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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: No Matter
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1154.  Saturday, 15 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Louis C Swilley <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Nov 1997 09:20:35 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1149  Re: No Matter

[2]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Nov 1997 15:55:42 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1149  Re: No Matter, Never Mind


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis C Swilley <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Nov 1997 09:20:35 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.1149  Re: No Matter
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1149  Re: No Matter

 Julia MacKenzie writes:

> On the question of 'matter', I am reminded of the use of the word in "As
> You Like It":
>
> The Duke Senior says of Jaques - "I love to cope him in these sullen
> fits,/ For then he's full of matter", in which case 'matter' can be
> interpreted as thoughts, ideas, arguments, emotions.  This
> interpretation can also be placed on both Troilus' and Hamlet's lines.
> "Mere words, no matter from the heart" - empty words, not real thoughts
> or ideas from the heart, and Hamlet's "words, words, words" being only
> that, with no meaning or emotion.
>
> What do you think?

I think it depends on the immediate and play-wide contexts in the play.
What do those contexts favor - or, if you are a director, what do they
allow?

L. Swilley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Nov 1997 15:55:42 -0500
Subject: 8.1149  Re: No Matter, Never Mind
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1149  Re: No Matter, Never Mind

Dave Evett writes:

>Beatrice's remark about words as "foul wind" suggests a contrast between
>mere moving air and something more substantial, closer to the sense of
>matter as solid material.

"Foul wind is but foul breath" (Bevington 5.2.52-53), says Beatrice.
Isn't she playing with the idea (how can I put this delicately?) of
"breaking wind"? I'm not sure that she's playing with philosophical
distinctions.  Remember that Early Modern thought was almost completely
materialistic: God and heaven were material entities. The soul could be
seen leaving the body.  Angels could dance on the head of a pin
(apparently). If everything is material, are some things more material
than others?

Julia MacKenzie writes:

>The Duke Senior says of Jaques - "I love to cope him in these sullen
>fits,/ For then he's full of matter", in which case 'matter' can be
>interpreted as thoughts, ideas, arguments, emotions.

Yes, true, but Jaques (as jakes) might be full of another kind of
matter, and the Duke may be punning-and inviting a laugh.

Shakespeare apparently likes to play with "matter."  When Polonius asks
Hamlet, "What is the matter, my lord?" (2.2.193), Hamlet replies,
"Between who?" (194). As Bevington points out Polonius means "subject"
matter, and Hamlet playfully understands "cause for a quarrel."

Playing with matter, I remain, Bill Godshalk
 

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