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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Cleopatra and Antony; No Matter
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1162.  Monday, 17 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Joe Shea <
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        Date:   Saturday, 15 Nov 1997 08:53:38 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1155 Re: Cleopatra and Antony

[2]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Saturday, 15 Nov 1997 16:31:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1155  Re: Cleopatra and Antony

[3]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Saturday, 15 Nov 1997 12:49:12 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1154  Re: No Matter


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joe Shea <
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Date:           Saturday, 15 Nov 1997 08:53:38 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 8.1155 Re: Cleopatra and Antony
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1155 Re: Cleopatra and Antony

I thought some on this list might be interested in a review of a new
Antony & Cleopatra in the current AR Theater Review.  It's at

        http://www.american-reporter.com/current/35.html

Best,
Joe Shea
Editor-in-Chief
The American Reporter
http://www.newshare.com:9999

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Saturday, 15 Nov 1997 16:31:18 -0500
Subject: 8.1155  Re: Cleopatra and Antony
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1155  Re: Cleopatra and Antony

Kristine Batey writes:

> C's death is no more suicide than the biblical Samson's: she's
>far above and beyond her would-be captors.

If anyone has forgotten, I would like to point out that Richard A. Levin
and I have argued that Caesar nudges Cleopatra to commit suicide. Antony
is basically a pawn in an imperial chess match between Caesar and
Cleopatra.  When Antony commits suicide in Act IV, the two chief players
face off in Act V, and Cleopatra blinks. I think she loves Antony-in her
fashion, but, at Charmian's suggestion (4.13.4), Cleopatra sends Antony
word of her (supposed) death. Is there any doubt how Antony will react?
Is there any doubt how Cleopatra will react when Dolabella tells her
that she will be sent, captive, to Rome? Caesar is the unmoved mover of
Sonnet 94.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Saturday, 15 Nov 1997 12:49:12 -0500
Subject: 8.1154  Re: No Matter
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1154  Re: No Matter

>"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?

Like Beatrice, Bill Godshalk seems bent on frighting my words out of
their right sense. There is a clear range or hierarchy of materiality:
granite is more substantial than fresh bread, bread than water, water-or
blood-than breath or wind.  Beatrice (less "squaymous / Of fartyng" than
Bill, perhaps) may indeed imply that Benedick's "mere words" to Claudio
have no more meaning or value than the similarly labile matter issued
from his lower orifice; she wants, like Mercutio, to "make it a word and
a blow," because the word all by itself vanishes into the air and is
gone, while the blow changes things substantially-in Mercutio's case
leaves a hole big enough to let the soul escape.  Touchstone develops
the notion at length (Norton *Ado* 5.4.66-75, beginning "He sent me
word. . . . I sent him word again . . . .  he would send me word> . .
.").

But I must confess myself puzzled by Bill's insistence on the
materialism of early modern thought; if medieval culture (angels
tripping the light fantastic on the heads of pins) had tended that way,
and passed that tendency along, the Renaissance had brought a strong
infusion of Platonic idealistic dualism.  Marlowe and Shakespeare may,
indeed, have hung on to the old tradition, but the other was active in
Spenser and Donne.  But, again, that was not my point.

Materially,
Dave Evett
 

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