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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: October ::
Re: Horatio; Banquo; Luther; Jews
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0856.  Monday, 30 October 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Stuart Rice <
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        Date:   Saturday, 28 Oct 1995 13:30:55 EST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0850  Re: Horatio;
 
(2)     From:   Stuart Rice <
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        Date:   Saturday, 28 Oct 1995 13:22:08 EST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0850  Re: Banquo;
 
(3)     From:   Gady Amit <
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        Date:   Saturday, 28 Oct 1995 19:45:17 +0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0845  Re: Hamlet, Luther, and Faustus at Wittenberg
 
(4)     From:   Martin Green <
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        Date:   Sunday, 29 Oct 1995 11:25:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0841  Re: Shakespeare, Italian and Jews
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Rice <
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Date:           Saturday, 28 Oct 1995 13:30:55 EST
Subject: 6.0850  Re: Horatio;
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0850  Re: Horatio;
 
I like quite a few of Steve's arguments, especially the one about "ratio"
within the name.  I, however, would like to submit some other, perhaps
interesting, points about Horatio (complete conjecture, you understand):
 
        1)  I think Shakespeare might have directly taken the name Horatio
            from a Spanish Tragedy by T. Kyd.  If anyone is knowledgeable
            on Elizabethan pronounciation it would be interesting to see if
            the theory holds.
 
        2)  "An antique Roman than a Dane."  I always wondered, and an expert
            on the Elizabethan stage history of _Julius Caesar_ might be able
            to bear this theory out (since I have not seen proof nor refutation
            of it), if this was meant to be some sort of last minute joke.
            Does anyone know if the actor that played Mark Antony also played
            Horatio?  It seems with in the realm of possibility.  Since there
            are many references to Julius Caesar in the play, and we know that
            Julius Caesar was acted by the same actor who played Polonius, and
            Brutus Hamlet.
 
Yours,
Stuart Rice
Kenyon College
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Rice <
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Date:           Saturday, 28 Oct 1995 13:22:08 EST
Subject: 6.0850  Re: Banquo;
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0850  Re: Banquo;
 
I have a mixed opinion about the Ghost of Banquo.  In Hamlet, for example, we
most definitely see the Ghost of Hamlet's father.  However, in Macbeth, Macbeth
has a vision of a dagger, and I think we can be pretty sure that Shakespeare
did not have a dagger drop from the rafters, suspended by a line of fishing
wire.
 
I think it is less clear who he is talking to if Banquo does not somehow appear
on the stage in this scene.  Even though Macbeth toasts him in absence, we also
know that Macbeth has murdered Duncan, and so it may be him that Macbeth sees
in the chair.  An interesting twist might be having Banquo's Ghost seat Duncan
in Macbeth's chair.
 
I guess you might also want to have the Ghost of Banquo appear on stage because
of the later procession, which MUST (I suppose) involve having people enact
those roles.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gady Amit <
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Date:           Saturday, 28 Oct 1995 19:45:17 +0300
Subject: 6.0845  Re: Hamlet, Luther, and Faustus at Wittenberg
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0845  Re: Hamlet, Luther, and Faustus at Wittenberg
 
Dear Mr. Godshalk,
 
I wrote a paper for Prof. Normand Berlin on the Luthern - Jesus
transfigurations of Hamlet some 25 years ago. Calvin, of course, is only
episodal. Since  Mr. Goulem speaks of costuming my researches cause me to
suggest at least 4 changes. No.1 the mourning, puritanical garb. No. 2 the
disorientation combinations. No. 3 After the pirates have dressed Hamlet as a
pagan king; which corresponds with the period of Luther's elaborate disguise
while in hiding. And it contrasts again with the court people. No. 4 during the
duel when Hamlet appears all in white to suggest a purified spirit who has
taken on the attributes of the savior.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Green <
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Date:           Sunday, 29 Oct 1995 11:25:35 -0500
Subject: 6.0841  Re: Shakespeare, Italian and Jews
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0841  Re: Shakespeare, Italian and Jews
 
I apologize for being so inept a writer that Robert Appelbaum, in his posting
of 25 October, misconstrues   almost in its entirety my posting of October 22.
What I thought I wrote, boiled down to a few words, was this: that this list
would be more useful to its subscribers, and serve a well defined purpose, if
we who post to it were to focus on facts, and the reasonable inferences which
could be drawn from those facts. I then presented, as an example of the utility
of such an approach, three facts which give rise to a reasonable, and in my
view illuminating, inference. The facts are (a) that the Earl of Southampton
was a patron of Shakespeare, (b) that the Earl of Southampton was a very close
friend to the Earl of Essex, and (c) that the Earl of Essex maintained at Essex
House, his home on the Strand, a staff of remarkable men who were in effect his
own intelligence and diplomatic service. The inference, or surmise, which I
drew from these facts was that Shakespeare, as a protege of or "servant" to the
Earl of Southampton, may have had access to those who were proteges or servants
of the Earl of Essex, and from his associations with these people may have
acquired  much of the knowledge or attitudes that inform his plays. I gave as
examples of this Shakespeare's knowledge of Italy, and his acquaintance with
Jews.
 
Mr.  Appelbaum makes fun of the idea that Shakespeare might have "palled
around." as he puts it, with members of the Essex group who had been to Italy
or were Italians- - people such as  Anthony Standen, Anthony Munday, James
Guicciardini or Alberico Gentili (to say nothing of Southampton's former tutor,
John Florio);  he stresses the "might have" quality of these associations. But
it is, I submit, one of the more reasonable "might haves" around in
Shakespearean scholarship. Those people did exist; they lived and worked at
Essex House in the 1590's; Shakespeare's patron Southampton not only was Essex'
bosom buddy, but also often lodged at Essex House (Southampton House having
been rented out because it was too expensive to maintain): so what is more
plausible than that Shakespeare had some contact with these eminently
knowledg[e]able sources of information about Italy, its topography, literature
and politics?
 
I did not write that there was no anti-Semitism in the Merchant of Venice; but
everybody knows that (beginning, I think I read somewhere, with Garrick) it's
possible to represent Shylock (because the text of the play in places so
permits) as an admirable, much put-upon person, rather than as a despicable
usorious "bloodsucker" (to use some modern terminology), and I suggested that
Shakespeare's attitude toward Jews might have been affected - - even, perhaps,
tempered somewhat - -  by his personal acquaintance with two Jews in the Essex
circle, Dr. Lopez and Antonio Perez, the latter of whom, at least, was much
feted by the Essex group and indeed, lived for two years at Essex House. (Perez
was a rather foppish person, and is thought by many to have been the model for
Don Armado in Love's Labour's Lost.) Now, I pointed out that these two persons
were conversos, "but they were thought of in England as being, as they
undoubtedly were, at least ethnically, Jews."  For this, Mr Appelbaum jumps on
me for two reasons.  First, he says, since they were conversos, they were not
Jews, but Roman Catholics whose ancestors had been Jewish. Such, alas, was not
the easy lot of the conversos. True, Perez's father was a Roman Catholic cleric
(well, those things happen) whose parent (or perhaps parents) had been Jewish:
but when the Inquisition zeroed in on Perez in 1592, one of the charges against
him (what it was, I don't know; it may have been apostacy)  was based upon his
being a Jew - - a fact which certainly must have been known to the Essex group
(but may have been overbalanced, in his favour, by the fact that he was also -
- again as charged by the Inquisition - - a sodomite). As for Lopez, I think
(but don't know) that he himself had been Jewish, and then converted: but when
he was tried for treason, he was described by Coke as a Jew - - a traiterous
Jew, I think - - and when he was executed (in his 70's) the cheering  crowd
yelled, Jew!  He is a Jew! So these people, exactly as I wrote,  "were thought
of in England as being . . .  Jews."
 
Mr. Appelbaum then makes much of that portion of  the preceding sentence
represented by the ellipses: "as they undoubtedly were, at least ethnically,"
for ethnicity, Mr. Appelbaum says, is a modern concept, and to apply it to the
Elizabethans in anachronistic.  Well, that may well be: but in any event,  the
words "as they undoubtedly were, at least ethnically" represent MY thought, not
that of the Essex house group. If that was not clear, I apologize.
 
Three final comments: (1)  yes, I do, as Mr. Appelbaum asserts, long for the
scholarship of the 30's; can anyone think of any major contribution to
Shakespearian scholarship since, say, 1950? (2) yes, I think "The problem of
understanding anti-semitism" (advocated for discussion by Mr. Appelbaum), is
not, in and of itself, an appropriate topic for this list, because I find that
problem easy enough to understand, but will forbear, in the interest of
political correctness, from getting into that (not that my views would offend
Jews, but that they would offend Christians), and (3) absolutely yes, I do
dismiss a large portion (but maybe not, as Mr. Appelbaum suggests, 9/10) of the
contributions to this list on "matters interpretive" as pure hot air: sometimes
interesting, to be sure, but all too often creating ill-will and "flaming" on
unimportant points and unprovable propositions.
 
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