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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: August ::
Re: Children; Bible; Rape Laws
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0723  Monday, 3 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Melissa Cook <
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        Date:   Sunday, July 12, 1998 11:50 AM
        Subj:   Re: Getting Children Interested in Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Carl Fortunato <
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 >
        Date:   Saturday, 1 Aug 1998 10:15:19 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0714  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible

[3]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Saturday, 01 Aug 1998 13:31:38 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Rape Laws and MM


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Cook <
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Date:           Sunday, July 12, 1998 11:50 AM
Subject:        Re: Getting Children Interested in Shakespeare

[Editor's Note: I realize that many are tired of this thread, but when
it began I forward copies to my seventeen-year-old, Melissa, one who
became interested in Shakespeare at an early age. She wrote this back to
me several weeks ago, but I did not check the account she sent it to
until yesterday.  HMC]

Getting kids interested in Shakespeare is not as hard as it may sound.
In our times, Shakespeare is looked on as this lofty great who only a
few PhD's and dead guys can understand.  Of course those of us who have
become familiar with his work know that this is not the case, but it is
how people think.  I first became interested in Shakespeare when I was
in the first grade for two reasons.  One was the lofty poetic reason of
falling in love with the beauty of the language and characters.  The
second reason was the larger drive and one far more fitting for a
first-grader.  That was that I thought it was so hysterical that there
was a character named Bottom and so therefore Shakespeare must have been
a cool guy.  I think watering down Shakespeare is not the solution, the
Lamb's tales and such, because that isn't really Shakespeare.  I mean
most of the tales aren't original so giving just the tales defeats the
point doesn't it?  I think kids should be exposed to Shakespeare through
performance if possible and if not through movies.  The Branagh's Much
Ado, Hamlet and Henry V are good and not as hard to understand as the
BBC....Also though the recent Romeo and Juliet has its problems - it is
geared towards a younger audience and the difficult parts are expressed
through action so it's easy to follow.  Also, if the kid is a teen,
Claire Danes and Leonardo are attention grabbing.  My point through all
of this is that Shakespeare is interesting in and of itself the fear of
it is what needs to be broken down.  Anyone new to Shakespeare needs
their preconceived notions of foreign language, bad acting and men and
tights to be broken down so they can move beyond them to the masterful
work of the plays themselves.  Another way (though not everyone has
access to this) is to take them to see the Shenandoah Shakespeare
Express as they are very good at breaking down the misconceptions and
can put the plays across in a fun and energetic manner that makes it
easy to get past the "foreign language" into the enjoyment of the play.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carl Fortunato <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 1 Aug 1998 10:15:19 EDT
Subject: 9.0714  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0714  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible

>Is there any evidence that Shakespeare could have been a member of the
>translating team?

Aside from the laughable Psalm 46, I don't think so.  The names of the
King James translators are known, and were published at the time.  The
KJV has a vocabulary of only about 8,000 words, whereas Shakespeare's is
usually estimated at something like 25,000.  And (most obviously)
Shakespeare knew neither Greek nor Hebrew.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 01 Aug 1998 13:31:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Rape Laws and MM

Alicia Connolly-Lohr's use of the UCMJ is right on target. In the
prosecution of Mervin Lord Audley for rape, the Lord High Steward (the
prosecuting "attorney") states that rape "is defined to be an unlawful
carnal knowledge, and abuse of a woman by force against her will"
(Otten, English Women's Voices, 1540-1700 34). Moreover, as to the
question of whether "force" must be physical, the transcript of the
trial itself indicates that it may be sophistical persuasion. Lady
Audley was told by Lord Audley that he owned her body and that she
should lay with one Skipwith and that the sin would be Skipwith's, not
hers. She did not believe him, but felt forced to submit to Skipwith's
advances while Lord Audley watched. This is rape, and as the Lord Chief
Justice pointes out, both Lord Audley and Skipwith are equally guilty. A
similar situation obtains in the case of Lord Audley's daughter, who was
"persuaded" to lie with Skipwith "by the Earl's persuasions and
threatenings" (Otten 36). So, "force" may be psychological as well as
physical. "Forse" may also involve a third party. For example, Lord
Audley told his daughter that if she did not "lie with others," he would
tell her husband that she did lie with them, and her husband would
presumably believe the word of a lord and earl such as Audley was.

Mike, this evidence is in Otten, and I think it suggests that Angelo is
in fact guilty of *attempted* rape.  The original source here is *The
Trial and Condemnation of Mervin Lord Audley Earl of Castle-Haven at
Westminster, April the 5th, 1631 (London, 1699).

Best wishes,
--Ed Taft
 

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