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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Assorted Responses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0564  Monday, 29 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Mar 1999 15:13:14 -0000
        Subj:   Re: Iago

[2]     From:   Ed Pixley <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Mar 1999 11:48:19 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0513 Re: Feste

[3]     From:   Catherine Loomis <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Mar 1999 11:28:13 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0543 Re: Beaumont and Fletcher

[4]     From:   Bill Gelber <
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        Date:   Saturday, 27 Mar 1999 11:36:08 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0548 Re: Burton

[5]     From:   Bill Gelber <
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        Date:   Saturday, 27 Mar 1999 11:36:08 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0548 Re: Burton

[6]     From:   Lew Kaye-Skinner"<
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        Date:   Saturday, 27 Mar 1999 10:51:51 -0600
        Subj:   Re: Q: Biblical Allusions in Macbeth

[7]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Sunday, 28 Mar 1999 01:35:03 -0600
        Subj:   Analogues to MND

[8]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Sunday, 28 Mar 1999 02:02:23 -0600
        Subj:   7 deadlies


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Mar 1999 15:13:14 -0000
Subject:        Re: Iago

Ed Taft says: 'I'd suggest that Othello (the play) CAN sustain an
allegorical reading, and I suspect that the next "move" in Shakespeare
studies will be "back to the future": that is, like Spenser, Shakespeare
will be seen to be full of different levels of allegory. Indeed, this is
already happening in reading of Henry V (really about Ireland/Wales) and
Troilus and Cressida (really about Essex and Elizabeth's court).'

It is interesting that at least two of us should be looking at
allegorical meanings, but we shall have to watch the word 'allegory'. Ed
seems to be concentrating on references to contemporary history, whereas
I look at certain characters embodying aspects of others: Iago as the
warlike side of Othello, Laertes as the would-be active side of Hamlet.
Both approaches may be perfectly legitimate (or not), but the same word
has a difficult application to both, though it has been done with
Spenser.

I started off by avoiding the word 'allegory' because I know what horror
it can produce in many readers - and, indeed, Shakespearean allegory
would certainly not be simple. As Clifford Stetner said earlier, the
Renaissance urge to naturalism takes over; and, though he sees Falstaff
as a naturalised Vice while I see him as a naturalised alternative Hal,
we are both faced by the same complications. It might be said that if an
allegorical character is altered by naturalism it hardly matters what
his original was; I think it does, because it helps us explain some of
the lasting cruces in Shakespearean texts (Iago's motivation being an
example).  The difficulty of terminology is what led me to suggest the
anachronistic concept of psychodrama when talking of The Merchant of
Venice.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Pixley <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Mar 1999 11:48:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.0513 Re: Feste
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0513 Re: Feste

>We did TWELFTH NIGHT at Le Moyne College, and director Bill Morris had
>Feste realize that Cesario is a woman.  As we performed it (I played
>Feste) Feste is sitting next to Viola, takes her hand to show how a
>cheveril glove "may be turned outward," and as he looks at her hand sees
>that it's a woman's.  Never lets on, but realizes that he's out of his
>depth, so that "Who you are and what you would are out of my welkin" is
>a distancing from whatever is going on.  Viola doesn't know that he
>knows, but in any case she always has a residual anxiety about being
>found out, and Feste's manner doesn't help.    --Neil Novelli

Thanks for that insight. I always delight in production choices that
suddenly illuminate such specific lines in fresh ways, while adding to
the richness of the experience, both for actors and for audience.

Ed Pixley
SUNY-Oneonta

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Catherine Loomis <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Mar 1999 11:28:13 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 10.0543 Re: Beaumont and Fletcher
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0543 Re: Beaumont and Fletcher

>While I am on the subject would anyone on the list care to venture an
>opinion of the Bowers' B&F editions?  Personally, apart from getting a
>modern printed edition up an running considering the last one was in
>1902, I wonder what purpose they serve and of whom they are considered
>to of use to.  I realise that this might be contentious but that is my
>aim.
>
>Drew Whitehead.

They are of use to scholars. If you don't know why that is, perhaps you
should do a bit more work on bibliography and textual history before you
begin your dissertation.  You might start with Volume 1 of the Beaumont
and Fletcher, pp. ix-xxv.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Gelber <
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Date:           Saturday, 27 Mar 1999 11:36:08 EST
Subject: 10.0548 Re: Burton
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0548 Re: Burton

Larry Weiss wrote,

"William Redfield, who played Rosencrantz in the Gielgud/Burton Hamlet,
wrote a book setting out his observations.  It is in the form of a
journal from the initial audition through opening night.  Unfortunately,
I think it is out of print, but if anyone can get ahold of a copy, it's
well worth reading."

Letters from an Actor by William Redfield was recently reissued by
Limelight.  It's very enjoyable. I have also found various copies of
John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in "Hamlet" at used book stores.
(These are transcripts of the audio tapes of the rehearsals by Richard
Stern.)

Sincerely,
Bill Gelber

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Catherine Loomis <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Mar 1999 15:42:38 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 10.0517 Isabella's Role in Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0517 Isabella's Role in Measure for Measure

>I am writing a reduced text of Measure for Measure for my Shakespeare
>class at Bethel College. I want my text to focus on how Isabella's
>virtue remains intact, despite being constantly attacked throughout the
>play.  The goal is to create a feeling of sympathy for Isabella, as well
>as admiration. These emotions are much more difficult to feel when
>watching or reading the entire play.
>
>I am writing because I am interested in hearing opinions on this
>approach that I am taking. I would also like to hear others'
>interpretations of Isabella's role in the play.

You may want to have your students read scene xiii from Robert Greene's
Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay in which Margaret enters "in Nuns
apparrell" and encounters her lover Lord Lacie.  Margaret is enjoined
"Choose you, faire damsell, yet the choise is yours, / Either a solemne
Nunnerie, or the court, / God, or Lord Lacie, weich contents you best, /
To be a Nun, or els Lord Lacies wife."  Margaret chooses Lord Lacie,
announcing "Off goes the habite of a maidens heart."   This shows what
Measure's original audience may have been expecting to see when Isabella
is offered a similar choice.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lew Kaye-Skinner"<
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Date:           Saturday, 27 Mar 1999 10:51:51 -0600
Subject:        Re: Q: Biblical Allusions in Macbeth

Alicia Shank asked about biblical allusions in Macbeth's soliloquy after
he kills Duncan (2.2.62-65).  Tim Perfect and Chyrel Remmers suggested
Oedipus as the allusion for the eyes being plucked out.  If there is a
double allusion, the biblical allusion, in addition to the one you
mention from Matthew 5:29 and 18:9 and Mark 9:47, might be to Samson
(Judges 13-16; the eye gouging is in 16:21).  The washing clean of the
hands probably alludes to Pilate's washing of his hands during Jesus'
supposed trial in Matthew 27:24 (along with the allusion there to the
ritual cleansing especially in Deuteronomy 21:6-9 and in Psalm 26:6).

The second set of allusions has more to do with the shedding of innocent
blood.  Are Macbeth's eyes the cause of his sin?

I hope these allusions are helpful.

Lew Kaye-Skinner

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Sunday, 28 Mar 1999 01:35:03 -0600
Subject:        Analogues to MND

Scott Crozier writes:

Does anybody know of a play which tackles similar subject matter as MND
which appeared around the time MND first appeared?  Is it singular in
what it tackles or were there others like it?  I have searched but seem
to think that the play may be on its own.  Is this odd considering the
amount of repetition that occurred in the repertories of the main London
companies?

Lyly's plays are relevant, especially Love's Metamorphosis which like
MND has love in a wood and love at cross purposes, and a farcical
subplot, and intervention in human affairs from  supernal beings, all of
this ultimately from Ovid,one supposes.  Then there is the anon.  *The
Maid's Metamorphosis,* sometimes attributed to Lyly on the ground of its
similarity to Love's Metamorphosis which particularly (I think) is an
intertext for Sh.'s play.  But the scholarly energy of our time has gone
into Ovid, Apuleius, and other nondramatic sources for Sh.'s play.

Cheers!
John Velz

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Sunday, 28 Mar 1999 02:02:23 -0600
Subject:        7 deadlies

A footnote to the post of March 14 99:

A place to start for anyone interested in tragedy and emphatic single
sins would be Lily Bess Campbell, *Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes: Slaves
of Passion*  (1930).  Campbell is not interested in the seven deadly
sins but in an analogue: four destructive passions, each of them
dominating the protagonist  in one of the Bradleian tragedies:  Hamlet
(grief), Othello (jealousy), Lear (wrath), Macbeth (fear).  Jealousy and
wrath look like deadlies for certain.  We shouldn't say of the attempt
to read the tragedies as exemplary of the seven deadlies "Oh, that has
been done", but Lily B. Campbell was  first on the ground and though her
book was attacked strongly in her time by people who resisted reading
Sh.'s tragedies as Romans a (moral) clef, there is something to be said
for her account of obsessive passions as guides to Sh.'s tragedies.

Cheers,
John
 

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