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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Cleopatra; Works; Tmp. Crit; Casting Err.; Angelo
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1137.  Wednesday, 12 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Mike Sirofchuck <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 06:47:31 -0800
        Subj:   Cleo defended

[2]     From:   Jason Rosenbaum <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 12:35:10 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: New Complete Works

[3]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 10:22:30 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Criticism of *The Tempest*

[4]     From:   Fran Teague <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 97 14:42:52 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1133  Q: Casting Err

[5]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 23:39:23 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Angelo's Sexuality


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Sirofchuck <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 06:47:31 -0800
Subject:        Cleo defended

After completing my Master's thesis on Antony and Cleopatra (Immortal
Longings: Voluntary Death in A& C-a real page turner!) I have to beg to
differ with the definition of Cleopatra as wicked woman who used her
wiles for political selfish ends. I have come to be a great admirer of
Cleo; she was very intelligent,  ambitious and willing to use all of her
skills (she spoke 7 languages and was the first of the Ptolomeys to
speak Egyptian) and although she certainly profited by her political
dealings with the world, specifically the Roman world, so did Egypt.
She was attractive and alluring in many ways, and she never hesitated to
use her considerable talents to accomplish her ambitions. I doubt if
even the Romans could have been beguiled by sex appeal all the time.
Surely her intelligence and complexity was more stimulating than her
sexual allure for such long periods of time with such worldly men! She
generally kept a cool head and wide perspective which cannot be said of
all of the Romans-certainly not Antony.

I interviewed Charlton Heston for my thesis and he feels that Cleopatra
may be Shakes most complex character and certainly the best woman
character. He says he has never seen an actress capable of fully
representing her and declares she is "virtually unplayable." After
seeing several productions, I am inclined to agree. contrast with
Octavius who is nearly always portrayed well. Not a lot of depth there.
Poor Antony seems to lose out often, also.

I believe that her suicide was not necessarily for love of Antony, and I
think evidence to support that is in the play, although Shakes did
change her in the final act as her resolve hardened. Surely she realized
that she had few options left-to be paraded through the streets of Rome
as was her sister and probably become the whore of some Roman were not
viable options for a queen. Why should we think that she would not
choose death with dignity in the Roman tradition as her final statement
to the Roman world?

Lest we forget-much  of what we readily know of Cleopatra was written by
the victors, and they are known for telling history to suit themselves.

For a terrific read, I suggest The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret
George. It's wonderfully thick, readable and excellently researched. The
author and I are corresponding; I am so impressed with her
representation of this remarkable, complex woman.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jason Rosenbaum <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 12:35:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: New Complete Works

Arden Shakespeare is coming out with their first Complete Works;
expected release - -I believe -- is summer 1998.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 10:22:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Criticism of *The Tempest*

To John McWilliams:

Criticism of *The Tempest*:
Barker, Francis, and Peter Hulme.  "Nymphs and reapers heavily vanish:
the
     discursive con-texts of *The Tempest*."  In *Alternative
Shakespeares*.
     Ed. Drakakis.  Methuen, 1985.  191-205.
Kahn, Coppelia.  "The Providential Tempest and the Shakespearean
Family."
     *Man's Estate: Masculine Identity in Shakespeare*.  U California P,
     1981.  220-25.
Novy, Marianne.  "Transformed Images of Manhood in the Romances."
*Love's
     Argument: Gender Relations in Shakespeare*.  U North Carolina P,
     1984.  184-87.
Orgel, Stephen.  "Prospero's Wife."  In *Rewriting the Renaissance*.
     Ed. Ferguson, Quilligan, and Vickers.  U Chicago P, 1986.  50-64.
Thompson, Ann.  "'Miranda, Where's Your Sister?': Reading Shakespeare's
     *The Tempest*."  Rpt. in *Shakespeare and Gender: A History*.  Ed.
     Barker and Kamps.  Verso, 1995.  168-77.
Willis, Deborah.  "Shakespeare's *Tempest* and the Discourse of
     Colonialism."  *SEL* 29 (1989): 277-89.

Hope that these references are helpful.

Regards,
Evelyn Gajowski

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 97 14:42:52 EST
Subject: 8.1133  Q: Casting Err
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1133  Q: Casting Err

A couple of responses to recent threads. Concerning the casting of twins
in ERR, I was reminded of Ben Jonson's comment in CONVERSATIONS WITH
DRUMMOND that "He had an intention to have made a play like Plautus'
AMPHITRIO, but left it off for that he could never find two so like
others that he could persuade the spectators they were one."

As for discussion about the scene between Richard Duke of Gloucester and
Lady Anne, I was somewhat taken aback by the suggestion that a homely
woman is more apt to be a fool, grateful for any attention from a man,
no matter how inappropriate. A more interesting question, to my mind, is
why the scene needs to be so very public: in addition to Richard, Anne,
and the corpse of Henry VI, there are the supernumeraries carrying the
bier as well as the halberdiers who guard the procession. When we
consider the scene, perhaps the reactions we ought to worry about are
those of the spectators, rather than those of Lady Anne.

Fran Teague

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 23:39:23 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Angelo's Sexuality

Abigail Quart adds a s.d. to make Angelo look down at his tumescence
after Isabella has left him alone onstage in 2.2.  Alternatively the
staccato iambics  "What's this? What's this?" can refer to his moral
situation, not to his body.  On the other hand if she wants to push her
interpretation, she might well skip ahead to the beginning of 2.4 where
Angelo is describing an adrenaline rush, but seems to use the imagery of
tumescence.

                        Heaven in my mouth
        As if I did but only chew His name,
        And in my heart the strong and swelling evil
        Of my conception.

"Conception" does not have its modern genital meaning.  It means in
context my idea of her or my fantasy of her.  (Sh's word for our genital
"conception" is "engendering".)

What the carrion does in the sun is rot, surely.  Swelling is from
gasses trapped in a rotting corpse.  The physical language of this play
is quite strong and sometimes repellent.

I take "where prayers cross" to mean "where her prayers for her brother
cross with my prayers to compass her" where the image is of dueling
(crossed swords).  A sword was, moreover, cross shaped (hence Hamlet has
Horatio et alii swear on his sword in 1.5).  Or it might be even better
to interpret Angelo's phrase as meaning "where my prayers to heaven for
resistance to my lust are crosswise with my prayers that she will  be
pliable to my will." (Perhaps retaining in this case the sense of
dueling.)

The discussion of metrics in *MM* is very interesting, but we should not
forget that  where he is metrically  rough Shakespeare may be
deliberately breaking into verse with prose for shock effect or to
suggest an interruption of the thought or the action onstage.  A lot of
forlorn ink has been spent since the early eighteenth century in
attempts  to make regular verse out of deliberately mixed prose and
verse.  The place to start with  Sh.'s metrics is George T. Wright
*Shakespeare's Metrical Art* U. of Calif. Pr. 1988; p.b. 1991.  See esp.
chs. 1, 7-15. Wright's book is a winner.

All best to Abigail and others.
John
 

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