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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: Hero; Characters (Was *MM* Ending)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0213.  Wednesday, 15 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Melissa Aaron <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Mar 1995 09:12:12 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0207 Re: Hero
 
(2)     From:   Diane Mountford <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 Mar 1995 01:33:24 -0500
        Subj:   Re: The Problem of Hero
 
(3)     From:   Al Cacicedo <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Mar 1995 14:04:23 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0206  Re: *MM* Ending;
 
(4)     From:   W.L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Mar 1995 21:52:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0206 Characters and Imagination
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Mar 1995 09:12:12 +0200
Subject: 6.0207 Re: Hero
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0207 Re: Hero
 
I'm not sure that a swoon is so easily read as a defense.  It could just as
easily be read as an admission of guilt.  So is her blushing.  Claudio insists
that "her blush is guiltiness, not modesty," and all the other "exterior
shows."  (Back to Desdemona.  Her chastity is an essence that's not seen.)  As
far as playing on the Globe stage, chances are the audience couldn't see a
blush even if the actor could have called one up on command.
 
It's not so much that the audience trusts the Friar's noting, IMHO (Friar
Lawrence?  The Duke as Friar?)  It's that the audience heard the villains
plotting.  Without that simple plot directive, there is nothing *in the
playtext* that Hero says or does which, theoretically, could not be interpreted
to her discredit, until after the Prince and Claudio have left.
 
Flame-proof suit on,
Melissa Aaron
University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Diane Mountford <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 Mar 1995 01:33:24 -0500
Subject:        Re: The Problem of Hero
 
Sarah,
 
Here's my two cents about Hero.  Hope you find it thought-provoking if not
useful.
 
I find Hero fascinating because I think she changes more than anyone else in
the play. Sure Beatrice & Benedick stop lying to themselves about their
feelings, but Hero really goes through fire. I once heard an interview with
Laura Dern in which she described David Lynch's view of innocence. In Lynch's
world, innocence has nothing to do with naivete, but rather is an outlook
chosen and maintained through knowledge and against great odds.  I think Hero
takes Claudio back not because she's co-dependent or spineless, but because she
has come to understand suffering and makes the conscious choice for innocence.
 
As for the night before the wedding, my theory is that in the afternoon someone
told her about sex for the first time, and she's terrified! She might send
Beatrice away so that she can cry all night . . . or at least think it over.
 
And as for the much-pondered-over silence at the wedding, I think shock is very
playable. And indignant pride. In any case, finding words (especially if you're
an objectified Renaissance woman) in the face of unmitigated rage is never
easy.
 
Best wishes in crafting your own personal interpretation.  Let us know how it
goes.
 
-- Diane Mountford   <
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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Cacicedo <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Mar 1995 14:04:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0206  Re: *MM* Ending;
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0206  Re: *MM* Ending;
 
Of course characters in plays are mere words, words, words with no existence
outside those words.  To paraphrase Howard Cossell, when *MM* ends, the future
is behind the characters.  However, it is downright silly to suppose that an
audience, certainly now and probably in 1600, will stop considering characters
as soon as a play comes to its end.  If there *is* an irony in the notion that
"all is well that ends well," isn't the irony based at least in part on
conjectures about the non-existent future of the non-people whose non-lives
have been presented on stage?
 
Just a thought,
Al Cacicedo
Albright College
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W.L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Mar 1995 21:52:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0206 Characters and Imagination
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0206 Characters and Imagination
 
Michael Saenger reminds us that the Duke and Isabella are characters in a play,
and, thus, they are not real people with pasts, futures, and realistic
emotions. I certainly agree -- in part. Of course characters are not real
people, though the characters are played, acted by real people. But when I go
to a play, I give my imagination full sway, and I pretend that I'm watching
real people (as indeed I am) with real emotions. I flirt with the idea that
these characters have a future beyond the script.  And, believe it or not, no
one can stop me from imagining a future for these imaginary people, the Duke
and Isabella -- just as no one can stop Terence Hawkes from seeing these same
characters in political terms.
 
And I imagine that, when Isabella finally gets the Duke's drift, she looks at
him with growing horror -- and flees back to the comfort of the poor Clares.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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