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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: October ::
Re: Antonio and *MV*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0767.  Monday, 9 October 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Sunday, 8 Oct 1995 15:41:50 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0659 Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Sunday, 08 Oct 1995 22:39:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0659  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
(3)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Sunday, 08 Oct 1995 22:46:52 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0659  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
(4)     From:   John Owen <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Oct 1995 11:53:27 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0753  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Sunday, 8 Oct 1995 15:41:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 6.0659 Re: Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0659 Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
Given that Professor Godshalk hasn't been calling anyone names, I think
Professor Drakakis should reconsider who needs valium to calm themselves down.
 
Sincerely,
Sean.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Sunday, 08 Oct 1995 22:39:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0659  Re: Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0659  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
Regarding gaberdine and Bradley Berens' polite inquiry, apparently I was wrong
again.  I was going on hearsay evidence -- always bad, especially when I can't
remember who I heard it from -- that the gaberdine was enforced on the Jews as
a distinguishing costume.  I just checked in my old 1947 Britannica which tells
me that Jews wore the gaberdine because they, the Jews, were conservative
dressers!  I'm wondering if there is any good evidence that Jews were forced to
wear the gaberdine.  I'll ask some of my Judaic Studies friends.
 
In any case, when Portia asks, "Which is the merchant here? and which the Jew?"
(Riverside 4.1.174), I'm not sure how to take that question.  Surely she can
tell the merchant from the Jew?  Is she playing at impartiality?  Is the
playwright trying to indicate some identity between the two?  "You just can't
tell them apart!" But I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the gaberdine would
distinguish Shylock from Antonio.  Are the questions a little joke?
 
I find it also interesting that Portia knows Shylock's name (176), but talks
about him as "the Jew" (182).  That's always the way to make someone feel part
of the group!
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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 >
Date:           Sunday, 08 Oct 1995 22:46:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0659  Re: Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0659  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
For John Drakakis:
 
(1) I surely didn't realize that Cultural Materialists were non-violent.
 
(2) Anti-Semiticism is in the mind of the beholder.
 
(3) Have a little wine for the stomach's sake, John!
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Owen <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Oct 1995 11:53:27 -0700
Subject: 6.0753  Re: Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0753  Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
Messrs. Young and Green have covered this ground so neatly that I will only
clarify some details of my earlier post which have been misrepresented.
 
Chris Stroffolino - "Granted, Owen is not the only one who argues that we can't
accept both Antonio as a hero and everyone else"
 
Well, I said Shylock, not Antonio. Aside from that, I am not arguing for an
Either/Or Venice. Quite the reverse -- I am arguing for a Venice where each
character is allowed the full scope of his/her personality. This means that I
accept the attack on Antonio's anti-semitism -- his behavior toward Shylock is
appalling; however, he is also an honest and generous friend who behaves with
such exceptional kindness to Bassanio that some critics detect the motive of
homoeroticism. But I insist that Shylock's flaws be recognized in equal
proportion -- the moneylender is a member of a brutally oppressed minority, and
posesses intelligence, humor and passionate human feelings, but he is an
unscrupulous businessman who will commit murder to remove a hated business
rival. Mr. Stroffolino's remarks show every sign of haste, so I assume that the
staggeringly naive implication that everyone in the play can be a "hero" (note
the simplification -- I used the term "tragic hero" in my original post) was
unintended.
 
As for progressive criticism, I am surprised that there are critics who still
believe that Shakespearean criticism can exist outside of some moral framework.
"With Kottlike tread, upon our prey we steal"?
 
J.O.
 

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