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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: October ::
Re: Antonio and *MV*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0771.  Tuesday, 11 October 1995.
 
(1)     From:   John Owen <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Oct 1995 15:14:44 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0776  Re:  Antonio and *MV*
 
(2)     From:   David M Richman <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Oct 1995 17:40:23 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0776 Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
(3)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Oct 1995 19:16:45 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0776  Re:  Antonio and *MV*
 
(4)     From:   Stanley Hoberg <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Oct 1995 10:50:12 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Antonio and *MV*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Owen <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Oct 1995 15:14:44 -0700
Subject: 6.0776  Re:  Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0776  Re:  Antonio and *MV*
 
Sean Lawrence offers an untargeted rebuke for name-calling. So far, no one is
guilty of this. Drakakis was out of line, but I cannot see what value there is
in misrepresenting the nature of his offense, unless it be to escalate this
thread's heady abandonment of rationality.
 
Speaking of misrepresentation, just what is this statement of Godshalk's? "John
Owen seems to suggest that Shylock skins Antonio "alive in public,"" This is
completely untrue. I stated that Shylock ATTEMPTS to skin Antonio alive. That
he fails in the attempt is no fault of his own. With tempers running high, we
should be clinging desparately to clarity and precision even in disagreement.
 
J.O.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David M Richman <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Oct 1995 17:40:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0776 Re: Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0776 Re: Antonio and *MV*
 
Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence.--W. B. Yeats
 
No soul in *MV* is innocent.  The hatred of Shylock taints the Christians, even
in their professions of generosity and mercy.  Shylock is bent and warped into
a monstrous shape.  Finally, and it is a long devolution, he is indeed the
wolf-descended monster of Gratiano's description. (Gratiano is a chattering
monster of another description.) I find it instructive to regard this play as a
represenation of mutual hatreds feeding each other fat.
 
"You called me dog before you had a cause."
 
Is a play about anti-Semitism necessarily an anti-Semitic play?
 
David Richman
University of New Hampshire
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Monday, 09 Oct 1995 19:16:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0776  Re:  Antonio and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0776  Re:  Antonio and *MV*
 
Dear John Owen--thank you for responding to my admittedly "hasty" note-- Yes, I
KNOW you said Shylock--I was addressing the larger "either/or" question and
perhaps my desire to move the argument onto the "aesthetic" and "formal" plane
rather than the "moral" or "ethical" one is, by itself, problematic--I'm just
arguing for such a reading as a necessary supplement-- for I contend that the
play definitely registers the LOSS of Shylock and the voice given to him as a
LOSS (hence all the disaapointment about music etc in the last scene, lurking
beneath the "comic resolution"), but that this play is more about the generic
difference between comedy and "tragedy" in many ways--The function of Gratiano
(who in many ways is more realistic than bassanio to the tone) becomes
significant here, as do many other issues I can't go into here--
 
I do wish to address the question of HUMOURS in this play-- for, this play
seems to be the closest Shakespeare comes to a comedy of humours. When Bill
Godshalk asks about "who is the merchant, who is the jew" I th  ink this could
be read metadramatically as about the thinness of distinction--after all,
Antonio in the first scene THREATENS to become a tragic-hero, but doesn't have
enough energy for it and Gratiano's speech about who Antonio SHOULDN"T BE is in
some ways a description of a tragic hero... It's plausible to me that Shylock
is Shakespeare's attempt to try out the convention of a "tragic hero" in a play
that doesn't make any room for it. Another side point, I'd like to
raise---Portia's suitors---the second suitor in some ways (her description)
resembles ANtonio and the 3rd one resembles Gratiano (the first one is similar
to Bassanio, but more like Morroco--but both are braggarts). Anyway, this is
another "hasty" note--if yu'd like to see my paper on the play I'd be happy to
send it---Chris Stroffolino
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stanley Hoberg <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Oct 1995 10:50:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Antonio and *MV*
 
I am not entirely sure whether Bill Goshalk and I agree or disagree about
Antonio's lines at the end of III.iii.  I think that Antonio is sayi, foreign
traders who profit from Venice's mecantile arrangements will find the city
blameworthy, unworthy of their trust if they observe that Venice does not
uphold its uphold its laws (since these laws are supposed to uphold the
mercantile arrangements), and the damage to the city will be great because all
nations trade with us and contribute to our trade and profit. Surely Antonio is
not speaking for the Duke, but he seems to be voicing an attitude that is
common among the city's merchants. We do agree on the point that Antonio
"implies that the justice of the state cannot be impeached because of economic,
NOT ethical reasons."
 
--Stan Holberg
 

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