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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Isabella
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1025  Thursday, 22 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Jerry R. Adair <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Oct 1998 12:17:31 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   The Duke and Isabella

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Oct 1998 14:55:03 -0400
        Subj:   Isabella


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jerry R. Adair <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Oct 1998 12:17:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        The Duke and Isabella

Jason N. Mical <
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 > says:

>A quick last point: In 5.1, the Duke, when wrapping things up for the
>happy ending, tells Isabella that "life is better, past fearing death, /
>Than that which lives to fear" (432-3).  He is telling her that living
>in fear of sex and sexual things is not the way to go; it is showing
>Isabella the Kantian the Aristotelian Mean of life. [...]

Okay, I was able to let the whole sex debate regarding Isabella go, but
I just can't do the same with this one. Does anyone else see this line
(which is mis-quoted) as having virtually nothing to do with her (or
anyone's) sex life??  Perhaps it's just my interpretation, and let me
say up front that yes I belong to the camp that believes he left it all
pretty wide open, but I know that when I played the Duke, these lines
were part of the persuasion I was using to make Isabella accept
Claudio's death.  Doing so was actually a test to determine the level of
her ability to forgive and therefore of her "quality" as a human being,
but I'm getting a bit off the point.  To support my argument, I think
what's missing here are the preceding and succeeding lines to the one
quoted by Jason:

     Your brother's death, I know, sits at your heart,
     And you may marvel why I obscured myself,
     Laboring to save his life, and would not rather
     Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power
     Than let him so be lost.  O most kind maid,
     It was the swift celerity of his death,
     Which I did think with a slower foot came on,
     That brain'd my purpose.  But peace be with him.
     That life is better life past fearing death,
     Than that which lives to fear: make it your comfort,
     So happy is your brother.

Sorry Jason, I just can't buy that the lines you quote have anything to
do with Isa's sex life.  At the bare minimum, I know I didn't play it
that way.

Don't even get me started on the latest discussion regarding her views
on men and sex.

Jerry R. Adair

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[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Oct 1998 14:55:03 -0400
Subject:        Isabella

<<Ed Taft suggests that Claudio's claim that Isabella has "a prone and
speechless dialect, / such as move men" may support Jason Mical's
suggestion that Isabella is "afraid of sex.">>

Any sensible person is afraid of sex.  Nothing in life creates more
mischief; for most of us it produces at one time or another heartaches,
frustration, loss of sleep, radically diminished productivity, the
social and economic burdens of parental and familial responsibility,
anxiety and grief over diminished attractiveness and diminished
potency.  To half of us it threatens morning sickness, labor pains,
stretch marks, perhaps puerperal fever, to the other half prostate
cancer.  It may entail venereal disease, hepatitis, or AIDS.  Now and
then it leads to real tragedy- teen suicide, Bill Clinton.  That
Isabella shows a healthy respect for this great enemy to human peace and
quiet seems to me only a sign of high intelligence.

Austerely,
David Evett
 

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