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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: July ::
Re: Shrew; Poison; Fencing
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0635  Thursday, 9 July 1998.

[1]     From:   Tom M Mueller <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Jul 1998 13:37:01 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0628  Re: Shrew Matrimony Question

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 08 Jul 1998 12:09:44 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0630  Re: Poison

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 08 Jul 1998 12:31:05 -0700
        Subj:   [Fwd: Ado Fencing Question]


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom M Mueller <
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Date:           Wednesday, 8 Jul 1998 13:37:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0628  Re: Shrew Matrimony Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0628  Re: Shrew Matrimony Question

>From:           Tanya Gough <
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>Dear Jad,

> The Renaissance wedding was actually comprised of three parts: the
>banns, which placed the future marriage into the public sphere, the
>ceremony, which solidifies the bond in the eyes of God, and the
>consummation, which reinforces the bond between the two individuals.
>Couples are forever missing out on one or more aspects of the "accepted"
>marriage tradition, and your sister is right to note that there is
>definitely something *wrong* with Petrucho and Kate.  A wedding accepted
>by the public and the church, but not by both individuals is clearly a
>farce, much as Romeo and Juliet, who have mutual consent and religious
>approval, become tragic figures when they are unable to reconcile their
>bond in society.

>Whether, and how, Kate and Petruchio consummate their marriage may be a
>directorial choice.  I'd like to think that Petruchio is a boor, but not
>such an animal that he would stoop to rape.  Yet the opportunity
>certainly is there.  When he keeps her "up all night" on their wedding
>night, does he force himself on her or is he just throwing pillows
>around?  In keeping with the "happy ending" version, most modern
>productions gloss over that part and imply that they get together,
>consentually, at the end.  Has anyone ever done a version of Shrew where
>Petruchio literally beats, rapes and starves Kate into submission?  I
>have heard of a feminist version where Kate delivers her final "duties
>of the wife" speech with such sincerity that all at the table recoiled
>in horror at the transformation.

In my opinion, a production such as you put forth would be taking
improper liberties with what WS wrote, and intended.  Petruchio
certainly "could" have "beat, raped and starved" Kate into submission,
given the time and prevalent laws.  WS pointedly did not choose to allow
this in the make up of Petruchio's character.  To represent him as doing
so would usurp the ideals intended by the author.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 08 Jul 1998 12:09:44 -0700
Subject: 9.0630  Re: Poison
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0630  Re: Poison

Romeo's poison is about as significant as whether some 20th century
movie villain uses a 38 or a 44 revolver to off the cops.

But it has significance.  Do you think it mere happenstance that James
Bond carries a slim, somewhat elegant Walther PPK 7.65 mm while Dirty
Harry carries a ruthlessly powerful and large 44 caliber magnum?

Cheers,
Sean.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 08 Jul 1998 12:31:05 -0700
Subject:        [Fwd: Ado Fencing Question]

I'm forwarding, with permission, Jay Minnix's comments on swordsmanship
and the use of the term "mountano."

Jay Minnix wrote:

Unfortunately, in looking to Silver, you used the contemporary reference
least likely to have an accurate description of a "mountanto."  While
Silver was a very knowledgeable swordsman in the English Masters of
Defense style, he was not a scholar of the "Italianate" rapier styles,
and therefore frequently misinterpreted the Italian terminology.

The proper source would be Achille Marozzo's "Opera Nova" c. 1536. The
montante is listed as a cut (not a thrust) by Marozzo.  He has an
illustration of a man (essentially spread eagled) with the angled cuts
shown with their names.  For a right handed fencer, the cuts from the
right are called "mandritti" (I am uncertain of the spellings as I am
away from my references, so I am working from memory here) with the cuts
from the left called "reversi."

 The cuts (delivered either mandritti or reversi) are:
 Fendente - vertical downward cut to the head
 Squalembrato - diagonal downward cut to the neck, shoulder, or elbow
 Tando - horizontal cut to the midsection
 ??? (can't remember this one) - diagonal upward cut to the thigh
 Montante - vertical upward cut to the groin

The squalembrato could refer to any downward diagonal cut, even to the
thigh or lower, and the unnamed upward diagonal cut could likewise be
delivered to other parts of the opponent.  The montante was definitely a
groin cut. It was not considered a fair blow.  Beatrice could be using
this cowardly association as an insult to Benedick.  Of course, the
"mounts-all" interpretation has interesting implications as well.

The mandritti montante was typically delivered with the false edge of
the blade (the rapier has a flat blade with 2 edges, the edge on the
side where your knuckles are is the true edge, and the edge on top [when
the weapon is held like you're shaking hands with it] is the false
edge).  The reversi montante is a true edge blow, but requires raising
the elbow.  Both are somewhat awkward, and would be considered only of
situational utility.  What di Grassi is describing in the quoted section
is pretty much the standard stoccata and imbrocatta from the low ward.

When looking for things in the Italian style, look to di Grassi,
Saviolo, or Marozzo or Viggiani.  Much better info than Silver.

 Jay Minnix
 

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