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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: April ::
Re: Forgiveness; Elopement; Ado; R3
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0338  Friday, 10 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 01:29:59 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0330  Re: The Tempest and  Chess. . .

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 15:27:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0327  Related to Merchant

[3]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 15:47:33 -0400
        Subj:   Beatrice and Don Pedro

[4]     From:   Tim Perfect <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 22:33:18
        Subj:   Re: R3


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 01:29:59 -0400
Subject: 9.0330  Re: The Tempest and  Chess. . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0330  Re: The Tempest and  Chess. . .

David Lindley wrote:

> In reply to Larry Weiss - Posthumous forgives Im[nn]ogen for wrying  just
> a little in Cymbeline - a forgiveness which Anne Barton discusses in her
> important essay on the play.

I think this one's a stretch.  Orlando implicitly forgiving his brother
is closer.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 15:27:21 -0400
Subject: 9.0327  Related to Merchant
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0327  Related to Merchant

Elopement is a strikingly frequent motif in Shakespeare.  It occurs in
at least 9 plays (one quarter of the canon): 5 comedies (TGV, Shr, MND,
MV, MWW), 2 tragedies (Rom, Oth), and 2 romances (Cym, WT).  The outcome
of all but the tragedies is indulgent: the young couples are sealed back
into their tribes without loss (though in Cym they are placed under
great and extensive strain).  I do not find this surprising: one of the
normative operations of Western comedy is to censure youthful resistance
to paternal authority verbally but sanction it structurally.

The treatment in MV differs from that of the other comedies (but not
Oth) in that the girl's father remains unreconciled.  But the
reconstructed community at the end of the play seems firmly to include
Lorenzo and Jessica.  Gratiano urges Nerissa to welcome them (3.2.237),
Portia installs them as her place-holders in Belmont before she leaves
for Venice, so that they will receive the respect and cooperation of the
resident staff, and in her role as Balthazar is at considerable pains to
insure their economic security (and rid her and Bassanio of
responsibility for them!) as part of the arrangements with Shylock.
They are present at the wrapping up, and although there are equivocal
elements in their scene together in 5.1 (esp. the references to doomed
lovers) these cluster at the beginning of the episode and can be treated
as more of the gentle mockery we have earlier seen in 3.5, and in any
case give way to the emphasis on "sweet harmony" so extensively explored
by Lorenzo later-which concludes by noting the "treasons, strategems,
and spoils" of the music-hating man (82-88).  Shylock suits the
description, but is not named here.

I have commented elsewhere in this forum on the way John Sichel's filmed
version of Jonathan Miller's stage production isolates and alienates
Jessica from her Christian associates, and leaves her solitary and
mournful at the end.  But these are extra-textual-nothing in the
language of the play tells us that Portia cannot remember Jessica's name
or that she always stands apart from the rest.  Nor can I find anything
in her speeches that at all clearly expresses regret at her action in
leaving Shylock for Lorenzo, with the former's treasure-chest under her
arm.  It may also be worth observing that productions of the play
usually cut the Lorenzo-Jessica scenes pretty heavily, so that they end
up seeming slighter than they are actually written.

All of which means only that, as Frank Whigham indicates, the text of
the play leaves us free to decide that we do not like what Jessica
does.  But to make such bricks we must find our own straw.

Dave Evett

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 15:47:33 -0400
Subject:        Beatrice and Don Pedro

Bill Godshalk tells us that Beatrice's rejection of Don Pedro puzzles
him.  She makes her reasons pretty clear (beyond the tacit one, that she
wants Benedick); he is "too costly to wear every day" (2.1.328).  That
is, as the Prince of Aragon and heir apparent to a powerful throne, he
must regard dynastic issues when he marries, and as Don John earlier
says, even Hero, daughter of the governor of Messina, to say nothing of
her orphaned cousin, "is no equal for his birth" (165).  The situation
is similar to that involving Hamlet and Ophelia.  The CSF production may
well have blurred these issues, of course (I am hard pressed to discern
what they think to gain by playing Benedick as somebody up from the
ranks-hard pressed to understand how they make that clear to the
audience, as far as that goes); in the rehearsal I saw in Cleveland
Pedro did not come across as particularly princely.

Dynastically,
Dave Evett

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tim Perfect <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 22:33:18
Subject:        Re: R3

>We are currently in the midst of rehearsals for a production of Richard
>III and the director has decided that he would like the show interpreted
>for the deaf during performance.  Unfortunately, our translator has
>little experience with Shakespeare and feels a little out of her depth
>in dealing with the language.  Does anyone know where I could
>find/buy/beg/borrow/steal a copy of an American Sign Language
>translation of Richard III?

You may want to contact Aaron Weir at Cleveland Signstage, which used to
be Fairmount Theatre for the Deaf. They did a production of The Comedy
of Errors, simultaneously signed and spoken. Their main number is
216-229-2838.  Hope that helps!

Tim Perfect
 

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