Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: April ::
Re: Merchant of Venice
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0311  Saturday, 4 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Steve Sohmer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 3 Apr 1998 08:28:20 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0306  Re: Monkeys

[2]     From:   Ed Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 03 Apr 1998 09:13:23 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   SHK 9.0289  Anti-Semitism

[3]     From:   Nicholas Ranson <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 03 Apr 1998 11:21:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0306  Re: Monkeys


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 3 Apr 1998 08:28:20 EST
Subject: 9.0306  Re: Monkeys
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0306  Re: Monkeys

Shakespeare distinguished between monkeys and apes. A "monkey" was
(usually) a monkey. But an "ape" could be either a an ape or a priest.
The link words were "primate," which doubles for ape and archbishop, and
"martin" which doubles for monkey in the tale of Reynard (and Wycliff's
Isaiah) and was also the name of the monk who began the Reformation.

In this light can anyone guess the identity of the religious figure to
whom Hamlet is referring when he says: "No, in despite of sense and
secrecy, Unpeg the basket on the house's top, Let the birds fly, and,
like the famous ape [monk, priest, archbishop, apostle, Martin], To try
conclusions in the basket creep, And break your own neck down" (2520-4)?

Steve Sohmer

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 03 Apr 1998 09:13:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Anti-Semitism.
Comment:        SHK 9.0289  Anti-Semitism.

Jacob Goldberg's argument that the contract is legal is right on
target.  If it were not considered legal, Portia would not have to go
through with her "trick" to save Antonio.  Goldberg is also right when
he implies that the play as a whole has a split focus, that Shakespeare
might have been "satirizing the Christian classes while catering to the
anti-semitism of the Christian masses." I think his statement explains
the effects of the play and part of the cause. But I also think that
Shakespeare himself was conflicted about some of the issues the play
raises and that confliction is mirrored in the play on multiple levels,
from symbolism to character to scenic design to the overall design of
The Merchant of Venice.

I would suggest that from Merchant to Othello to All's Well, Shakespeare
is working out his own attitude towards what postmodernists call "the
other." I would also suggest that while we cannot be proud of the
implied attitude of the author (sometimes) in Merchant, we can be very
proud of his final conclusion, which he puts into the mouth of the
absolutely worthless Parolles in All's Well: "There's place and means
for every man alive."

Hats of to Jacob Goldberg for his acute observations.

Yours,
Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nicholas Ranson <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 03 Apr 1998 11:21:25 -0500
Subject: 9.0306  Re: Monkeys
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0306  Re: Monkeys

I remember reading somewhere that there do exist several 15/16 C.
contracts recorded in Venetian courts that specify loss of limb for
failure to meet the contract's terms. Put another way, are there any
examples of any such contracts contemporary to MV known to the group.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.