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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: May ::
Re: Aumerle
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0362.  Thursday, 4 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Luc Borot <
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 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 3 May 95 15:37:42 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0358 Aumerle
 
(2)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 May 1995 09:23:29 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   SHK 6.0358 Aumerle
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Luc Borot <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 May 95 15:37:42 +0200
Subject: 6.0358 Aumerle
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0358 Aumerle
 
In Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0358.  Wednesday, 3 May 1995,
Sam Gregory <
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 > asks comments about the Aumerle scene in R2. It
is one of the deepest scenes in the play, which is one of Shakes's deepest
plays.
 
I agree that it does have an obvious comic potential, fully permitted by the
meta-theatrical comment on 'the beggar and the king', a traditional stage
piece. The Duke's equivocation with French also sounds terribly comical to
anyone with an inkling of French: 'pardonne moy' is not 'I forgive', but
'forgive me'.
 
Yet, there is something historically and politically serious in that scene: the
feudal values of York appear totally inhuman, whereas he's appeared over-supple
in his management of Richard's downfall when he had the kingdom in stewardship;
Aumerle may be seen as a convert, if the 2nd tetralogy is read as one whole,
since he serves his new king and his son till his death at Agincourt. Henry is
much more political: he gains a friend by forgiving an enemy. He proves that he
can take a political AND a physical risk: indeed, if Aumerle is calculating,
then Henry may be murdered. This has an echo in a contrary scene in H5, when
Henry V calls the betrayal of Scroope, Grey and Cambridge a "second fall of
man": his best friend had come to murder him; the friend turns into an enemy,
in secret whereas Aumerle came to confess openly.
 
I think that both dimensions of the scene should be made clear to the audience:
the central character here is Henry, as he is the one who shows the kind of
king he intends to be, in opposition to his predecessor.
 
Of course, part of my argument may be questioned if the existence of a
'tetralogy' is denied. Melchiori's introduction to his Cambridge 2H4 presents
the series very differently, but it may not totally break down the ethical and
political parallels that I have suggested.
 
Yours,
Luc
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 4 May 1995 09:23:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Aumerle
Comment:        SHK 6.0358 Aumerle
 
>I saw a post several weeks ago which included some information regarding
>Aumerle's scene towards the end of Richard II. Aumerle and his mother beg
>for his life, while York wants him to die. I had the good fortune to
>perform Aumerle last year and would love to read any papers concerning the
>comic nature of this scene.
 
I briefly discussed the comedy here in *Stages of History* (Cornell, 1990), pp.
131-33.  Two excellent earlier articles on it are Sheldon P. Zitner's
"Aumerle's Conspiracy," SEL 14 (1974) and Leonard Barkan's "The Theatrical
Consistency of R2," SQ 29 (1978).
 

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