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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: February ::
Qs: Adriana in COE 2.1.101; Was Shakespeare a Catholic
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0132  Friday, 13 February 1998.

[1]     From:   Eric Armstrong <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Feb 1998 16:32:30 -0400
        Subj:   Adriana in COE 2.1.101

[2]     From:   David N. Beauregard <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Feb 1998 19:58:22 EST
        Subj:   Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric Armstrong <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Feb 1998 16:32:30 -0400
Subject:        Adriana in COE 2.1.101

        But, too unruly deer, he breaks the pale,
        And feeds from home; poor I am but his stale.

When working with an actor on this speech, we looked for information on
the word "stale". The word is glossed in most places as "a dupe" or
"laughing stock" and this is what Schmidt suggests. However, when we
read other uses of "stale" in Schmidt, I found that I liked version 3
best - "that which has become vapid and tasteless, or is worn out by use
(Err.II,  1, 101?); hence almost equivalent to a prostitute:" I also
liked Schmidt's quibble on deer=dear.

My question is why the "dupe" theory? Stale links to the metaphor of
"feeding", doesn't it? I can see that being worn out with use, treated
like a prostitute,  might then make you feel like a dupe, but isn't that
reaching? Am I missing something etymological here?

eric

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David N. Beauregard <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Feb 1998 19:58:22 EST
Subject:        Re: Was Shakespeare a Catholic?

I'm very late to this discussion, but I would like to point out that the
late 17th C tradition coming from Richard Davies that Shakespeare "dyed
a papist" is confirmed by Prospero's Epilogue in The Tempest. Prospero's
request for intercessory prayers in view of his eventual death concludes
with the lines "As you from crimes would pardoned be,/Let your
indulgence set me free." In view of the preceding lines having to do
with prayer, the play on the word "indulgence" almost forces a
theological reading. Moreover, the overall dramatic "posture" of
Prospero is distinctly Roman Catholic in that we have a figure facing
death "working" out his salvation in fear and trembling (not calm
faith), asking for intercessory prayers (not simply God's mercy), and
conceiving of prayer from others as "relieving" him from despair (aka
the doctrine of "works"). Compare the Council of Trent with the Homilies
(Exhortation vs. the feare of death). For the complete argument, with
fuller evidence, see my article "New Light on Shakespeare's Catholicism:
Prospero's Epilogue in The Tempest" in Renascence 2.3 (Spring 1997). If
anyone can convincingly answer my argument, or even offer a
counter-argument, I would be greatly interested.

David N. Beauregard
 

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