Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Gilligan; MND; Female Hamlet; Dover; Hamlet/Ophelia;
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0277.  Wednesday, 26 February 1997.

[1]     From:   JoAnna Koskinen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 08:53:11 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0272  Re: Gilligan's Island; Ideology

[2]     From:   Dale Lyles <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 13:16:46 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   MND

[3]     From:   G. L. Horton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 13:29:54 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0269  Re: Female Hamlets

[4]     From:   Derek Wood <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 17:57:40 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0264  Re: Dover Cliff

[5]     From:   Mark Mann <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 12:15:59 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0270 Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

[6]     From:   Paul Hawkins <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 21:19:28 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Ideology


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           JoAnna Koskinen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 08:53:11 -0800
Subject: 8.0272  Re: Gilligan's Island; Ideology
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0272  Re: Gilligan's Island; Ideology

I'd like to add that I referred to the Gilligan's Island episode this
semester while TA'ing my first Shakespeare class. It was only after
watching that show as a young child (never mind how old I am, thank you
- smile) that I began to hear references and phrases on other shows, the
news, etc...  Fortunately, PBS was young as well. Back then you didn't
get Sesame Street, you got "I Claudius" or in this case, versions of
Shakespeare performed by hardly known, but highly qualified actors.

I pay homage to Gilligan for illuminating my mind to Shakespeare daily.
I can still remember the tunes!!!

JoAnna
P.S. I like the Addams family, too (smile).

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 13:16:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        MND

The idea of using the 20th c.'s mean streets for an analogue of the
Athenian woods is apt, but what does one do with all the language of the
play?  It becomes more problematic than labeling one's handguns "Sword,"
etc.

I've been thinking about the maltreatment of women in the  play, trying
to decide how much my being bothered by that ugly fact can affect my
treatment of the script.

Here's what I'm thinking-Can we / Do we not have an aesthetic of cruelty
anyway underlying most of our comedy?

Here's my test question: What would happen to the play if we switched
Titania and Oberon?  What if we monkeyed with the language and the
blocking just a touch and had Oberon fall in love with Bottom?  Is the
play destroyed?  My hypothesis is this: if the feminist reading is
correct in an essentially exclusive manner, that the play derives its
"humor" from a patriarchal paradigm, then it will be funny only when
Titania is the victim.   If, on the other hand, our culture's comedy is
based on an element of pain anyway, then Oberon-as-victim, while
certainly a rug-puller, should still be funny, and in the same way.

So what do you think?

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company
http://www.shenandoah.peachnet.edu/~dlyles/nctc/

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           G. L. Horton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 13:29:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0269  Re: Female Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0269  Re: Female Hamlets

>I don't recall where the person who started this thread resides, but
>Peace College (a women's school) in Raleigh, NC is putting on an
>all-female _Hamlet

The original poster cross-posted.  Fascinating discussions of this topic
are presently going on in rec.arts.theatre.misc;
humanities.literature.authors.shakespeare; the Theatre and ASTRA-L
mailing lists, and maybe some others.

I've been pontificating on the subject in some of the above places.  If
interest continues, I may forward some of my remarks to SHK.

G.L.Horton -- Newton, MA, USA

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
<http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Derek Wood <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 17:57:40 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 8.0264  Re: Dover Cliff
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0264  Re: Dover Cliff

> Edgar, even more than Albany, is full of faith in the heavens "the gods
> are just/ the dark and vicious place where thee he got, cost him his
> eyes" and "look up, my lord" to Lear at the end where Kent, who has
> shared Edgar's optimism till now, says to let him die. Albany's a
> bungler at best.
>
> Paul Worley

Why is Paul so critical of Albany? Although Albany is still a little
naively sympathetic to "friends" and hostile to "foes" at the end, not
having learned what he should have about "seeming friends," he has come
a long way since the play began, most of it on his own. His willingness
to divest himself of power at the end is almost as frightening as Lear's
at the start, but he does it out of good will and a sense of justice. He
is a man of great charity, "ready to dissolve" on hearing of Gloucester
and unable to bear more painful detail. His first anger with Goneril is
for behaviour far less horrible than that she later reveals: her early
unkindness to her father (4.2): "Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem
vile."

But Albany is a bit lucky for a while: events seem to support his
optimistic belief in the gods' goodness: "This shows you are above / You
justicers, that these our nether crimes / so speedily can venge!" This
sort of luck helps both Edgar and Albany to hold on; both have looked
into the depths and need help to believe the heavens are just. If they
are not, Albany knows that "Humanity must perforce prey on itself."
Edgar, when he thinks he has hit bottom, ("the lowest and most dejected
thing of Fortune"), only then glimpses a horror he had not imagined:
"World, world...thy strange mutations make us hate thee...."

Albany and Edgar hold on in the desperate hope that justice is inscribed
in the universe, and so Albany has no trouble dealing with the death of
the sisters, but both will have great difficulty coping with the
"justice" dealt out to Lear and Cordelia. Edgar has another glimpse of
what is unbearable, the "image of that horror." and Albany just wants
out. He wants to give up and hand over everything to anybody. The play
ends with Edgar's death wish which immediately follows Kent's.

So I worry about Edgar's "faith in the heavens." Shakespeare shows us
several characters constructing God in their own images. For Albany the
gods are "justicers" and he is relieved to see they avenge evil. Edgar
believes with him and is equally relieved that they ingeniously "make
instruments to plague us" out of our own vices. Practical,
commonsensical Kent, utterly baffled by the mysterious inscrutability of
heredity and education, that "one self mate and make" could beget such
different children, throws up his hands and resigns meaning to the stars
"The stars above us govern our conditions." Is this belief or despair?
Cordelia, kind and compassionate and all-forgiving, believes in "kind
gods," gods who forgive and who comfort and heal human suffering.  And
Gloucester believes in sadistic gods who are like wanton boys who kill
us for sport; but then he would, wouldn't he after what he has been
through?

Every one in the play creates god in his/her own image.  Edmund is his
own god but so too is Edgar: he plays god, creates fiends with "a
thousand noses", cliffs, seas, sampire collectors-and all to "cure"
despair. And godlike he does it. And godlike, he later deals out death
and justice.

God is fashioned by each character as that character wills.
And the human beings in the play often call on god.  Remember:
Gloucester goes in to his house to arrange what comfort he might for
Lear and Kent says,"The Gods reward your kindness." We next see
Gloucester being blinded as he prays to see the gods' "winged vengeance
overtake such children." Also, Albany prays that Cordelia may be saved:
"The Gods defend her," and she is carried in dead.

Myself, I'm not too hopeful about any of the participants' "faith in the
heavens" at the end of the play. "All's cheerless, dark and deadly."

        Derek Wood.
        St. Francis Xavier University,
        Antigonish,  NS

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Mann <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 12:15:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0270 Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0270 Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

Re: the question of whether Hamlet slept with Ophelia...

The best answer ever given on this topic was by John Barrymore, who when
asked this burning question, replied : " Only in the Chicago company"

Cheers...Mark Mann

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Hawkins <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 1997 21:19:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Ideology

Michael Yogev is wrong to suggest that I have claimed that "the only
true, complete appreciation of Shakespeare's work comes from its
aesthetic beauty," or that Shakespeare should be "cut off. . .from
contemporary concerns (his own, and ours)," or that "students who `love
Shakespeare' will love his works. . .less if they come to appreciate the
. . .ideological currents his dramas address."  I say no such things.
In fact, the question I asked Professor Hawkes indicates that I think
students can both love Shakespeare's works and perform ideological
criticism, but I suspect Professor Hawkes would have to disagree.

And I don't discuss Camille Paglia's views of date rape, nor were the
fashion images Paglia mentions of destructively thin women, as I
recall.  But since the subject has been raised, and having read Paglia's
views on date rape, I must point out that Michael Yogev's remarks
perpetuate the popular (or academic) misconception of Paglia's views at
odds with what she has actually written.  She is perfectly deranged when
so distorted, but "usually sensible" when actually read.

Instead of what Michael Yogev has read into my post, what I wrote is
quite modest and ordinary:  that Shakespeare's works-and great
literature generally-possess a considerable aesthetic power that is *not
reducible to* whatever in them may be ideological (or economic or
political or historical) and that the aesthetic response of any reader
is *not reducible to* her ideology.  By the phrasing of his last
paragraph Michael Yogev would seem prepared to concede at least the
first part.  He perhaps only finds it a bit of a bore to "simply
worship. . .[Shakespeare's] greatness."  To each his own.

As for the second point, Yogev's demonstration of the ideological in
Johnson is peculiar, because Johnson's partial rejection of the
unities-a rejection of some key components of the neoclassicist views
Yogev mentions-is surely evidence of the freedom from ideology that
defines good and great reading.

I'm glad that the possibility of being "psychotic" and a "pervert" gave
Professor Hawkes a momentary vision of a more energetic him, but he
avoids the question that I had asked:  can students love Shakespeare and
be critics of the ideological currents running through him and his
appropriators?  If so, would this not establish some space for
individual aesthetic response outside of ideology?

Professor Hawkes confesses that he "do[es] occasionally aim to change
the way. . .students think about literature."  While I wouldn't dream of
telling someone of his eminence how to teach, I encourage my students to
decide for themselves what they should think about literature.  That's
what I call education.

Paul Hawkins
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.