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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: May ::
Re: Cleopatra and Dollabella
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0352.  Monday, 1 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <LS0796@ALBNYVMS.BITNET>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 03:14:17 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
 
(2)     From:   James J. Hill, Jr. <E7E4JJH@TOWSONVX.BITNET>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 17:47:00 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Dolabella and Cleopatra
 
(3)     From:   Don Foster <
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        Date:   Monday, 01 May 1995 10:24:55 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHAXICON and that Dolabella crux in ANT
 
(4)     From:   Fran Teague <
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        Date:   Sunday, 30 Apr 95 13:11:12 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <LS0796@ALBNYVMS.BITNET>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 03:14:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
 
Wm. Godshalk---I am intrigued by your reading of the end scenario of Antony and
Cleo, the idea that, in the power struggle with Caesar Cleo blinks for instance
is an interesting and needed tonic to the view that Cleo is primarily a woman
and her kingdom is strictly of another world, etc., but can you TOTALLY DENY
any but political significance to her eulogizing of Antony, etc., (I'm not
saying that's what your doing....I'm just asking). Also, what textual support
do you have for saying that "privately, Caesar knows that she must die, and
suicide would be best for his public image." Because i don't see it. But I must
say i admire your ability to make me rethink my Enobarbus-centered reading of
the play (which i thought was SOOOOO radical, and now I'm thinking it's old
hat), though I wonder sometimes how far we can take rhetoric---like Berger's
IMAGINARY AUDITION makes a convincing argument up to a point and then starts
assuming that because the play has a way of making us sympathize with Richard
2nd that therefore Richard 2nd must have engineered that, that his failure in
"the play" is his success "in the audience" and that Richard was ultimately
cunning then. This perhaps can be applied to what i know of your reading of
A&C.... but if Cleopatra is "cunning past man's thought" How do we KNOW she's
cunning (maybe Jean could answer that!), or merely cunning? Don't the (scratch
that---I'll end here) Chris Stroffolino
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James J. Hill, Jr. <E7E4JJH@TOWSONVX.BITNET>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 17:47:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Dolabella and Cleopatra
 
Those who reject the obvious significance/function of Dolabella [see the
posting of Jean Peterson] in favor of a "conspiracy theory" that he is the
secret agent of Caesar to push Cleopatra to suicide should examine Janet
Adelman's demonstration of a pattern of structural repetitions in *Antony and
Cleopatra* [a series of servants desert their masters (living or dead): e.g.
Enobarbus, Menas, Alexas, Canidius, Seleucus, Decretas, and Dolabella]. See her
*The Common Liar* (1973), pp. 45-47.  It should also be noted that North's
*Plutarch* describes Dolabella as "a young gentleman...that was one of Caesars
great familiars, and besides did have no evil unto Cleopatra.  He sent her word
secretly, as she had requested him...that within three dayes [Caesar] would
sende her away before with her children."  Perhaps Janet Adelman and Jean
Peterson are correct when they see Dolabella acting compassionately [and not
conspiratorially] at the end of the play.  J.J.Hill
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Foster <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 01 May 1995 10:24:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: SHAXICON and that Dolabella crux in ANT
 
About the Dolabella controversy in 5.1:
 
SHAXICON offers a possible solution for the textual problem in 5.1.  In the
texts later than ANT, Shakespeare is very markedly influenced in his writing by
the rare-word diction of five parts in ANT, all bit roles: Agrippa, Philo,
Proculeius, Thidias, and Ventidius.  In most other texts, Shakespeare
"remembers" the rare-word diction of just one (or sometimes two) characters.
It is perhaps doubtful that Shakespeare this late in his career would have
studied five different roles, all bitsy parts at that, but that's a moot point:
for whatever reason, Shakespeare indeed "remembers" the rare-word diction of
these five roles while "forgetting" the rare-word diction of other characters
in the same play.  Given the example of other texts in which this selective
mnemonic recall is evident, my guess is that Shakespeare performed these five
roles--but that presents an immediate problem. It appears (at first glance)
that the same actor cannot possibly have played both Agrippa and Proculeius.
In F1 ANT, Agrippa is given an entrance at 5.1.0, but no lines.  Proculeius is
given lines and an exit, but no entrance.  And at 5.1.29 and 5.1.31, we've got
a problem with the speech prefixes (F1 Dola.), which most editors assign to
Agrippa.
 
Here's what I take to be the likeliest explanation:  After the script was
written, the play was casted (perhaps during the initial rehearsals).  It was
decided that Shakespeare would play Agrippa, Proculeius, Philo, Thidias, and
Ventidius (hence the lopsided mnemonic recall of these roles in Shakespeare's
later writing).  But a problem arose in 5.1: let's imagine a first rehearsal in
which Shakespeare-the-actor enters as Agrippa at 5.1.0, together with Caesar,
Dolabella, Maecenas, and Gallus (and perhaps others).  Let's assume for the
moment that the s.d.'s at ANT 5.1.29 and 5.1.31 DID in fact say "Agri" in the
original script, as most editors have assumed, and that F1 "Dola" is a mistake
in both instances, as most editors have concluded. (Dolabella appears to exit
at 5.1.3, even as the Egyptian exits at 5.1.60, Proculeius at 5.1.68, and
Gallus at 5.1.69; a comparison of 5.1.3 with 5.1.68 leaves little room to doubt
that Dolabella DOES exit at 5.1.3).  But if Shakespeare-the-actor is to stand,
speak, and exit as Proculeius at 5.1.61 ff., then the earlier, "Agri," speech
prefixes in the script need to be lined out: right actor (no change there), but
the wrong character, since Shakespeare-the-actor will now be Proculeius
throughout 5.1.  The only mistake, then, is that the stagehouse bookkeeper, or
the printer, or someone, in trying to restore the lined out speech prefixes at
5.1.29 and 31, guessed wrong, inserting "Dola.," which has been emended by
modern editors back to "Agri."
 
While this scenario cannot be proven, SHAXICON offers, I think, a plausible and
economical explanation for all of the confusion in 5.1:
 
Problem: The S.P.s at 5.1.29 and 5.1.31 are indeed wrong in F1 (an attempt to
supply s.p. after "Agri" was lined out); the entrance without exit for Agrippa,
and the exit without entrance for Proculeius, are likewise mistakes.
 
Solutions: If the editor or theatrical director wishes to represent the script
as originally intended by Shakespeare-the-writer, "Proculeius" should indeed be
added to "Agrippa" in the SD at 5.1.0, and "Dola" emended to "Agri" at 5.1.29
and 31; Agrippa thereby speaks twice before Proculeius speaks.  If, however,
the editor or director wishes to represent the script as first acted, then
"Agrippa" should be emended to "Proculeius" at 5.1.0, and "Dola" should be
emended to "Proc" at 5.1.29 and 31; the same actor (Shakespeare or whoever)
thus speaks lines originally intended (by Shakespeare the writer) for both
Agrippa and Proculeius, and he speaks all three speeches AS Proculeius (5.1.29
ff, 31 ff., 68).  Proc thus enters at 5.1.0 and exits at 5.1.68.
 
Eureka!  Even the apparent *contradictions* in SHAXICON (How can the same actor
play both Proculeius and Agrippa! Not possible!) now begin to look like
revelations (But of course! F1 contradicts itself at precisely the same
juncture!).  After years of muttering curses at this database for all of the
time and labor it has consumed, I'm starting to think rather well of it... Stay
tuned.
 
Foster
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <
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 >
Date:           Sunday, 30 Apr 95 13:11:12 EDT
Subject: 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
 
Prof. Godshalk has met some resistance to his argument that Dolabella is a
secret agent who pushes Cleopatra into suicide. Certainly if that is the way he
would have the actor playing Dolabella perform the part in a produc- tion he
directs, then that Dolabella will indeed be a secret agent. But why all
Dolabella performances _have_ to follow that interpretation eludes me (as does
any argument that the role could _not_ be performed that way).
 
I'm not at all comfortable with the announcement that Caesar's role is
comparable to Elizabeth I's "charade" in condemning Mary, Queen of Scots to
death. Every responsible account of what occurred in 1587 agrees that Elizabeth
was deeply troubled both by Mary Stuart's plotting a rebellion and by the
insistence of Parliament (and of her councillers) that Mary Stuart must be
executed. To suggest the Elizabeth I is some sort of 16th century Dragon Lady
of Deviousness just continues misrepresentation of her accomplishments--she was
neither Wonder Woman nor the Scarlet Woman. I prefer history without soap opera
characters, when I can get it.
 

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