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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Cleopatra; Love
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1147.  Friday, 14 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 10:03:58 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra

[2]     From:   Mike Sirofchuck <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 08:01:43 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra

[3]     From:   Mike Sirofchuck <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 08:01:43 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra

[4]     From:   Kristine Batey <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 10:31:36 -0600
        Subj:   Extravagant love


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 10:03:58 -0500
Subject: 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra

> Mike Sirofchuk writes in defense of Cleopatra, "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." You might want to
> take another look at what SHAKESPEARE readily knew of Cleopatra-in
> North's Plutarch's _Life of Antony_. Cleo gets approximately half of
> that narrative, and it's a much more favorable account than anything
> Plutarch has to say about what's-his-name.  Moreover, the narrative
> makes all of the points about Cleopatra's erudition, her diplomacy, her
> regal dignity, etc., that Mike offers. And Plutarch, of course, was
> a Greek (Theban, actually) who ultimately went to live among, but never
> was one of, "the victors."

You might also want to take a look at Horace's Ode I, 37.

Jeff Myers

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Sirofchuck <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 08:01:43 -0800
Subject: 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra

The comments I posted on Cleopatra were those of my colleague, Leslie
Soughers, to whom I had forwarded the recent A&C posts.  I cannot take
credit for remarks.  (My master's thesis was on Yeats)  I will forward
all comments on Cleo to her.

Mike Sirofchuck

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Sirofchuck <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 08:01:43 -0800
Subject: 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1142  Re: Cleopatra

Actually, with regard to Cleopatra, having just seen the production at
the Shakespeare Theatre here in Washington, D.C., I'd have to agree with
our fellow poster.  In that production, the actress tended to rely on a
series of mannerisms designed to create an impression that bordered on
something out of Noel Coward, and it didn't work for me, fought with the
settings and costuming for attention in my opinion.

In a conversation after the show, I talked with a mentor of mine (Ed,
are you still out there?) and we agreed that the show was not as well
written as Dryden's adaptation, All For Love.  AFL has the benefit of
being a cohesive story, more neoclassic in its orientation, albeit
written as a warning against kings having to many mistresses, a very
different slant on the story.

Cheers,
Andy White
Arlington, VA

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristine Batey <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 10:31:36 -0600
Subject:        Extravagant love

>I'm far from convinced that Shakespeare's men are portrayed as loving
>far more deeply, lastingly, etc. than his women-what about the male
>characters in _Love's Labours Lost_, for instance, who swear extravagant
>oaths (either of scholarship, or of love) one moment, then break them
>the next?

I've had the same thought about Romeo: I know his passion for Juliet, so
hard on the heels of his passion for Rosalind, could be construed as
True Love overwhelming the affectation of romantic lover, but I've found
myself thinking that here's little Juliet, just turned 14 and already
bargained away to Paris, so romantic love doesn't seem like it'll ever
be an option for her. Suddenly, here's this older guy, and he's looking
at her like she's the sun, not like she's an excellent investment for
the future.  She's so sweet, and so smitten, that she doesn't realize
the line Romeo gives her is just a line-a literary convention, actually.
She also doesn't realize that she's supposed to following a script, as
well: it's her role to be aloof, maybe even scornful. According to the
convention, the way J reacts is the way the romantic lover really wants
his lady to react, (although according to the script she never does).
So when J is sweet and flattered and loving in return, R is ecstatic
that he hit pay dirt, but he's in over his head. The rest of the play
can be seen as things spinning out of control because R, who can't
believe his luck, also doesn't know how to handle it. (Analogy: the old
joke about the dog chasing cars: what would he do if he caught one?) J
is in love; R is acting out a romance, until suddenly he finds himself
doing improv.

Kristine Batey
 

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