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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: April ::
Re: Jessica
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0374  Tuesday, 21 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Tom Clayton <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Apr 1998 08:48:51
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0367  Re: Jessica

[2]     From:   Steve Urkowitz <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Apr 1998 09:19:20 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0357  Re: Jessica and Ann Page

[3]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Apr 1998 10:26:58 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Lawyers and Monkeys

[4]     From:   Kristine Batey <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Apr 1998 09:52:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0367  Re: Jessica

[5]     From:   Ben Schneider <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Apr 1998 13:03:43 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0367  Re: Jessica

[6]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Apr 1998 01:30:58 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0367  Re: Jessica


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Clayton <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Apr 1998 08:48:51
Subject: 9.0367  Re: Jessica
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0367  Re: Jessica

Re Clifford Stetner's exposition (9.0367): how do we know that there is
an allegorical level, and if there is one that this is what it
signifies?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Apr 1998 09:19:20 EDT
Subject: 9.0357  Re: Jessica and Ann Page
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0357  Re: Jessica and Ann Page

About reconciliations . . .

You might want to look at the contrasting ends of the Quarto and Folio
MERRY WIVES.  Q gives very clear speeches and dictates very obvious
actions that pull Ann literally back into the bosom of her family.
Embraces, jolly words, talk of celebratory feasts and dancing.  In
contrast, in the Folio only she comes back from the church and asks,
specifically, to be forgiven.  Ma and Pa Page welcome Fenton into their
family, but they don't say a word of welcome to daughter Ann.  Nor does
she say anything else after her plea.  And in F we have none of the
"Shakespeare's Festive Comedy" details that make the Quarto so much more
Merrie Merrie Olde Englande, like tasty plums and servant-boys.  Check
it out.  (See my essay in the Sam Schoenbaum festschrift for a longer
discussion of this scene-end.)

So the invisible hands that reshaped the Q/F WIVES texts
however-whenever they did (since no transcendent author could have done
it?), these author-functionoids  seem to have been seriously
contemplating some of  the issues raised in this SHAKSPER string.  As my
namesake says in Folio LEAR,  "This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I
live before his time."  Hi, John.

Ever,
Steve  Foolowitz

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Apr 1998 10:26:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Lawyers and Monkeys

Dear Larry,

Maybe the monkey should resent Schneider's analogy. (Just kidding,
Larry.)

Yours in the law,
Ed Taft

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristine Batey <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Apr 1998 09:52:05 -0500
Subject: 9.0367  Re: Jessica
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0367  Re: Jessica

>Ben Schneider wrote:
>
>>  Bassiano's giving away Portia's ring to pay back "the lawyer" is an
>> analog of Jessica's giving away
>> Leah's ring to buy a monkey.

And Larry Weiss replied:

>I think I should resent that.

Wait a minute, Larry. You're a MONKEY?

Kristine Batey

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Schneider <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Apr 1998 13:03:43 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 9.0367  Re: Jessica
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0367  Re: Jessica

Larry Weiss thinks he should resent my equating Leah's ring to buy a
monkey with Portia's ring to pay a lawyer.

If Larry had read further he would have seen that the second transaction
took place at a heroic level, in my opinion.  The lawyer behaved
splendidly and was splendidly rewarded.

Yrs
BEN SCHNEIDER
OK?

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Apr 1998 01:30:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0367  Re: Jessica
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0367  Re: Jessica

To John Drakakis: I didn't mean to suggest a "sobbing Jessica locked out
of Belmont". I certainly am trying to avoid "reducing the competing
discourses of the play to a straightforward binary opposition". I am,
however, interested in more recent readings of the play which stress the
similarities between what Harold Bloom calls the play's mighty
opposites: Portia and Shylock- readings that stress the similarities
between these characters as outsiders, and thus focus on the differences
between Portia's strategic performative dishonesty and Shylock's less
effective rigidity, as a way of gaining power amongst the Christian
males that dominate this society. Such a reading, I believe, though as
partial as any other reading of the play, would figure the much touted
"binary" opposition between "Christian" and "Jew" as more marginal than
the "binary" opposition between "male" and "female". Yet, I do not wish
to erase the Christian-Jew conflict as much as to see it as a subplot. I
do not mean to suggest the play TRANSCENDS "the Jewish question" or
"patriarchy" for that matter, but I wonder if the tension between
patriarchy and anti-semitism which Drakakis, Evett and others have been
employing is adequate to explain what happens to Jessica once she is
married and Christian in Belmont.

What I meant by her disillusionment with Lorenzo in Belmont I take from
the way in which she argues with him, about "love", about music, and
about his claim to be to her what Portia is to Bassanio....  Jessica is
not presented as the most effective arguer. Lorenzo gets the last word
with his "music of the spheres" speech, but Lorenzo's "theft" is called
into question in other ways...... Yes, what is inexcusable under
patriarchy is excused because of Christianity by The DUKE, etc., but THE
PLAY (and not just my reading of it) does clearly present Lorenzo as
someone who is USING Christianity to win over Jessica's love, and
Jessica seems to be getting hip to this fact in her last scenes. The
stichomythia that begins ACT 5 does NOT indicate that Jessica feels
"saved" by her husband as she did earlier. The earlier dialogue between
Gobbo and Lorenzo (in which Lorenzo claims he shall answer better TO THE
COMMONWEALTH his elopement of Jessica than Gobbo would be able to defend
getting THE MOOR pregmant) places the conflict in a perspective that is
more legal than religious, and calls attention to the arbitrariness of
laws, and  since Jessica is listening to this, we may assume that it
informs her subsequent arguments with Lorenzo, and parallels the
conflict between Bassanio and Portia which IS the climax of the play and
not just a loosening of tensions and an attempt to make the play safer
for comedy after the trial scene. I hope this serves as a partial answer
to Messers Drakakis and Evett. Chris Stroffolino
 

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