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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: December ::
Re: TV Tempest; Rhetoric; Don John
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1281  Thursday, 10 December 1998.

[1]     From:   Hugh H. Davis <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Dec 1998 15:04:28 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1273  Re: TV Tempest; Rhetoric; LLL; Pop

[2]     From:   
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        Date:   Wednesday, 09 Dec 1998 16:08:43 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1273  Re: TV Tempest; Rhetoric; LLL; Pop

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Dec 1998 20:26:52 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1256  Re: Don John


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh H. Davis <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Dec 1998 15:04:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.1273  Re: TV Tempest; Rhetoric; LLL; Pop
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1273  Re: TV Tempest; Rhetoric; LLL; Pop

Robert Neblett wrote:

>On 12-8-98 Hugh Davis wrote:
>
>"Having seen a screener of this TV movie, I think my basic reaction is
>somewhat similar to Ms. Barton's.  While the film is visually splendid,
>and both Fonda and John Glover present excellent performances, the
>transformation is, in the end, flawed by some inconsistencies and an
>anxiousness to create a heroic Prospero for today's politically correct
>age.  I'll reserve full comments until it airs-lest I spoil NBC's tricks
>of adaptation for anyone planning on watching it-but I'm anxious to see
>what other list members think."
>
>Is portraying Prospero as a heroic figure a gesture of political
>correctness?  I always thought he was the hero of the piece.  Now,
>portraying Caliban as a hero could possibly be construed as a
>postcolonial attempt at reconciliation with the past through
>revisionism, I think.

Perhaps I should clarify.  The telefilm begins in antebellum South, and
Frederic Prosper (Fonda's Prospero-figure) is the kind master of a
plantation, while his brother Anthony (Jon Glover) is a cruel
scoundrel.  Once Frederic is forced into seclusion in the bayou, the
film does play with the ambivalence of his character-he is a good man,
yes, but he is also domineering and controlling, and part of this
control is his continued enslavement of Ariel (here, an escaped slave
still owned by Prosper; he is played by Michael Perrault, who was the
cross-dressing Mercutio in Baz Lurhmann's R&J).  There are several
opportunities early to make Frederic "nicer," for lack of a better term,
but the film lets him remain ambivalent.  My suggestion of a politically
correct gesture is when, late in the production (and I apologize if this
"ruins" the viewing for anyone anticipating Sunday's premiere), Prosper
has the epiphany that he has become removed and sheltered, so he helps
(at Ariel the slave's request) Gen. Grant.  The North are aided in their
war efforts by the magic of this Prospero.  Our villain today is out of
the past-the confederate-and he exists to let Prospero have a more
traditionally heroic finale.  Yes, he gives up his magic, et al, but
this transformation also insisted on a Civil War angle, which prompts-in
my mind-a pc moment near the end.

Happy Viewing,
Hugh Davis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           
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Date:           Wednesday, 09 Dec 1998 16:08:43 -0500
Subject: 9.1273  Re: TV Tempest; Rhetoric; LLL; Pop
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1273  Re: TV Tempest; Rhetoric; LLL; Pop

I'd add another reference to the growing list of rhetorical studies
provided on the list:  Randal Robinson's _Unlocking Shakespeare's
Language:  Help for the Teacher and Student_ (NCTA and ERIC
Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills, 1988).  I found it
very useful when I was first required to deal with Shakespeare's
language as rhetorical construct.  It has examples, activities and
exercises, so that students (and, I would imagine, actors) can not only
read what tropes and schemes Shakespeare employed, but how they were
used, and then put them to use themselves.

k

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Dec 1998 20:26:52 -0000
Subject: 9.1256  Re: Don John
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1256  Re: Don John

>It depends, surely, on what is meant by "stood out against". OED gives
>two meanings which seem to be relevant here:
>(a) to resist "his spirit is come  in, That so stood out against the
>holy church" - King John, V, ii, 71
>(b) to refuse to take part in (a joint enterprise of some kind)
<snip>
>Ken Meaney

Um. (OED revisited) --  headword STAND.

There are three definitions which seem relevant:

67 stand against --  a. 'to withstand, oppose, resist ...'
99  stand out -- b. 'not to take part in ... an undertaking ...'
99  stand out -- c. 'to resist, persist in opposition or resistance...'

"stand out against" is cited three times in 99 c.: _King John_, and
later in 1806 and 1891, but not in either 67 a or 99 b.

The OED doesn't give a separate listing for 'stand out against' as such,
but the combination of the three words would suggest both persistance
(stand out) and resistance (stand against).  I'd go for 99 c. as the
closest to what Shakespeare means in Much Ado.

There's always the problem with OED definitions (at least for me) as to
how far they're based on the quotations cited, and how far they also
draw on materials not in the published text.  Here, I feel we have as
much right as the original editors to construct our own sense of what
the words mean.  Though for once I agree with the definition for 99 c.

Maybe someone with access to the OED on CD could run a search for all
the instances among the citations of the full phrase, "stand out
against"?

Robin Hamilton
 

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