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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Chariot; Clergy; Q1 Ham; Swords; Branagh
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0996  Wednesday, 14 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Stanley Wells <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 10:54:21 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0989 Re: Titus's Chariot

[2]     From:   Jerry R. Adair <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 16:57:38 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Clergy

[3]     From:   David J. Kathman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 23:30:21 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0983 Re: Q1 Ham

[4]     From:   Karen E Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 10:27:19 +1000 (GMT+1000)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0990 Shakespeare Without Swords

[5]     From:   Drew Whitehead <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 08:55:06 +1000 (GMT+1000)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0985 Re: New Shakespeare Films by Branagh


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stanley Wells <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 10:54:21 +0000
Subject: 9.0989 Re: Titus's Chariot; Q1 Ham.
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0989 Re: Titus's Chariot; Q1 Ham.

From:           Larry Weiss <
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>I don't I agree with Professor Wells that the speech necessarily means
>that the chariot is "in sight."  The sense of the speech is that Titus
>is making his gift in the sight of  Rome, i.e., representatives of the
>City, whom he calls upon to witness his gift as an act of fealty.  The
>presents do not necessarily have to be on stage, although the sword and
>prisoners certainly are.  Is it also possible that Titus does not mean
>"chariot" literally; it could be a figure for his military prowess, but
>this is obviously more problematic.

Professor Wells did not say that it was 'necessarily in sight'. He said,
very carefully, that this is something he does 'not dogmatically assert'
but that he regards as 'entirely plausible.'

SW.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jerry R. Adair <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 16:57:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Clergy

Abigail Quart <
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>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.

Eh...I suppose this is one way to look at it.  Having just done the Duke
this past summer, I know I didn't play him that way.  I don't think our
Angelo nor our Isabella played their characters like that either.  My
Duke was quite passionate about being a good governor who focused on the
needs of the people, whom he rarely saw.  His concern for them was so
great that it (in part) lead him to a considerable number of bad
judgements.  These resulted in the condition of the Vienna we see when
the play opens.  There was a great deal of guilt there too, but now I'm
really straying.

The point I wanted to make is, in the end, perhaps just a qualification
on your assertion: these three don't feel as though they're above "human
passions" but rather that they are morally and emotionally pure; above
the fallible nature of the human condition.  They *are* however
passionate in their views on the subject and in "maintaining" their
purity, as it were.  They specifically apply this passion to the issue
of love/lust and they illustrate this by their stances on the issues
surrounding Claudio's sentencing, though perhaps less so by the Duke.
It struck me as quite interesting that, by contrast to Angelo and
Isabella, the Duke takes his fall from grace rather quickly (in Act I)
and, perhaps more importantly, by his own admission.  This smacked of
nobility to me and though I found little else to support it, I played
the nobility thing to the full; especially in Act V.

Sooooooo...I suppose that I should sum up and say then that it seems to
me the point of the play, as you've called it, is to see them fall from
this holyer-than-thou, superhuman status (about which they *were*
passionate) and come down to earth with the rest of us.  And that is how
it came across in our production (so I've been told).  This is of
course, only one answer.

Abigail Quart <
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 > sez:

>There's something else about the friars. Thomas appears once, in the
>early part of the play when the Duke's behavior is the most craven, and
>isn't mentioned by name in the dialog. The friar who deals with the Duke
>when he has taken charge of events is Peter, and the name is mentioned
>once. There is no logical reason for two friars. Certainly they could
>have doubled the tiny parts.  In the same play, there's a Gentleman 1
>and a Gentleman 2. So why were Thomas and Peter named at all?

As the Duke, I always took this distinction to be necessary because
Friar Thomas *knows* of my plan and knows who I am under that garb.
Friar Peter on the other hand doesn't know any of this and therefore
serves as a more convincing party in my public exposing of Angelo.  To
drive this home a little (not too much), when I gave the letter to
Isabella in Act IV and said "This letter then to Friar Peter give" there
was a bit of a kick (emphasis) on 'Peter'.

Jerry R. Adair

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[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David J. Kathman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 23:30:21 +0100
Subject: 9.0983 Re: Q1 Ham.
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0983 Re: Q1 Ham.

Peter Groves wrote:

>> Well, perhaps I'm missing something but why, without doubt or argument,
>> is it automatically Q2 Hamlet and not Q1?
>
>I would have thought anyone who needed to ask such a question might
>indeed be missing quite a lot.  Consider, for example, what's missing
>from this well-known speech as it appears in Q1,  apart (that is) from
>sense and scansion :
>
>                To be, or not to be, I there's the point,
>                To Die, to sleepe, is that all? I all:
>                No, to sleepe, to dreame, I mary there it goes,
>                For in that dreame of death, when wee awake,
>                And borne before an euerlasting Iudge,
>                From whence no passenger euer retur'nd,
>                The vndiscouered country, at whose sight
>                The happy smile, and the accursed damn'd.
>                But for this, the ioyfull hope of this,
>                Whol'd beare the scornes and flattery of the world,
>                Scorned by the right rich, the rich curssed of the
>poore?
>                The widow being oppressed, the orphan wrong'd,
>                The taste of hunger, or a tirants raigne,
>                And thousand more calamities besides,
>                To grunt and sweate vnder this weary life,
>                When that he may his full Quietus make,
>                With a bare bodkin, who would this indure,
>                But for a hope of something after death?
>               Which pusles the braine, and doth confound the sence,
>               Which makes vs rather beare those euilles we haue,
>               Than flie to  others that we know not of.
>                I that, O this conscience makes cowardes of vs all,
>               Lady in thy orizons, be all my sinnes remembred.

First of all, you've given this passage in unedited form, with the
original spelling and punctuation.  That subtly biases the reader
against it from the get-go.  Second of all, I think the question was
whether Q1 or Q2 is closer to Shakespeare's "original", whatever that
may be.  There are those who believe that Q1 Hamlet (apart from the
obvious misprints, which are nearly as plentiful in Q2 as in Q1)
represents an early version of the play, possibly the one acted by the
Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1594.  This possibility has been suggested in
such places as several of the essays in *The Hamlet First Published*
Steve Urkowitz' essay in *Bad Shakespeare*.  I think the original poster
(sorry, I don't remember who it is, and you've snipped the name) was
questioning the automatic rejection of Q1 Hamlet in favor of Q2.  It's
impossible to judge the above excerpt dispassionately against the
soliloquy from Q2-F1 that we all know so well.  But those who have
produced Q1 Hamlet as it stands (with appropriate editing) have found it
to be a very theatrical and surprisingly entertaining piece of work.
Even though most people would still prefer some conflated version of the
Q2-F1 texts, I agree with the original poster that it's inappropriate to
just banish Q1 from the discussion with a wave of the hand.

Dave Kathman

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[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen E Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 10:27:19 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject: 9.0990 Shakespeare Without Swords
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0990 Shakespeare Without Swords

Years ago my brother, a student at a precociously violent high school,
participated in a production of *Arsenic and Old Lace* in which weapons
were indicated but forbidden by the administration.  They solved the
problem by menacing each other with power tools (electric sanders and
routers, to be specific).  While definitely more dangerous than the
forbidden stage knives, pistols, etc., their solution satisfied the
myopic would-be censors and delighted their audiences.

It would be hard to make this work in a tragedy, however.  Hamlet and
Laertes going at it with dueling chain saws, perhaps?  This whole thing
reminds me of the stories over the past couple of years about middle
school students being packed off for drug testing and suspension because
they were caught carrying Advil in their bookbags.

The whole thing is just sad.  No wonder my undergraduates so often seem
incapable of logical thought: consider their role models.

-- Karen Peterson-Kranz

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Drew Whitehead <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 08:55:06 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject: 9.0985 Re: New Shakespeare Films by Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0985 Re: New Shakespeare Films by Branagh

Mary-Anne King wrote:
>
> Branagh, with Henry 5 brought me back to Shakespeare.

Ten years ago it was Branagh's Henry V that brought me back to
Shakespeare after the appalling experience I had had with him in high
school.  Now I have an arts degree majoring in Renaissance Lit., and am
currently writing my honours thesis on several plays by Beaumont and
Fletcher.  If I can get a scholarship for my masters next year I hope to
produce an annotated edition of a B&F play.  I would like to say
thank-you to Mr. Branagh for opening up a world of passion that I had
neglected because of my prejudice of earlier encounters.

Drew Whitehead.
 

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