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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: November ::
Re: Rhetorical Resouces
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0845.  Monday, 18 November 1996.

(1)     From:   David Evett <R0870%
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Nov 1996 17:39 ET
        Subj:   SHK 7.0838  Re: Rhetorical Resouces

(2)     From:   Joanne Woolway <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Nov 1996 23:24:49 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0838 Re: Rhetorical Resources

(3)     From:   Roger Gross <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Nov 1996 12:01:59 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re. rhetorical resources


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%
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Date:           Friday, 15 Nov 1996 17:39 ET
Subject: Re: Rhetorical Resouces
Comment:        SHK 7.0838  Re: Rhetorical Resouces

Lanham is far more useful than Abrams, who defines and exemplifies only a few
of the most important terms (but is useful on things like irony) and who offers
no such analytical helps as the lists in the back of Lanham that give some
means to move from the phenomenon (e.g. repeated suffixes: -ion -ion -ion) to
the term, though you might have to look up several in a group to determine
which you've got.  The problem here is always to help students move beyond a
merely Linnaean mastery; but becoming aware of some patterns might help them to
become aware of more, and to move from simple toward complex.

Paradiegesically,
Dave Evett

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joanne Woolway <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Nov 1996 23:24:49 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 7.0838 Re: Rhetorical Resources
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0838 Re: Rhetorical Resources

I was interested to see the request for rhetorical resources and suggested
Lanham's Handlist of Rhetorical Terms because I had just assigned a piece of
work to some Shakespeare students which was designed to use it. The exercise
was to comment on the extent to which rhetorical structures define gender roles
in _Measure for Measure_ and _Taming of the Shrew_. The students had to read
Karen Newman's chapter in _Fashioning Femininity_ on _Shrew_ and use Lanham and
look in detail at Petruchio and Katherine's and Angelo and Isabella's
exchanges, particularly the last scenes of both plays and the conversation on
justice and mercy in _Measure_. The results that they came up with were far
better than they had managed before. Instead of being able to produce the all
too frequent essay on Shakespeare's women ("in Shakespeare's day all women were
oppressed by patriarchy") they produced a detailed analysis of figures of
speech and how they relate to the social and moral issues that are being
raised. One student made particularly perceptive comments on the way that both
characters refer to themselves in the third person in the taming scene and the
fact that Katherine tells Petruchio that "Kate" is not her given name.
Commenting on their differing engagements with illusion and reality, she
commented,

"Petruchio really refers to his own perception of the woman he wants to tame.
He does not tame Katherine, but only an image which he sees as Katherine, so
that repetition of "Kate" at the end of each line, a rhetorical teachnique
known as antisrophe, reminds the reader that Petruchio cares not whether he
tames Katherine, so long as it appears so.

The use of the third person also reveals Petruchio's consciousness of this
"act" of taming after he realizes that Katherine will now submit of her own
will. His command to himself, "Petruchio speak," reveals that he is preparing
to act the part of tamer, that his is a premeditated act of taming in which he
inverts Katherine's language to force her into the existing social structure of
woman as docile. Such premeditation, indeed, acting, reveals Petruchio's
knowledge that conformity to this structure is not natural, but must be forced
upon Katherine in order to uphold the appearance of female subjugation. The
existing play within a play, in effect, extends to a play within a play within
a play in the light of Petruchio's conscious acting, so that we have to
question the validity of Kate's profession of and belief in female subjugation
in her closing speech."

This student and another also looked at puns, hyperbole, "marching figure" and
a few other carefully chosen terms that sent me running to Lanham to look up
their meanings.

The exercise seemed to work because it made them look at wider themes and
issues in the light of small details. They couldn't fall into the trap of
simple description of plot or make too many generalizations (though they
managed a few!). I was quite surprised at how well it worked -

Anyone else done similar things?

Joanne Woolway

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger Gross <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Nov 1996 12:01:59 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Re. rhetorical resources

One small emmendation:  ACTING SHAKESPEARE is by Bertram Joseph, not Joseph
Bertram.  It was published in 1960 by Theatre Arts Books.  It is very useful.

Yes, I do teach rhetoric in my Acting Shakespeare course.  It seems essential
to me.  I don't ask my students to memorize the gawdawful names of the figures
but we do learn to recognize the forms and their functions.

In acting, of course, we see the figures as being rhetorical strategies of the
characters, not the author.  An analysis of a character's rhetorical strategies
leads to valuable insights.

Interesting thread.  Thanks to all who contributed titles.

Roger Gross
U. of Arkansas
 

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