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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: August ::
Re: Ophelia; KJV; Prospero
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0749  Tuesday, 11 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Frances K. Barasch <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Aug 1998 12:44:04 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0721  Re: Incest/Ophelia

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Aug 1998 09:49:07 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 9.0745  Re: Shakespeare and KJV

[3]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Aug 1998 23:42:51 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 9.0747 Re: Prospero


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frances K. Barasch <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Aug 1998 12:44:04 EDT
Subject: 9.0721  Re: Incest/Ophelia
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0721  Re: Incest/Ophelia

On madness, check some of these Italian scenarios from "Scenarios of the
Commedia dell'Arte,"  tr. H. F. Salerno and see what you think about
theatrical conventions:  "the fake madwoman" (8th day); "the madness of
Isabella" (38th day); "the mad princess" (41st day).  frances k. barasch

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Aug 1998 09:49:07 -0700
Subject: Re: Shakespeare and KJV -Reply
Comment:        SHK 9.0745  Re: Shakespeare and KJV -Reply

Many on this list have rightly praised the richness of the language in
the KJV of the Bible.  Actually, I find some passages richer than
others, but that is another discussion.  I want to look at accuracy.
Many on this list will not need this reminder.  Some may.

I have found in many, many discussions, that those who love the KJV
often do not know that Biblical scholars no longer consider it a very
good translation.  It was wonderful for its time, but is now found
wanting on several counts.  Here are two.

We have better Hebrew and Greek manuscripts today then the KJV
translating team had.  Many are older and closer to the source
documents.  Some come from more reliable manuscript traditions.  This
creates better texts.

There are many more ancient texts and fragments available today that in
the early 17th century.  Many are Biblical, even more extra-Biblical.
They allow today's scholars to better understand classical Hebrew and
Greek than did the early moderns.  Words and phrases once translated one
way are not translated that way anymore.

The KJV is lovely, but it has some real inadequacies as a translation.
One seeking lovely words can hardly do better.  One seeking an English
translation as close as possible to the original tongues may look
elsewhere.

By the way, not to pick on our colleagues in Utah and elsewhere, but The
Book of Mormon, that "most perfect of all books," plagiarizes vast
passages of the King James Bible, complete with many translation
errors.  The same caution applies to all those passages in the BM.

All the best,
Mike Jensen

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Aug 1998 23:42:51 +0100
Subject: Re: Prospero
Comment:        SHK 9.0747 Re: Prospero

If the magistrate rules corruptly, the state is corrupt. At the start of
Webster's 'Duchess of Malfi', there is the seminal image of the fountain
of pure water symbolising the power and influence of the moral
magistrate. If that water is corrupted, then the land is tainted.
Prospero has to return to face the indictment that in all Shakespeare is
seen as heinous; abdication / or neglect of rule which is to order the
earth in justice, and in accordance with basic human principles -
unspecified, but read ther play to see what they are. The play is a
manual - a sort of anti-Machiavelli. Prospero is turned out of Milan
because he empowered his brother to arrogate to himself powers that were
not his to wield. Before returning to Milan, Prospero has learnt about
the wisdom of rule. He will return mindful of his mortality, mindful of
what it is to rule wisely, how to use power morally. I am
over-simplifying hugely, but to see that corrupt men do not continue to
rule - Antonio / Sebastian - and to see that the next generation of
rulers in both Milan and Naples are pure, educated in moral sensibility,
is surely to attempt to ensure the continuance of sanity where actions
will be in virtue than in vengeance. Many responses in this thread are
thinking as this world does, that power is simply how you can make other
people do what you want. Shakespeare is asking a different question: how
does the ruler use the power to make people do what you want FOR THE
GOOD OF THE GREATEST NUMBER? How does the ruler enforce adherence to the
rule of humane acceptance of man's sinning condition? ETC etc! It's a
hugely simplified statement of what I mean. I hope the gist is clear?
Prospero has relinquished the kind of absolute power that earthly
leaders crave - the other tragic heroes all did - to discover in its
place a power to persuade by example and paradigm. he has been
chastened, not by some external God, but more importantly, by forces in
himself that dictate humane values. Justice is a recognition of the
worth of all. Prospero knows Antonio's sin, but does nothing with it. He
knows Caliban's sins, but instead offers reconciliation and even return
to power over the island. he knows Ariel's yearning for freedom, and
despite his love for Ariel, he releases him/her, because freedom is more
absolutely important than subjection to a ruler. It takes a very great
leader to develop and implement a respect for that kind of justice and
human dignity. I think that is what Prospero takes back with which to
teach Milan. THAT is power. To use it is NOT abdication: actually, it is
surprising because, as I said, Prospero was cross that the duties of
ruling got in the way of his personal intellectual development. Now he
knows differently. So he is ready to take that lesson back, and to let
Ferd / Mir teach it by their lives.
 

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