize.  And when he reaches that point, he
is fit to be called blessed.
 
This is a message which Sophocles was clearly inspired by toward the end of his
life; the great "Philoctetes," written around the same time as "OC," also
dramatizes the paradoxical blessing available in the giving up of self to a
greater plan, letting go of control, agreeing to be part of something larger
even when you can't CONTROL (through intellect or in any other way) the larger
plan, and the enlargement of self that's available through that choice (Act 5
of Hamlet also comes to mind in this context).  Anyway, that's how the plays
work for me and that's how I teach them.  -- Grace Tiffany at U. of New Orleans
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. L. Epstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 29 Jan 1995 00:15:57 EDT
Subject: 6.0056  Greek Tragedy
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0056  Greek Tragedy
 
Oedipus, the confused old fellow, has to end up in good old Colonus, not by
coincidence the hometown of the author. You can trust Athens suburbs to solve
barbaric problems. ELEpstein
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Victor Gallerano <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 29 Jan 1995 15:28:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0056 Greek Tragedy
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0056 Greek Tragedy
 
Steve Urkowitz,
 
I'm not sure I follow you.  The action at Colonus is both the last of Oedipus
the character and the last indication of anything Sophocles has to say about
the meaning or importance of the Theban story for Athens. Unless we are going
to commit some species of social science theorizing about Athenian attitudes
toward Thebes, we have to take what's given in that play.
 
On the issue of what Thebes means to Athens in Sophocles' texts, what we get in
the action at Colonus carries greater weight than the action presented in the
Antigone for two reasons:
 
First, the Chorus from the Antigone are Theban rather than Athenian and second,
although the action of the Antigone is supposed to occur after the action at
Colonus, the Oedipus at Colonus was written and performed some sixty-odd years
later than the Antigone.  Is it modern condescension to think that Sophocles'
choices in the matter are not meaningless?  Or to think that his last word on
the subject is not undermined by one of his first?
 
But, you are right that Sophocles' first and last plays seem to offer two,
somewhat different words to Athens.  Perhaps, a ninety year old man recognized
that he was speaking to a different city.  (For which difference see  Bernard
Knox's introduction to the Fagles translation of these same Theban plays, or
better still, consider Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.)
 
By the time of Oedipus at Colonus (to turn your simile into a metaphor) the
honeymoon was over for Athens, not because of the melodramatic appearance of an
iceberg, but because of the rather tragic recognition that (to paraphrase Pogo)
Athens had met the enemy and married them.
 
(Forgive me for observing the different emphasis of ancient and modern thought
here.  That the modern, comic version, "we've met the enemy and they are us"
turns on the psychological context of "identity"  while the paraphrase to fit
tragedy turns on the context of marriage and family.)
 
That's why Sophocles will outlast "As the World Turns." The "action" to which
he attends adds up to more than one damn thing after another.  If it didn't,
I'd join you in line for the Burns and Allen re-runs.
 
Vic Gallerano
vgallera.osf1.gmu.edu

QE1 Novel; Greek Tragedy

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0056. Saturday, 28 January, 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Raymond Crispin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Jan 1995 11:59:53 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   New Elizabeth I book
 
(2)     From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        Date:   Saturday, 28 Jan 95 08:39:36 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0030  Re: Greek (Athenian) Tragedy
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Raymond Crispin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Jan 1995 11:59:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        New Elizabeth I book
 
I just finished reading _I, Elizabeth_ by Rosalind Miles and would like to
recommend it for anyone interested in the life of Elizabeth I. Although this is
a novel which reads like an autobiography, the material was carefully
researched by Ms. Miles who is a serious historian, and the book carefully
follows the life of the queen and her court.  For anyone looking for a readable
biography, this would be a good choice.  And, yes, Shakespeare is not ignored.
Toward the end Elizabeth rages against the Lord Chamerlain's men and "their
hack Shakespeare--he took my shilling.... I am Richard II, know you not that?"
 
Cheers,
Brenda Crispin
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date:           Saturday, 28 Jan 95 08:39:36 EST
Subject: 6.0030  Re: Greek (Athenian) Tragedy
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0030  Re: Greek (Athenian) Tragedy
 
Sorry for the delay in getting in this comment on edible Thebans and
condescending Athenians . . . but here goes:
 
I'd like to point out that the apotheosis of Oedipus at the end of the Colonus
play isn't the end of the action.  Yes, the Chorus says nice things about him,
okay.  But then Antigone, swelled up with the godliness of it all, says, "Hey,
I'm now going off to end the strife between my brothers" or words to that
effect.  The effect has to be something like ending a movie about a romantic
pursuit with the couple sailing off on the honeymoon cruise on the Titanic.
 
Seems to be a lot of condescension by we moderns.
 
G'morning gracie.
                 Urk

Announcement: UWV Summer Seminar

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0057. Saturday, 28 January, 1995.
 
From:           Wayne Hilt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Jan 1995 15:16:30 EST
Subject:        WVU Summer Seminar
 
West Virginia University is presenting a summer seminar entitled "Radiant
Textuality: Humane Studies in Virtual Spaces" by Jerome McGann.  It would
be greatly appreciated if you would consider posting the following announcement
to your discussion list.  Thanks for your consideration.
 
**************************** Announcement *************************************
 
                       West Virginia University
           Summer Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies
 
                               presents
 
                         RADIANT TEXTUALITY:
                   HUMANE STUDIES IN VIRTUAL SPACES
 
                            Seminar Leader:
 
                           Jerome J. McGann
                  Commonwealth Professor of English
                        University of Virginia
 
 
                           June 8-11, 1995
                       West Virginia University
                            Morgantown, WV
 
           For seminar rates and more information, contact:
 
                         Dr. David C. Stewart
                        Department of English
                       West Virginia University
                             PO Box 6296
                      Morgantown, WV  26505-6296
                             304-293-3107
                       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: *MV*: Shylock and Moonlight Bank Scene

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0055. Saturday, 28 January, 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 Jan 1995 18:23:28 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0046 Re: *MV*: Act Five
 
(2)     From:   Ben Schneider <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Jan 1995 10:47:17 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   moonlight bank, MV 5
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 26 Jan 1995 18:23:28 -1000
Subject: 6.0046 Re: *MV*: Act Five
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0046 Re: *MV*: Act Five
 
In response to John Owens post that we should keep Shylock in perspective
because: "He fully intends to publicly skin a living human being in front of
his friends.. .Mutilation for the sheer pleasure of killing is absolutely
unforgivable, and Shylock should alienate any unbiased spectator here if not
for the idiotic antisemitism of some of the Christian characters".
 
It is true that mutilation for the sheer pleasure of killing is unforgivable,
but it is NOT true that this is Shylock's motivation.  On the contrary, his
desire for Antonio's pound of flesh is motivated not by some inexplicable
tendency to gore but by that same "idiotic antisemitism" that would probably
drive the sanest of us towards some pretty malicious feelings.  It is very
important that we see Shylock's bloodthirtiness in its proper context.  It is
specifically this context that causes so many of us to read him as "nasty" and
"unpleasant" but not as a villain.
 
Shirley Kagan
University of Hawaii at Manoa.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Schneider <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Jan 1995 10:47:17 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        moonlight bank, MV 5
 
The trouble with all of these nasty renditions of the moonlight bank scene is
that they ignore the way it ends.  Does one have to repeat that these aren't
real people but characters in a play?  Jessica admits, as the scene closes,
that she is sad, because music always makes her so.  Lorenzo tells her, that's
because she really appreciates it, her "spirits are attentive."  A person who
doesn't like music, he continues, is "fit for treasons, stratagems, and
spoils."  Shylock doesn't like music.  Belmont is full of music.  In context,
then, Jessica proves in this scene that, far from being an outcast, she is a
well-qualified member of Belmont society, and that, I would say, is the
function of the scene.  All these nasty renditions of act V only prove once
more that a director can make a play say anything he wants it to, and the
author be damned.  See Lawrence Danson, _The Harmony of MV_, and my article in
_Restoration_, aforementioned.
 
Yours ever,
BEN SCHNEIDER

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.