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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: Lady Macbeth
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0115.  Friday, 24 January 1997.

(1)     From:   David M Richman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jan 1997 16:57:53 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0107 Re: Lady Macbeth

(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jan 1997 12:50:01 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0104  Re: Lady Macbeth

(3)     From:   Sean K. Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jan 1997 22:34:07 -0800
        Subj:   Lady M fainting


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David M Richman <
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Date:           Thursday, 23 Jan 1997 16:57:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0107 Re: Lady Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0107 Re: Lady Macbeth

In response to Tom Bishop on the "faint" may I note that Edgar's "climb" up
Dover cliff is of a different order of feigning than that practised by the
woman who says: "What, in our house?"   Edgar is practising upon a newly blind
and disoriented old man.  Speaking both as a theatre director and as an often
disoriented blind man, I can say that it is easy and amusing to deceive the
blind. As Edgar leads Gloucester, he can "fake" difficult terrain on the flat
stage.  He can invent a "hill" simply by gradually (or steeply) raising his arm
or shoulder--which Gloucester is holding. "Poor Tom shall lead thee."  The
audience will laugh at all this--at least they did in our production--and then
feel guilty afterwords at participating in the abuse of the disabled.  The
scene can make for delicious farce tinged with unease.  Deceiving the blind is
an old motif.  Consider Rebekah and Jacob deceiving poor old Isaac. Two cheers
for laughter.

David Richman
University of New Hampshire

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 23 Jan 1997 12:50:01 -0500
Subject: 8.0104  Re: Lady Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0104  Re: Lady Macbeth

T. Hawkes writes,

>The question 'Did Lady Macbeth really faint' is not my invention. Nor is it a
>joke. It appears as Note DD in A.C.Bradley's momentous 'Shakespearean Tragedy',
>published in 1904. Bill Godshalk's stratagem, crediting it to myself, is
>clearly an attempt to curry favour. It will not succeed. Nor will poring over
>the letters of Abelard and Heloise (oh dear, the sadness of that 'again'!).

Of course, Bradley asked the question, and obviously other spectators have
asked the question. And T. Hawkes asks the question--recurrently--or should I
write, sadly, 'again'?  I did not mean to imply that he is the only one who has
asked or will continue to ask about Lady's fainting.

And, of course, it makes no difference what Hawkes "means" when he asks the
question.  I take it as a scholarly joke.  And don't we all agree that meaning
is in the brain of the reader, not in the brain of the "author-function"--no
matter what the "author-function" says?

And, obviously, Hawkes understands my comments as an attempt to curry favour.
With whom, he does not say.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean K. Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 23 Jan 1997 22:34:07 -0800
Subject:        Lady M fainting

Tom Bishop's note sent me scurrying off for my copy of _Shakespearean Tragedy_.
Should anyone be interested, the concluding paragraph of note DD reads as
follows:

Shakespeare, of course, knew whether he meant the faint to be real:  but I am
not aware if an actor of the part could show the audience whether it was real
or pretended.  If he could, he would doubtless receive instructions from the
author.

Cheers,
Sean.
 

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