1998

Re: The Tempest

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0310  Saturday, 4 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Terry Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 3 Apr 1998 09:10:00 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: The Tempest

[2]     From:   Louis Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 3 Apr 1998 08:22:27 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0305  Re: The Tempest

[3]     From:   Julie Blumenthal <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 3 Apr 1998 09:57:51 EST
        Subj:   Re: Tempest

[4]     From:   Hugh Howard Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 3 Apr 1998 10:29:25 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0305  Re: The Tempest

[5]     From:   Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 3 Apr 1998 11:10:32 EST
        Subj:   SHK 9.0305  Re: The Tempest

[6]     From:   William Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 03 Apr 1998 14:10:06 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0305  Re: The Tempest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terry Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 3 Apr 1998 09:10:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: The Tempest

Billy Houck said,

> What strikes me about the Tempest is not the 20th century revisionist
> view that tells us that colonialism is bad, but the fact that this is
> the only Shakespeare play whose climax is forgiveness.

*The Tempest* is not the only one: Robert Grams Hunter, in his 1964
*Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness*, also put *Much Ado*, *AWW*,
*Cymbeline*, *The Winter's Tale*, and *Measure for Measure* in the
category of plays that feature "a denouement of forgiveness."

Terry Ross

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 3 Apr 1998 08:22:27 -0600
Subject: 9.0305  Re: The Tempest
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0305  Re: The Tempest

And "Measure for Measure"?  "Much Ado"? "Winter's Tale"?

>What strikes me about the Tempest is not the 20th century revisionist
>view that tells us that colonialism is bad, but the fact that this is
>the only Shakespeare play whose climax is forgiveness.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julie Blumenthal <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 3 Apr 1998 09:57:51 EST
Subject:        Re: Tempest

>What strikes me about the Tempest is not the 20th century revisionist
>view that tells us that colonialism is bad, but the fact that this is
>the only Shakespeare play whose climax is forgiveness.

Pardon gentles all if I cite the obvious here, but as one who's
fascinated by this particular theme in Shakespeare, I MUST correct Mr
Houck's statement here.  It seems to me you can't throw a rock without
hitting a Shakespeare play which either directly or indirectly has
forgiveness as a major element in the climax/ resolution.

The obvious inclusions are the rest of the romances - mustn't Hermione
forgive Leontes in order to come down off her pedestal and take up with
him again? And it strikes me as well, having just seen the Cheek by Jowl
production of Much Ado (which, in fact, I'd love to hear others'
thoughts on if anyone else in the BAM area has seen it), that Hero must
do a good deal of forgiving as well in the last scene.

This is, of course, not to downplay the role of forgiveness in Tempest,
merely to underline that it exists elsewhere!

As long as we're seeking new threads, I think this whole concept - the
role of forgiveness and how that role changes and matures throughout the
canon - is highly worthy of discussion.  I.e., in the earlier comedies,
it's a sort of 'taken-for-granted' plot device in order to get couples
back together for a happy ending, whereas in later plays it... Any
takers?

Julie Blumenthal

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Howard Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 3 Apr 1998 10:29:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.0305  Re: The Tempest
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0305  Re: The Tempest

Jennifer Jones asked about films of the Tempest and  about modern
interpretations.  I'm beginning research on films, now, so I'm also
interested in responses.  The Tempest has of course become -Prospero's
Books-, Mazursky's -Tempest-, and Jarman's -The Tempest-, as well as
-Forbidden Planet-.  I've read that -Yellow Sky-, a western with Gregory
Peck, is based on it, but I don't know much about it.  Can anyone supply
me with information (or even a copy)?

Hugh Davis

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 3 Apr 1998 11:10:32 EST
Subject: Re: The Tempest
Comment:        SHK 9.0305  Re: The Tempest

The last time I directed The Tempest, what brought it all into focus was
this observation made by my friend Robert Patrick: This is a play about
a race against time.... will Prospero finish what he has set out to do
before Ariel gains his freedom?

Billy Houck
posting short

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 03 Apr 1998 14:10:06 -0600
Subject: 9.0305  Re: The Tempest
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0305  Re: The Tempest

In answer to Charlie Mitchell's question about the command of the ship,
a Master is a Captain-see Macbeth "Master of the Tiger."  So fall our
theories.

WPW

SSE/St Peter--SOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0309  Friday, 3 April 1998.

From:           The Shenandoah Shakespeare Express <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 2 Apr 1998 17:03:58 EST
Subject:        SSE/St Peter--SOS

The Shenandoah Shakespeare Express will perform benefit shows for
tornado-stricken Gustavus Adolphus College in St Peter, MN.  On Monday,
April 6th, the SSE will perform Taming of the Shrew at Illusion Theatre
in Minneapolis at 8pm.  Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, will sponsor
Richard III  on Thursday, April 9th.  All proceeds from these two
benefit performances will go to Gustavus Adolphus College to help
rebuild their campus.

The SSE was booked to perform a three-day residency at Gustavus.  We
have waived the balance of our fees, and following our Monday night
benefit performance, we will perform two community outreach shows on
Tuesday and Wednesday at the First Lutheran Church in St. Peter.

Macalaster College, in St. Paul, MN, has graciously offered the SSE
lodging to help make our Minneapolis benefit possible.

We hope that those of you in the Minneapolis or St Paul areas will
support our efforts to aid Gustavus Adolphus.  Come to the shows.  Call
a friend to join you.  Thank you.

Old-fashioned Vocabulary Drills

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0307  Friday, 3 April 1998.

From:           Roy Flannagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 08:16:16 -0500
Subject:        Old-fashioned Vocabulary Drills

Is it considered horribly old-fashioned nowadays to ask undergraduate
and graduate students what the words in Shakespeare plays mean?  Does
any professor on this list give examinations that are partly comprised
of definitions of "vocabulary words" (words requiring notes but quoted
in context)?

Why has this practice passed out of use for many years?  Or is that just
my imagination?

Roy Flannagan

Re: "When"; Falstaff; Titus; Professionals; Theory

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0308  Friday, 3 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Lisa Hopkins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 3 Apr 1998 11:43:00 +0100
        Subj:   When You See Me, You Know Me

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 11:52:57 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 9.0299  Re: Falstaff

[3]     From:   John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 2 Apr 1998 23:51:10 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Titus and Ravenscroft

[4]     From:   Simon Malloch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 23:05:25 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0293  Final Words Re: SHAKSPER Description

[5]     From:   Dana Spradley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 2 Apr 1998 08:49:53 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0302  Re: Literary and Scientific Theory


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lisa Hopkins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 3 Apr 1998 11:43:00 +0100
Subject:        When You See Me, You Know Me

When I was compiling a list of productions of Renaissance plays in
Britain, 1880-1987, I didn't find any modern productions of _When You
See Me, You Know Me_ , but William Poel directed one at the Holborn
Empire on 10 July 1927, which is discussed by J.A.B. Somerset in 'Samuel
Rowley's _When You See Me, You Know Me_' (unpublished M.A. dissertation,
University of Birmingham, 1964), pp.civ-cxxv.

Lisa Hopkins
Sheffield Hallam University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 11:52:57 -0800
Subject: Re: Falstaff
Comment:        SHK 9.0299  Re: Falstaff

Ed Taft kindly asked me,

> Do you agree, Mike, or do you have a different view?

Dear Dale, Ed, & Bill,

Thank you all for responding to my query about Falstaff as a misleader
of youth.  I agree, Ed, it is not an easy question, and all of you
raised excellent points.  Since it is easier to split hairs than atoms,
reference recent post-modernist discussions, I do have a slightly
different reading.  But first -

I admire the way all of you based your answers on the text.  You could
have added that whilst Falstaff did have white hairs, he was no more
Satan than he was a misleader of youth - which amounts to the same thing
- and that Hal knows that as well.

It is true.  We don't see him do a lot of misleading on stage, save by
example.  Still,  if example is all Hal is referring to, then that is
what he means when he calls Falstaff a misleader, isn't it?  If he said
what he meant, then he is fundamentally right.

True also that Hal is speaking for his Father when he says this, but I
suspect the all the sentiments in that scene are Hal's, even if his old
man would share them.

The problem with confining our evaluation to the incidents of the play
is the relationships began before the play does.  I think Falstaff's
influence on his entourage occurs both on and off stage.  I think Hal's
description covers Falstaff as a life force, for lack of a better term,
and is intended to fit him both on and off stage.

I agree that the incidents in the plays indicate Sir John was pretty
incompetent as a corruptor of youth, or to include Merry Wives, of
women.  Even his boy rebels in 2H4.  Hal's soliloquies make it clear
that he is never really under Falstaff's spell.  Poins is enigmatic to
me, though as Bill points out, the Gadshill incident springs from Poins
imagination.

I'm just making informed guesses here, but my best guess is that Hal
genuinely sees Falstaff as a corrupter, and has experience - unclear
from the text what - to back it up, and the incidents of the play are
not intended to undermine that take on the character.  When I see the
scene on stage, I don't question Hal's accusation.

I think that if we split up the catalog of Falstaff's faults, we are
splitting hairs.

I can also accept this interpretation were I hair splitting: Hal may not
refer to actual corruption, but attempted corruption.  Falstaff does try
and fail again, and again, and again...

No, it isn't easy.  It isn't clear.  I'll go with the way it plays on
stage.

Eek!  I have to go subject myself to a radio interview - I hate radio
interviews -  so I can't revise and polish this the way I would like.
Please forgive.  And please rebuke my ideas.

All the best,
Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 2 Apr 1998 23:51:10 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Titus and Ravenscroft

Ravenscroft is not a reliable authority.  His changes in Shak.'s *Titus*
are nearly all for the worse.  See "Topoi in Edward Ravenscroft's
Indictment of *Titus Andronicus*" *Modern Philology*   83 (1985):
45-50. .  date pp.  I raised the possibility of teaching Titus with
*King Lear* in a recent posting called "Untaught Plays".  For decades I
taught* Lear* first in an undergraduate Sh's tragedies course and then
back to *Titus* as a rough (very rough) draft for *King Lear*
(Abdicating King syndrome and all hell breaks loose) and then
chronologically onward through the canon.  Students liked it.  Shows
just how far down Shak.  started and how well he ended.  Good chance to
get into drama theory by pointing out exactly what went badly in *Titus*
and better in *Lear*. (e.g. revenge structure).

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Malloch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 23:05:25 +0800
Subject: 9.0293  Final Words Re: SHAKSPER Description
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0293  Final Words Re: SHAKSPER Description

Dale Lyles says...

> it is my distinct impression that the real professionals
> do not share their info very readily.  They have too much at stake, I
> would think.

It seems that at least in some cases,  "professionals" are reluctant to
discuss academic material on the internet - via email or list - with
otherwise anonymous individuals,  lest they have their material stolen.
I know that this has happened to at least one academic;  he is now
reluctant to discuss his research on-line,  especially in on-line forums
like lists or newsgroups.

Most of the more eminent Shakespearean specialists make little or no
appearance on this list,  which, in my opinion, does not way weaken
SHAKESPER at all. Those that do keep it to a minimum.  Whether they like
to think so or not,  some have more to lose than others.

Simon Malloch.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Spradley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 2 Apr 1998 08:49:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 9.0302  Re: Literary and Scientific Theory
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0302  Re: Literary and Scientific Theory

Pardon me for living, Terence. Let's just say literary theorists
"promoted" the concept. And I was hoping someone might take the bait of
Johnson to offer an interesting reply. This doesn't qualify.

Re: Monkeys

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0306  Friday, 3 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Helen Ostovich <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Apr 1998 14:39:54 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0292  Re: Anti-Semitism

[2]     From:   Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 10:07:18 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   SHK 9.029  Anti-Semitism

[3]     From:   Ben Schneider <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 12:13:20 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0298  Re: Monkeys

[4]     From:   Jacob Goldberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 2 Apr 1998 16:25:10 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0289  Re: Anti-Semitism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen Ostovich <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 1 Apr 1998 14:39:54 -0500
Subject: 9.0292  Re: Anti-Semitism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0292  Re: Anti-Semitism

Re Frank Whigham's question about monkeys:  there's that reference in
the Induction of _Bartholomew Fair_ to satirically trained monkeys,
fondly recalled by the Stagekeeper, who longs for the stunts pulled by
:  "a juggler with a well-educated ape to come over the chain for the
King of England and back again for the Prince, and sit still on his arse
for the Pope and the King of Spain!"

Several other plays of circa 1600 make similar references.  See, eg,
_Ram Alley_.

Helen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 10:07:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Anti-Semitism
Comment:        SHK 9.029  Anti-Semitism

Dear John and Bill,

John Owen thinks my comments on Jessica are wildly romantic. Maybe so.
But I think that his comments minimize the emotional impact of this
whole monkey business episode. Jessica's actions from the moment she
leaves her house repudiate her heritage. She may "convert" to
Christianity seeking a better life; in fact, I think she does. But that
does not change what she rejects. Maybe to her, the monkey symbolizes a
new life that imitates art, as Bill implies, but that interpretation
does not really negate mine. Rather, it demonstrates the conflicted
ambivalence that so haunts this play. As Bill and John, know, symbolism
in Shakespear e is usually multi-faceted.

But I want to get back to Leah. (It means "cow."). Leah is not in the
play, just her name. She is not in Shylock's house, either. And Jessica
never mentions her, though she talks about her father and Lancelot
Gobbo. It is not wildly romantic to infer that Leah is now dead. After
all, that would make Shylock a widower and reinforce the interpretation
that he and Antonio are alter egos, that both are The Merchant of
Venice. These are inferences, of course, but they seem reasonable to me.
It also seems to me that both John and Bill construct interpretations
that try to duck the central issue of anti-semitism. Sometimes, John,
what is left out of a play is as important as what is in it.

Yours,
Ed

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Schneider <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 02 Apr 1998 12:13:20 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 9.0298  Re: Monkeys
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0298  Re: Monkeys

I think we should pay more attention to what the play says about rings.
The whole last act is ringing and ringing.  Gratiano says a ring's a
hoop of gold with cutler's poetry on it.  So do I.

BEN

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jacob Goldberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 2 Apr 1998 16:25:10 EST
Subject: 9.0289  Re: Anti-Semitism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0289  Re: Anti-Semitism

In SHK 9.0280, Larry Weiss asks, rhetorically, I think, <What authority
does Mr. Goldberg have for the notion that the contract (between Shylock
and Antonio) is legal?> and answers his own question <Portia ia hardly a
reliable source>.

Authority?  We can hardly expect to find a specific statute in the law
books of Shakespeare's Venice which specifically allowed the exaction of
a pound of flesh in lieu of repayment of a defaulted loan.  But
Shakepeare was very careful to make his audience aware that there was no
question in the minds of all the characters involved that the contract
was in fact a legal one.

Antonio and Shylock, both experienced businessmen in Venice knew that
the contract was legal when they made it. They had their signatures
notarized to be technically correct.  Bassanio urged Antonio not to sign
it because he too accepted its legality and its enforceability and was
fearful of the possible consequences.

Before the default occurred, Antonio learned that his wealth had been
lost at sea and that he would be unable to pay Shylock.  At no time did
he suggest that the contract was illegal and therefore unenforceable.

In the trial scene, in the Venetian Court of Justice, the Duke welcomes
Antonio with a great show of pity for his plight, but has been unable
(as Antonio acknowledges in his reply) to find any lawful means of
voiding the contract.  Quite evidently, both know that the contract was
legal and enforceable, and that the only way to save Antonio's life was
to seek mercy, not justice.

This is what Portia does.  And while Portia, as Portia is not, as Mr.
Weiss points out, necessarily reliable, Portia in the Court of Justice
is in the guise of a legal expert and nothing she says is ever
contradicted by anyone in the business city of Venice, not by lawyers,
not by businessmen, not by the court.

And what does Portia say?  (To Shylock) <Of such strange nature is the
suit you follow that the Venetian law cannot impugn you.>  If the
contract were illegal, would Venetian law be unable to void it?  She
asks Antonio whether he acknowledges the contract as his, and when he
does so, she appeals to Shylock for mercy.  Had the contract been
illegal, there would have been no need for mercy.

Portia (Bellario) recognized the contract as legal from the start.
(Bellario, in his letter to the Duke, had written that he had given
Balthasar (Portia) his opinion, and that opinion obviously did not
question the legality of the contract.

Portia says, a little further on, <lawfully, by this (the contract), the
Jew may claim a pound of flesh>.  Then, still before the trap is sprung,
<A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine; the court awards it and
the law doth give it>...  followed by <the law allows it and the court
awards it>.

Then Portia springs her cute trap, which has been likened to giving the
right to walk across a field, and penalizing the walker for leaving
footprints.  But even as she springs the trap, she acknowledges the
legality of the contract when she says <take then thy bond, take then
thy pound of flesh...but!>.

After Shylock offers to take the money, Portia, who is apparently the
legal consultant, the prosecuting attorney, and the judge, disguised as
Bellario, tells Shylock <take thy forfeiture> and tells Bassanio
<he(Shylock) shall have justice and his bond>.

At no time, from the beginning to the end is the legality of that
contract questioned, not by the principals, not by the Duke, not by
anyone.

Rather than questioning the legality of the contract, it might be
appropriate to ask whether Shakespeare might have been satirizing the
Christian classes while catering to the anti-Semitism of the Christian
masses.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.