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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Isabella
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1113  Tuesday, 10 November 1998.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Nov 1998 09:48:37 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Isabella

[2]     From:   Jason N. Mical <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Nov 1998 12:08:08 -0600
        Subj:   Isabella Interpretations

[3]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Nov 1998 17:12:36 -0600
        Subj:   Isabella and Augustine


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 09 Nov 1998 09:48:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Isabella

I agree with everything Mary McNally writes in her recent post,
including her observation that taking the veil "was one of the few ways
[women] could pursue intellectual study as well as avoid years of
child-bearing." But does Isabella become a novice for those reasons? I
think that she is afraid to acknowledge a strong sexual drive that all
around her observe.  That's part of her attraction for both Angelo and
the Duke. In choosing to enter the convent, she also avoids using her
great rhetorical abilities.  These choices are life-denying, I argue,
and the business of the play is to get her out of the convent and into
the active life where her gifts can be properly used.

Best,
--Ed Taft

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jason N. Mical <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Nov 1998 12:08:08 -0600
Subject:        Isabella Interpretations

Having started the entire Isabella discussion, I would like to return
with a question; perhaps the question that started the debate.  If
Isabella is an intelligent woman trying to get out of becoming a baby
factory, or trying morally to rise above the degradation around her,
what is the point behind her speech imploring more restraint?  Why isn't
entering the monastic lifestyle enough?  She will be shielded from the
degradation and will not be expected to have children; why does she want
MORE restraint than restrictions on her looking at and talking to
members of the opposite sex at the same time?

Jason Mical
Drury College

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Monday, 09 Nov 1998 17:12:36 -0600
Subject:        Isabella and Augustine

John Cox and Ed Taft:

Claudio's lines about constrained sin being no sin are, as it were,
glossed by St. Augustine's comment on the rape of Lucretia in *The City
of God* "Si necessitatis est, peccatum non est."  On this Pelagian
doctrine, Augustine uncharacteristically agrees with his traditional
opponents.  The story in Bullough is helpful, but Sh. would find the
same situation in *Promos and Cassandra*.  It is noteworthy that in the
P & C story the woman is not a nun.  Sh. made her a postulant to
heighten the outrage Angelo "commits" against Isabella, and to support
the Christian ambiance of the play.

Cheers,
John Velz
 

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