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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: September ::
Re: Ed3; Stoicism; Dreams Film
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0922  Wednesday, 30 September 1998.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 11:32:58 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   *Edward III*

[2]     From:   Yvonne Bruce <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 12:43:14 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0897  Re: Stoicism, etc., in Julius Caesar

[3]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 15:31:38 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0572  Re: Shakespeare Videos


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 11:32:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        *Edward III*

In response to the posts of Lee Zhao and Lee Gibson, an excellent
article arguing that Shakespeare wrote *Edward III* is W.L. Godshalk,
"Shakespeare's *Edward III,* *SRASP* 21 (1998): 69-84. For those who do
not have a copy in your library, you can access volume 21 of *SRASP*
through the WWW: http://www.marshall.edu/engsr/indexsr.htmlx

I'm sure that Bill Godshalk, a frequent contributor to SHK will agree
with my estimate of this essay.

--Ed Taft

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Yvonne Bruce <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 12:43:14 -0400
Subject: 9.0897  Re: Stoicism, etc., in Julius Caesar
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0897  Re: Stoicism, etc., in Julius Caesar

Louis Swilley responded to my speculation about the unreliability of
soliloquy in <Julius Caesar> by noting that, at least as far as Antony
is concerned, there is no "point" in his speaking unreliably, and that
his soliloquy is not characterized by the soul-searching that
characterizes Brutus' soliloquy.

Agreed. Let me qualify my remark by saying that Antony is not
"purposefully fooling" anyone in his soliloquy, but that he still may be
carried away by his own rhetoric. A critic whose name escapes me has
noted the difficulty of determining Antony's point of view in his
funeral oration: is he inspired to such rhetorical brilliance by
righteous anger at the conspirators, or does he, with the rhetorical
suavity that characterizes the play, just kind of seize the moment? And
don't forget Kenneth Burke's "Antony in Behalf of the Play," which takes
up this notion of excessively self-conscious rhetoric. Several critics
have noted the theatricality peculiar to this play: successful
politicking equals good acting. This seems especially apt for Antony,
else how could the other conspirators be so clueless about the threat he
poses (Cassius suggests he be killed with Caesar, and then that he be
refused leave to speak at Caesar's funeral; both times he is stupidly
overruled by Brutus)?

Before I belabor this, I'd like to hear what others think about the
rhetoric of stoicism in the play. Does "soliloquy" occur in <Julius
Caesar> as it occurs, generally speaking, in the other tragedies-as a
thinking out loud-or does the individual voice lose something by being
forced to speak in the highly stylized, politicized and communal voice
of early imperial Rome?  Since everyone can probably guess which side I
come down on, let me add that this "Roman voice" is a problem not only
in <Julius Caesar> (its soliloquies are carefully doled out, one
significant solo speech each to Brutus, Cassius, and Antony; and its
rhetoric is also notably consistent; ie, there is not a variety of
speaking styles) but in <Coriolanus>, a play that lacks soliloquies.

Mr. Swilley, in the same posting, also expressed dismay over productions
of <Julius Caesar>. He is disturbed by, among other things, the
universal directorial acceptance of Caesar as great, when Shakespeare
shows him to be vain, cowardly, superstitious, etc. This problem is
compounded, writes Mr.  Swilley, by Caesar's becoming great the moment
he is killed. Once dead, Brutus and Antony praise him to the heavens,
and even in soliloquy Antony exclaims over Caesar's awesome presence.

Mr. Swilley has put his finger on something that continues to vex me in
my current work, and is not limited to <Caesar> (and don't forget that
Antony does an about-face once Brutus dies, too). At the end of
<Coriolanus>, after Coriolanus' death, Aufidius goes from "My lords,
when you shall know-as in this rage, / Provoked by him [Coriolanus], you
cannot-the great danger" to "My rage is gone, / And I am struck with
sorrow" in eight lines. Eight lines.  At the end of <Antony and
Cleopatra>, Caesar displays pretty much the same reversal after
Cleopatra's death. These are better than the bed trick. And Shakespeare
is not alone in pulling them off. This same
hatred-vented-into-admiration occurs in <Caesar's Revenge> and Thomas
Lodge's <Wounds of Civil War>, among others. Any comments? Please?

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Sep 1998 15:31:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0572  Re: Shakespeare Videos
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0572  Re: Shakespeare Videos

I'm surprised that no one, as yet, has mentioned anything about the new
film "What Dreams May Come" starring Robin Williams.  I haven't seen it
myself, but I'm wondering whether anyone else out there has, and whether
it has any relationship to Shakespeare other than the title.

        Michael Friedman
        University of Scranton
 

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