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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Representations of Clergy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0973  Friday, 9 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Richard Dutton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 8 Oct 1998 14:51:00 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640

[2]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Thursday, 8 Oct 1998 11:18:33 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640

[3]     From:   Helen Ostovich <
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        Date:   Thursday, 8 Oct 1998 12:06:23 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy

[4]     From:   Terence Martin <
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        Date:   Thursday, 08 Oct 1998 11:10:22 -0500
        Subj:   Clergy Representations

[5]     From:   Ed Pixley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 08 Oct 1998 14:23:43 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640

[6]     From:   Michael Yogev <
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        Date:   Friday, 09 Oct 1998 01:18:23 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy

[7]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Friday, 09 Oct 1998 17:52:52 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Dutton <
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Date:           Thursday, 8 Oct 1998 14:51:00 +0100
Subject: 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640

I think the Cardinal in *Women Beware Women* is an interesting equivocal
case. I played the role in a college production 20 years ago, and
couldn't make up my mind about his motives. Everything he *says* is
morally impeccable - he denounces the adultery of his brother Duke and
Bianca. When this seems to win round the Duke he does allow himself some
satisfaction at being the secondary agent of God's will: but is that
improper? Bianca is convinced the Cardinal is only interested in
ensuring that he remains heir to the kingdom - which may be true, but
she is biased, and the jury is out.

Richard Dutton

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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Date:           Thursday, 8 Oct 1998 11:18:33 -0400
Subject: 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640

>A history colleague asked me if there were any positive representations
>of clergymen in early modern drama, and aside from the questionable
>influence of Friar Lawrence, and possibly Friars Bacon and Bungay, I
>couldn't think of any clergymen who seemed anything other than
>hypocritical or downright nasty (as in Webster).

Hmm.  I don't know about unequivocal, but it seems to me that while
Friar Bonaventure in *Tis Pity She's a Whore* is rather mean and scary,
there's no suggestion that he's insincere.

Might this have something to do with the fact that many, if not most, of
the clergy depicted are Roman Catholic?

MDA

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen Ostovich <
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Date:           Thursday, 8 Oct 1998 12:06:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy

Many thanks to those of you who supplied names of clergymen in early
modern drama.  I have passed on the messages to the now overwhelmed
historian!

Helen

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Martin <
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Date:           Thursday, 08 Oct 1998 11:10:22 -0500
Subject:        Clergy Representations

Alan Somerset notes that:

"And while Friar Laurence fails in Romeo and Juliet, his motives are not
corrupt."

However, it would depend on the audience's point of view.  He is clearly
willing to marry them without parental consent, a sore point with many
Elizabethan parents.

Terence Martin

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Pixley <
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Date:           Thursday, 08 Oct 1998 14:23:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0952  Q: Representations of Clergy 1560-1640

Certainly Friar Francis in Much Ado.  He is the first disinterested
party to acclaim Hero's innocence-by what he sees in her, not by
hearsay, and he also proposes a way of bringing the men to recognize it
as well-even though that does not work.

I also see nothing negative in the Friar in Measure for Measure, and his
intentions certainly seem admirable, even though he may be a bit
befuddled by what the Duke is asking of him.

Just off the top of my head --
Ed Pixley
SUNY-Oneonta

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Yogev <
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Date:           Friday, 09 Oct 1998 01:18:23 +0200
Subject: 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy

A couple of respondents have mentioned the Friar in Much Ado as a fairly
positive figure.  This seems to me to ignore the final lines of his
suggestion to Leonato that Hero play dead for a time and thereby inspire
sympathy, regret, or some such vaguely remorseful emotions in her
accusers.  What good this will do, precisely, he is quite vague in
detailing, but he concludes that, if worse comes to worse and her
reputation is permanently ruined, she can always come and join a
convent.  Does this sound less than inviting to anyone but me? (these
lines are among several significant cuts made in Branagh's popular film
version of the play)

Michael Yogev

[7]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Friday, 09 Oct 1998 17:52:52 -0400
Subject: 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0964  Re: Representations of Clergy

The Abbess in CoE is a sweetheart, but everything she says is in error.
Friar Laurance is a deadlier version of same.

Isabella is as false a cleric in Measure as Angelo and the Duke: all
three believe themselves above human passions. The point of the play is
to topple each. Thomas and Peter are euphemisms for penis.
 

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