1997

Places: Elsinore, Brideshead, and Helsingborg

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0162.  Friday, 31 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Peter Seary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 16:57:06 -0500
        Subj:   Places: Elsinore, Brideshead

(2)     From:   Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 22:10:25 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Helsingborg


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Seary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 16:57:06 -0500
Subject:        Places: Elsinore, Brideshead

The architect for Blenheim and Castle Howard was the same: Sir John Vanbrugh
(1664-1726), the playwright.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 22:10:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Helsingborg

Having been to Elsinore, or Helsingborg as I believe the Danes call it, I was
fascinated by details of the town and castle which fit in nicely with the play,
and which lead me to believe that Shakespeare and his company really knew the
place when they set out to produce Hamlet.

To begin with, there's a private spiral staircase which is situated not too far
from the great hall, where performances were/are held.  Once down those stairs,
it's an equally short walk to the castle's Chapel.  Hard not to think of
Claudius' itinerary after the play when I saw that.

In addition, the "arrasses" are not just decrative tapestries; they are
portraits of the historic and legendary kings of Denmark, stitched well beyond
life-size and hung at that time throughout the castle, by the score.  One in
particular, King Abel, is a masterpiece; no matter where you are in the room,
he appears to be looking at you and walking toward you.  This creates quite a
few possibilitites for the scene with Gertrude; Hamlet stabs an arrass of his
father's image?  Thinking his Uncle may be behind it?  And uses it in his
subsequent diatribe 'look on this, and on this', with his uncle's image only in
little and his father's image much, much larger indeed.

One more thing; the graveyard at Elsinore is just a few minute's walk from the
Castle.  In those days, it represented the city limits.  There is a large wall
separating the graveyard from the rest of town, so that it's an ideal place to
meet in private; beyond the graveyard, contemporary drawings indicate nothing
but countryside.  There's also a high hill there, from which one can look down
into the city and castle. I've always wondered why Hamlet and Horatio would
just happen to be walking there, after his return from England.  The fact that
they're also in the potter-s field (where miscreants and comics are buried)
makes me wonder even more why there isn't more conversation between the two of
them there, to establish the purpose of their walk.

These are musings, which helped me to prepare my productions of the past couple
years; I'd be curious to see if anyone has been to Elsinore and come away with
the same or different impressions.

Andy White
Arlington, VA

Qs: R3 and St. Paul; Scansion

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0161.  Friday, 31 January 1997.

(1)     From:   David Evett <R0870%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 16:51 ET
        Subj:   Query: R3 and St. Paul

(2)     From:   Dale Coye <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 16:54:06 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Scansion Query


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 16:51 ET
Subject:        Query: R3 and St. Paul

As he encounters Henry VI's hearse accompanied by Anne, and threatens the guard
with death if they will not set it down, Richard Crookback twice swears by St.
Paul.  He calls on St. Paul 3 more times in the course of the play (1.3.45,
3.4.76, 5.3.16)--the only character in all the canon who invokes Paul. Can
anybody suggest any reasons?  The first scene strikes me as a diabolical parody
of the road to Damascus--Richard encountering a saintly corpse whose wounds
recall Christ's, and receiving not blindness and conversion, but dreadful
insight into the hearts of others, which enables him to spread his bad-spel and
convert followers to worship him.  There might also be a geographical
joke--Anne has just stated that the body is being taken from St. Paul's toward
London Bridge and Chertsey, and a jerk of the thumb would place the scene in
the shadow of the cathedral.  But I wonder if there are any customary
associations with the name of Paul, or any special allegiance of the historical
Richard to this saint, that would account for his invocations.

Dave Evett

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Coye <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 16:54:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Scansion Query

R2 3.3.18 Reads

I know it, uncle, and oppose not myself.

Cercignani, Koekeritz, and the OED2 make no mention of oppose being stressed on
the last syllable or myself on the first.   So how does this scan?  Is there an
anapest in the fourth foot with oppose carrying the two weak stresses?

Also how about RJ 3.2.87

All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers

Was it headless with a broken back? or what?

Dale Coye
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Princeton, NJ

Re: WT; Quotation; Dover Cliff; Cordelia and the Fool

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0159.  Friday, 31 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Dale Lyles <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 13:11:44 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0145 Re: WT Productions

(2)     From:   Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 14:27:06 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0147  Qs: Quotation

(3)     From:   Michael Skovmand <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 31 Jan 1997 12:18:14 MET
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0153  Re: Dover Cliff

(4)     From:   Roger Schmeeckle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 31 Jan 1997 14:29:23 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0125  Re: Cordelia and the Fool, and Doubling


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 13:11:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0145 Re: WT Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0145 Re: WT Productions

I don't think I can agree with Edward van Aelstyn's assessment that Hermione's
innocence *must* be ambiguous.  Shakespeare is usually straightforward about
these things, and in WT everyone (including Apollo) tells Leontes he's crazy to
think that Hermione is unfaithful.  If Leontes is in doubt, no one else in
Sicilia is.  The difference in WT is that no one is practicing on him as is
usual in the other plays about deception.  Leontes deceives himself.

The theme is not just forgiveness, it's *grace*, which is the unmerited
bestowal of forgiveness.  I think it works better if Leontes' jealousy is
without justification; otherwise, if he had real reason to accuse everyone
around him, what's to forgive?

And boy I wish I had thought of the statuary garden idea!  How beautiful! Did
they use the performers, a la Hermione, or did they have actual statues? The
latter would seem to me to be a "giveaway" about Hermione.

Dale Lyles<---wondering how he would have convinced his 7-year-old son to stay
for the end of the show and get back into his costume for the final scene
Newnan Community Theatre Company

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 14:27:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0147  Qs: Quotation
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0147  Qs: Quotation

Alan,

I'm not sure that the lines of verse to which you refer are quoted from a play.
 They sound more like a modern allusion to Lady Macbeth's "I have given suck,
and know / How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me" (1.7.54-55).

                                                        Michael Friedman
                                                        University of Scranton

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Skovmand <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 31 Jan 1997 12:18:14 MET
Subject: 8.0153  Re: Dover Cliff
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0153  Re: Dover Cliff

To Mary Jane Miller et al., on the cliff in Lear:

MJM reiterates Ian Kott's idea from his 'King Lear or Endgame* in *Shakespeare
Our Contemporary* to the effect that "in film and in prose there is only the
choice between a real stone lying in the sand and and an equally real jump from
the top of a chalk cliff into the sea. One cannot transpose Gloster's suicide
attempt to the screen, unless one were to film a stage performance."(p.115).
Peter Brook, heavily influenced by Kott, took Kott's word for it and did a
totally anti-illusionist Dover cliff scene in his 1971 Lear, filmed on the flat
sands of Northern Jutland.

Interestingly, however, the 1983 TV production, directed by Michael Elliott,
featuring Laurence Olivier as Lear, manages to reproduce the theatrical double
whammy - and how? Very simply, by keeping the camera on Edgar and Gloucester,
without showing the ground they're standing on! As Gloucester hits the ground,
Elliott cuts to a high angle shot of G. lying on the flat sands. The camera, in
other words, does not have to reproduce the world unambiguously . Its
selectivity - in this case not showing the ground - parallels the function of
the stage, which can be anything we pronounce it to be.

Michael Skovmand
U. of Aarhus, Denmark.

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger Schmeeckle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 31 Jan 1997 14:29:23 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 8.0125  Re: Cordelia and the Fool, and Doubling
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0125  Re: Cordelia and the Fool, and Doubling

It would seem that the fool's pining away is conclusive evidence against the
fool and Cordelia being the same person, unless one is prepared to believe his
behavior is part of an elaborate deception.  Is there any example elsewhere in
Shakespeare of such an impersonation without Shakespeare giving a clue to it?

     Cordelia's lines: "...when I shall wed,
                        That lord whose hand must take my plight shall
                              carry
                        Half my love with him..."

imply that Cordelia would be mindful of her duties to her husband.

The fool and Cordelia have different functions: the fool provides a rational
commentary on Lear's actions; Cordelia represents a more than natural saving
function, characterized by forgiveness, and leading to reconciliation.

Compare the friar in R&J.  He provides a rational commentary on Romeo:

        "Art thou a man? Thy form cries out thou art;
         Thy tears are womanish; thy wild acts denote
         The unreasonable fury of a beast....."

                 etc.

Note that the friar combines the functions of the fool and Cordelia, providing
both a radical commentary and a more than natural attempt to help Romeo and
Juliet while bringing about a reconciliation of their families.  He fails in
one while achieving the other, just as in Lear, Cordelia fails to save Lear on
the physical, temporal level, while bringing about personal reconciliation.
Cordelia seems to clearly be a Christ figure.

     Roger Schmeeckle

Re: Ideology (Various)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0160.  Friday, 31 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Paul Hawkins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 14:26:47 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   The Banality of Shakespeare

(2)     From:   Thomas Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 31 Jan 1997 14:03:11 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0152  Re: Category Genes


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Hawkins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 14:26:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        The Banality of Shakespeare

In SHK 8.0096 (21 Jan 97) Gabriel Egan responded to Louis Swilley:

"Perhaps not surprisingly, I disagree with everything you said about
transcendental truths, absolutes, `constant selves' and the like.  (But let's
not start another relativism thread, eh?)"

While I don't necessarily want to revive the relativism debate, and at the risk
of being both banal and simplistic, I offer the following response.

It strikes me that the overwhelming questions--is Shakespeare the most
transcendent writer who ever lived, or is he at the very least transcendent at
all, or is someone else, or can anyone be--are really only questions of taste
and sensibility.

Do we feel, when confronted with the literature and art of the past, alienated
from it, separate, distinct?  Do we feel a radical discontinuity between "it"
and "us"?  Presumably, some scholars, critics, teachers, and actors, perhaps
traumatized by having Tory ministers recite Shakespeare at them, will always
answer those questions, "yes."  And some others will always say, "no."  Members
of the second group might imagine what it would be like to live in
Shakespeare's England, or Plato's Athens, will walk among the extant buildings,
or the ruins of buildings, or the reconstructions of either place indulging
their imagination, and will read the works of either writer feeling themselves
their contemporary.  In the case of Shakespeare's plays, such readers will
participate in the imagination that made them, and will probably feel that the
human dramas and flights of language that the plays contain speak vitally and
immediately to them, and will sometimes marvel that these things are 400 years
old, and will lead their lives comfortably believing that Shakespeare's works,
and the past, are alive.

To the first group, Shakespeare is time-bound; to the second he can only be
timeless.  I hope there will always be readers capable of recognizing the merit
in both experiences of the text and of the past.

Paul Hawkins

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 31 Jan 1997 14:03:11 -0500
Subject: 8.0152  Re: Category Genes
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0152  Re: Category Genes

Dan Lowenstein writes of the plasticity of categories and the need to maintain
different ideas of categories for different purposes that:

>The locus classicus for this type
>of stuff is George Lakoff's superb book, "Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things."

It's worth noting that the last chapter of Book 2 of Aristotle's Metaphysics
made the same point somewhat earlier.

Tom

Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0158.  Friday, 31 January 1997.

(1)     From:   James Schaefer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 13:27:17 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Iago

(2)     From:   Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 97 14:19:00 CST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0149  Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis

(3)     From:   Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 16:23:41 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0149 Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 13:27:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Iago

I suppose this reveals a native-English-speaker's naivete, but:  I've known
since I took Spanish in high school that "Diego" is James in Spanish, as in
"San Diego," and even "Santiago."  But it did not dawn on me until I recently
purchased the Anonymous 4's CD of medieval hymns to/about "Sant'Iago" that Iago
was James, too.  Othello and James.  Which leads me to wonder if Truffaut's
_Jules and Jim_, even if it is based (my info is from Pauline Kael's, _I Lost
It at the Movies_) on an autobiographical novel, might not be seen as a modern
reworking of *Othello*, with a Desdemona who WAS adulterous, and despairing?  I
haven't seen the film in years -- nay, decades.

In another thread, we SHAKSPERians have been talking about meaning derived from
contexts, or creating contexts.  Kael's 35-year-old review of _Jules and Jim_
begins by citing the Legion of Decency's (remember that?) condemnation of the
film:

"the statement read [she writes]:  the story has been developed 'in a context
alien to Christian and traditional natural morality.'"

The substance of this condemnation aside, I find it interesting that somehow
the story ITSELF was not blamed, but THE CONTEXT in which it was "developed."
Is this the context created in/by the narrative of the film, or the context of
society in the very early '60's, or the particular artists who created it, or
...?  There are, of course, no stories (or anything, for that matter) WITHOUT
context, but this has always been a slippery area.  Moral absolutists always
run the risk of tarring themselves with their own brush.  Like the old jokes
about the vice squad's review of confiscated movies, one wonders if the
Legion's members felt they had sinned in screening such a film for review?
(They condemned _Baby Doll_, too, leading pastors to denounce it from pulpits
across the country.)  What part of the "context" could have been changed to
make it a "clean" and "moral" story -- one like *Othello*, in which we watch
Desdemona die like one of St. Ursula's "virgin martyrs," making it all OK?

Just thinking out loud here.
Jim Schaefer

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 97 14:19:00 CST
Subject: 8.0149  Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0149  Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis

On another note, one thing that my students pointed out to me in class
discussion was that Iago acts precisely in the way that an abusive husband
would act--as anyone who has heard the horror stories of a women's shelter can
attest.  An abuser is often irrationally jealous (suspecting even the wife who,
despite the fact that she is forbidden to leave the house, still gets the crap
beat out of her because she didn't answer the phone on the first ring--she must
have been in bed with another man)  So there is a third option in addition to
seeing Iago either as pure evil, or seeing him as gay.

Lysbeth Em Benkert
Northern State University

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 1997 16:23:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0149 Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0149 Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis

I had read a review of the new film version of "Othello" that played up Iago's
homosexuality before I saw the film...so I was prepared to see this
interpretation, BUT IT JUST ISN'T THAT OVERT IN THE FILM. I very
unscientifically polled the audience members around me after the film (this was
in Berkeley, California...not a real conservative town) and they didn't see it
either. I have since shwon a video of this film to a group of hormonally
overcharged teenagers, and THEY didn't think Iago was particularly gay.

I do agree, however that Iago's final death tableaux was symbolic of some kind
of special relationship with Othello, be it sexual, loving, honorable or
jealous.

I suppose one finds what one goes looking for.

Billy Houck
Arroyo Grande High School

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