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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: Hero
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0202.  Sunday, 12 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Melissa Aaron <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Mar 1995 23:59:52 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0199 Q: The Problem of Hero
 
(2)     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Saturday, 11 Mar 1995 22:55:46 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0199 Q: The Problem of Hero
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Mar 1995 23:59:52 +0200
Subject: 6.0199 Q: The Problem of Hero
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0199 Q: The Problem of Hero
 
The fact that she doesn't speak up for herself is a real problem.  Isn't it the
case that defamation trials (correct me on this, if wrong) pretty much required
the woman to prove she was *not* a whore?  (cf Lisa Jardine's article on
Desdemona in a similar fix). A guess--just as with Desdemona, the problem with
defending oneself from such a charge is that you have to understand it and talk
about it too well to be really chaste.  Desdemona "cannot say whore."  And Hero
isn't fond of bawdy jesting either (see III.iv).  The problem is that Claudio
catches her in a Catch-22--"Who did you speak to?"  If she did know and had an
answer, it would prove her unchaste.  Since she doesn't know, because she
didn't, she is unchaste. Beatrice speaks up for her as much as she can--she
says that she was Hero's bedfellow every other night--which if anyone was
paying proper attention would mean she *couldn't* have messed around with
Borachio a thousand times.
 
Claudio has leapt to conclusions before.  If I had to play this for interest, I
would try repressed anger as well as bewilderment--how *dare* they think this
of me?--and a high-blood-pressure swoon.
 
Melissa Aaron
University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Saturday, 11 Mar 1995 22:55:46 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 6.0199 Q: The Problem of Hero
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0199 Q: The Problem of Hero
 
This won't help you any, but the problem of what would happen if Beatrice were
to speak up is handled by Lewis Carroll, somewhere in his letters, who actually
writes additional dialogue to end the play in this scene.
 
Of course, if it were to be inserted, the whole play would end not with a bang
but a whimper.  I think the reason that we usually don't notice this in
production has to do not with Hero's (okay, maybe she is a little stunned by
the rejection) or Beatrice's character, but with Claudio's. He's the one whose
reaction we are most interested in.  In a sense, he's the one who's really on
trial, not Hero at all.  So I suppose the solution is to get Claudio to
overact, so you don't get noticed, but that isn't much of a solution.
 
Cheerio,
Sean.
 

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