1998

Q: 'cynic

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0724  Monday, 3 August 1998.

From:           Piers Lewis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 01 Aug 1998 15:35:17 +0100
Subject:        'cynic'

I think Shakespeare uses this word once, in Julius Caesar, but I can't
find it. Is my memory playing tricks on me?

Piers Lewis

Re: Children; Bible; Rape Laws

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0723  Monday, 3 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Melissa Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
        Date:   Sunday, July 12, 1998 11:50 AM
        Subj:   Re: Getting Children Interested in Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Carl Fortunato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 1 Aug 1998 10:15:19 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0714  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible

[3]     From:   Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 01 Aug 1998 13:31:38 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Rape Laws and MM


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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

Re: Incest/Ophelia

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0721  Monday, 3 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 01 Aug 1998 10:17:58 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0711  Re: Incest/Ophelia

[2]     From:   Michael S. Hart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 2 Aug 1998 10:11:39 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0711  Re: Incest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 01 Aug 1998 10:17:58 -0700
Subject: 9.0711  Re: Incest/Ophelia
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0711  Re: Incest/Ophelia

A certain reverence for madness still existed in the 16th century, a
holdover from pre-Christian days when oracles in drug-induced trances
responded to important questions with gnomic pronouncements that
required decoding. In the same way we see small children as
truth-tellers, too innocent to fear the consequences, it was thought
that madmen or women spoke the truth, although not always in a clearly
understandable way.

Ophelia's ravings seem clearly to be of this sort. Is the "truth" she is
telling about her sex life? Current politics at Court? Both? If so, the
author, and later, his editor, would have been at pains to make such
references too opaque for any but those on the inside to understand,
particularly when it came time to publish. We may be able to decode what
she's saying, but we'll have to know more about when the play was
written, among other things.

Madness brought on by sexual frustration, or grief over the mistreatment
by a lover, was a frequent theme in the old romance tradition, as in the
story of Orlando, whose madness is the central theme. Two Noble Kinsmen
has a young woman who goes mad when mistreated by the protagonist, very
much as Ophelia does in Hamlet.

Incest is also a frequent theme in these old romances, father lusting
after daughter, brother and sister falling in love without knowing who
the partner is, boy lusting after mother (again, without knowing). These
themes are found all the way through this tradition from the beginning,
and as it is a tradition that clearly affected Shakespeare, particularly
in his early plays, it becomes difficult to judge what comes to him from
his own experience or message, and what is simply there as a common
factor in the genre.

Stephanie Hughes

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael S. Hart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 2 Aug 1998 10:11:39 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 9.0711  Re: Incest
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0711  Re: Incest

> It may just be the way I was taught, but I found it poignant that a
> virgin might be singing bawdy songs in her mad fit.  Hamlet's bawdy
> remark about "country matters" at the play might be better evidence that
> he at least had lecherous intentions, but do we have any evidence that
> Ophelia had ever taken up an offer from Hamlet, or anybody else?
> Wouldn't she have passed the physical at that nunnery he is going to
> send her to?
>
> Roy Flannagan

I was my impression that "nunnery" in this context meant something on
the order of the opposite of its usually meaning. . . Michael S. Hart

Re: Shakespeare 101: A Student Guide

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0722  Monday, 3 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Roger Schmeeckle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 1 Aug 1998 15:10:45 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0715  Shakespeare 101: A Student Guide

[2]     From:   Steven Sim <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 3 Aug 1998 18:35:56 +0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0715  Shakespeare 101: A Student Guide


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger Schmeeckle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 1 Aug 1998 15:10:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 9.0715  Shakespeare 101: A Student Guide
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0715  Shakespeare 101: A Student Guide

> 1)  Secondary Teachers:  what do you hope your students will know about
> Shakespeare and the plays when they leave your class?  Which plays do
> you teach?  How much background info about Shakespeare's life and times
> do you teach?  Do you utilize the Internet during your Shakespeare
> studies?

I am retired, but I pass on a few comments for what they are worth. I
tried first to break down resistance by showing a jazzed up farcical
treatment of TAMING OF THE SHREW, produced for TV years ago by the San
Francisco Repertory Theatre.  Without my belaboring the point, they
learned that Shakespeare could be fun.

I did MACBETH with college prep and general students.  Then I did KING
LEAR with the college preps.  I earlier had tried to do HAMLET, but
switched to LEAR because: 1) Hamlet seems much more problematical in its
interpretation, at least for me, and that becomes a problem in trying to
teach it; 2) I think I more or less understand LEAR; and 3) LEAR,
because it deals more directly with the generation gap between parents
and children, seems to be more accessible than HAMLET.

My main goal was to instil a life-long love of Shakespeare.  Did I
succeed?  Who knows?

      Roger Schmeeckle

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steven Sim <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 3 Aug 1998 18:35:56 +0800
Subject: 9.0715  Shakespeare 101: A Student Guide
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0715  Shakespeare 101: A Student Guide

I teach The Tempest and Hamlet to 17 and 18 year old students in
Singapore to prepare them for the Cambridge "A"-level exams.

I find that I need to touch on the following background topics in order
for my students to appreciate Shakespeare (almost all of them come to
the subject with no prior experience).

-the Renaissance
-origins of Western drama -- Greek drama (specifically, the three
Unities, Oedipus Rex)
-basic Bible stories (most students come from non-Christian backgrounds,
with no ability to distinguish between Adam and Noah)

In terms of skills, I usually need to teach them how to write essays.
Perhaps you could include a section on good writing techniques.

I hope that my students will

-pass their exams (Did you know that the passing rate for English
literature for the A-levels in Singapore (1997) was 100% ?)

-realise that human life, with all its highs and lows, existed long
before their creation (these cretins are sooo self-centred, they get
shocked when they discover that vulgarities, swear words, love, life's
Problems etc. existed long before they did)

-have the opportunity to read what is probably the only Shakespeare
they'll ever experience for the rest of their lives

Regards,
Steven Sim

Re: Tempest and Faust

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0720  Monday, 3 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Joe Conlon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 1 Aug 1998 09:35:41 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 02 Aug 1998 18:36:19 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joe Conlon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 1 Aug 1998 09:35:41 -0500
Subject: 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust

To reply to Stuart:  First, thanks for an excellent and thought
provoking post.  You got me thinking about historical figures who lay
down their power willingly.  I came up with two examples that I think at
least come close: The ancient Romans had Lucius Cincinnatus who assumed
the dictatorship in time of his country's need and then as soon as the
crisis was over, renounced his position and returned to being a farmer.
Secondly would be George Washington who declined to run for a third term
as president although begged to do so by nearly everyone.  It is said
that King George III and the English thought this was so astonishing
that it was almost unbelievable.  I have read that Washington did have
the Cincinnatus example in mind when he declined.

Joe Conlon, Warsaw, IN, USA

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 02 Aug 1998 18:36:19 -0700
Subject: 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust

Stuart Manger writes:

> He [Prospero] apparently had the power of life and death in some form or
> other, but he
> renounces it. I cannot think of anyone in history who has done that, and
> been totally and indivisibly human? Certainly not in literature.

Charles V retired to a monastery.  Montaigne spent a good deal of effort
extracting himself from the office of mayor of Bordeaux.  More recently,
even President Suharto, a man not given to acts of humility, was willing
to give up power and become a 'sage'.  There's a pattern in all this:  I
think it has to do, in the west at least, with Plato's dictum that the
true philosopher king will only take up office because he's forced to.
His true vocation, which he has to give up in order to enter the
political world, is transcendent.

The real irony with Prospero is that he gives up power in order to
become more political.  His position on the island, after all, is a sort
of existential fulfillment of the prison he has chosen for himself.
When he was in Milan, he ignored the state in order to retreat into his
library.  On the island, he gets the prison he not only deserves, but
also desires-complete isolation, absence of responsibility, and enormous
leisure-time to study.  Like some of the saints etched by D


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