1999

Re: Charity

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0401  Monday, 8 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 05 Mar 1999 22:10:49 +000
        Subj:   Re: Charity

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 05 Mar 1999 15:38:38 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0382 Re: Cosby; Quill; Charity


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 05 Mar 1999 22:10:49 +000
Subject:        Re: Charity

>As a Christian, I regard charity as an obligation.  The object(s) of
>charity are other persons.  But literary characters are not persons,
>they are constructs.  In interpreting Hamlet, for instance, when he
>refrains from killing Claudius lest he go to heaven, one might regard
>that as indeciseiveness, on the assumption that Hamlet is under some
>sort of obligation to carry out the ghost's command, or one might regard
>it as the depths of uncharity, in that he wants not only the death but
>the damnation of his uncle, or whatever.  But one is under no obligation
>to limit consideration of base motives, since Hamlet is a literary
>figure, not a living person, and the rules of interpretation, not
>morality apply.  Which is not to deny that moral considerations are
>relevant to good criticism.
>
>      Roger Schmeeckle

Frankly I have never understood this interpretation, that Hamlet
refrains from killing his uncle out of indecision. Clearly he makes, and
rather quickly, a good decision, at least it is good from the point of
view of one who believes that a life taken in prayer is a life that goes
straight to heaven. Hamlet wants Claudius to go where he belongs, to
"the other place," and so wisely decides to wait for a more opportune
moment.

It is Hamlet himself who complains that he is indecisive (unless we take
the opinion of the impatient ghost), but as I would with a beautiful
woman who claims that her nose is too big, or that she's overweight, I
don't share his self-judgement.  Life has put poor Hamlet between a rock
and a hard place, and no amount of decision-making is going to free
him.  Whatever choice he makes he's in trouble. I think it's awfully
Christian of Hamlet not to be angry with his father for endangering the
kingdom by napping outdoors without a guard to keep an eye out for
poisoners. If I were Hamlet I'd tell my father to go to hell and leave
me alone.

"Construct" or whatever, Hamlet's got more life in him, more
intelligence and more love, than twenty real people.  "Rules of
interpretation" to the contrary, it's simply impossible not to love the
guy.

Stephanie Hughes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 05 Mar 1999 15:38:38 -0800
Subject: 10.0382 Re: Cosby; Quill; Charity
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0382 Re: Cosby; Quill; Charity

Thanks for your note.  I found it very interesting.

First, I'd like to take issue with your example, which isn't an exact
parallel to the examples to which I was responding.  Hamlet never says
that he wants his uncle's soul to go anywhere other than Hell.  He
doesn't make two public statements of his intents for his uncle's soul,
one of which we should recognize as a lie, and the most depraved of
which we should think is his "real" reason.  To do so would betray a
rather pessimistic, not to mention totalizing (everyone is assumed to be
lying, and to have shrewd alterior motives), assumption about human
nature, albeit one projected onto fictional characters.  It amounts to a
sort of characterological Foucauldianism, is such a phrase can even be
coined: power, or politics, is behind everyone's actions everywhere,
including the characters on stage.

There's a second, more questionable, point that I'd like to make.  Of
course, the characters in plays aren't real, but they can make us weep
or laugh.  Phenomenologically, encountering a character on stage bears
some similarities to encountering a person in what we perhaps
prejudicially call "real life".  I would imagine that the similarity
would be greater on an Elizabethan thrust stage, with an intimate
interplay of audience and fictive world.  The penultimate scene of Henry
VIII is a good example.

This is not, of course, to say that we simply suspend our disbelief, or
cease to be apart from the stage-world.  We don't actually get inside a
historically untraceable Elsinore, and leave the jostling of the other
groundlings behind. But the alterity of stage characters does not guard
us against their impinging on our world.  Other people, after all, are
existentially separate from us.  But Levinas makes this difference the
foundation of his ethics.  Just because stage characters are, as the
player-king in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern says, "the opposite of
people" doesn't guard us against their calling on us for an ethical
response.

Cheers,
Se


Re: Merry Wives Appeal

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0400  Monday, 8 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Karen Coley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 5 Mar 1999 16:23:28 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Appeal for Merry Wives

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 05 Mar 1999 23:00:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0364 Re: Merry Wives Appeal


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Coley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 5 Mar 1999 16:23:28 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Appeal for Merry Wives

I am shocked and amazed at the negative response to using Merry Wives
for a summer festival.  It seems to me to be a fabulous choice.  The
raving jealous husband who sinks to disguises to catch his own wife and,
of course, the melodramatic lovesick Falstaff who is literally beaten
off three times (in three creative ways) are rich in one-liner and
slapstick humour. That's what keeps the hot and thirsty festival viewer
interested.  Add to this that it is a lesser known play, so people will
want to find out what happens.  And the surrounding costumes and actors
of the festival should complete the illusion of the play's setting-one
of the few Shakespeare plays set in a small English.

I can only explain the poor response on list by assuming people are
either unfamiliar with the play or have never seen a performance which
milked the play's humorous aspects.  I've seen two very good
productions, one at Arroyo Grande High School and one at the Chicago
Repetory Theater.  The former audience was packed with high school
students and parents and the latter with college freshmen.  In both
cases they were rolling in the aisles.  I may be a mere erudite grad
student, but I can highly recommend the popular appeal of MWW, far and
away over the courtly sonnet competitions of Love's Labours Lost!

Cheers,
Karen Coley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 05 Mar 1999 23:00:00 -0500
Subject: 10.0364 Re: Merry Wives Appeal
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0364 Re: Merry Wives Appeal

I saw 3 productions in a row a couple of seasons ago, 2 outdoors, one at
the Olivier, all well-attended and received.  In spite of the low
opinion critics have of it today, I have read that at one time (1700?)
MWW was the most popular of the comedies. It is certainly popular with
me!  In addition to the admirable Wives, I have a great fondness for the
Welsh parson.  But do you have talented children to be in it?  It
doesn't work well without a liberal sprinkling of charming kids, and it
is a rare kid who can make himself heard outdoors, unamplified.

G.L.Horton <http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

Re: Maps of Shakespeare's Plays

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0398  Monday, 8 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 06 Mar 1999 08:37:01 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays

[2]     From:   Peter T. Hadorn <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 07 Mar 1999 14:49:39 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays

[3]     From:   Louis Marder <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sun, 7 Mar 1999 17:51:23 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 06 Mar 1999 08:37:01 +0000
Subject: 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays

>Nonetheless, I think it's helpful, especially for the
>newcomer to Shakespeare, to see Bohemia on a map, and therefore see that
>it has no coastline. Because I couldn't find such a map, I made one (or
>rather two: one for Great Britain and another for everywhere else).

The point has been argued, to what conclusion, if any, I don't recall,
that in Shakespeare's time, the English concept of Bohemia was much
larger than ours today and it did border the water. (Notice our use of
the term "Bohemian" for gypsies, or anyone with gypsylike behavior.)

In any case, a map of Shakespeare's world would have to be based on 16th
century English maps, or maps that would have been the ones that 16th
century English had access to, to be of real value.

Stephanie Hughes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter T. Hadorn <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 07 Mar 1999 14:49:39 -0600
Subject: 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays

Regarding maps that depict the settings for Shakespeare's plays:  about
15 years ago I bought Isaac Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare (I'm not sure
of the name of the book but it's by Asimov) and he had maps in the
book.  I no longer have the book so I can't be more detailed.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Marder <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sun, 7 Mar 1999 17:51:23 -0600
Subject: 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0391 Maps of Shakespeare's Plays

March 7, 1999---

Dear Ray:  Somewhere in my archives I have two or three maps of
Shakespeare's plays - maybe four.  I got them in  the early 50's.  They
are posters about 20 x 24 and show England, Scotland...Italy.  They are
not very detailed, but they are OK for classrooms.  If you get no
further replies, let me know.  They may take me an hour to find.  Louis
Marder, Shakespeare Data Bank  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Hamlet's Age

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0399  Monday, 8 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 6 Mar 1999 23:29:21 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0363 Re: Hamlet's Age

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 06 Mar 1999 00:41:27 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0376 Re: Hamlet's Age


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 6 Mar 1999 23:29:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0363 Re: Hamlet's Age
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0363 Re: Hamlet's Age

There's also Nash's Apology for the Drama (or something like that) in
which he claims that plays offer a place for the idle youth of court and
Inns of Court to while away the afternoon instead of causing mischief.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY
York College
C. W. Post College

<snip>don't know his exact source.  In any case, as Jack Heller points
out,young and rebellious men were a staple of the contemporary stage.
We

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 06 Mar 1999 00:41:27 -0500
Subject: 10.0376 Re: Hamlet's Age
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0376 Re: Hamlet's Age

Just read "Shakespeare's Shakespeare" (1998) from our local library.
Much space devoted to the simultaneous stretching and foreshortening of
time as a structural element of WS's dramaturgy, rather than the result
of carelessness or error.  Author addresses not just such famous
instances as this one or the double time of Othello (when was the
marriage consummated?  How long did it last?  How could D have even had
an opportunity to be unfaithful?) but dozens of others, large and small,
and all quite deliberate, calling attention to dramatic or psychological
time that contradicts the declared clock-times, often within a single
extended scene.

>Why is it so difficult to acknowledge that Hamlet is student age (20 or
>so) when the play begins but 30 by the time it concludes? ------------

>Hamlet is a character in a play. In the last act of that play, the
>character is identified as being thirty years old. The character in the
>beginning appears considerably younger. My assumption has always been
>that the character metaphorically ages between leaving for England and
>returning to Denmark and that the aging involves an acceptance of death

G.L.Horton <http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

DVD vs. Laserdisc

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0397  Monday, 8 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 5 Mar 1999 22:27:30 -0500
        Subj:   DVD vs. Laser

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 6 Mar 1999 20:24:56 -0000
        Subj:   Re: Video Discs

[3]     From:   Douglas M Lanier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 7 Mar 1999 11:46:28 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare on Laserdisc

[4]     From:   William Kemp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 07 Mar 1999 13:18:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0380 Re: Video Discs as Obsolete


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 5 Mar 1999 22:27:30 -0500
Subject:        DVD vs. Laser

It certainly does look like DVD is going to stick.  Last Christmas was
the big test - and consumers purchased DVD machines and disks in much
higher numbers than anticipated, and the one millionth player sold mark
was passed recently.   Many electronics stores are beginning to
liquidate Laser disk players at ridiculously low prices, and the fact
that you can still play audio CDs on a DVD player is a definite lure.

That being said, there are currently tens of thousands of laser titles
available compared to only thousands of DVD titles.  And although the
major studios seem to be releasing mass quantities of DVD - to the tune
of hundreds of new titles each month - it will still be many years
before DVD matches Laser in terms of choice.  Keep in mind too that many
of the more obscure titles may not find DVD release for decades, so
video will continue to retain a stronghold in this arena for some time.

Tanya Gough
Poor Yorick - CD & Video Emporium

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 6 Mar 1999 20:24:56 -0000
Subject:        Re: Video Discs

Hardy Cook writes,

>I was under the impression the laser video
>disks are an obsolete technology and the
>DVD would probably be the technology to replace laser
>disks. Am I incorrect in my assumption?

DVD will probably take over, but is being held back by the popularity in
the Far East of VideoCD, which is ordinary audio-CD technology carrying
a compressed video signal. A VideoCD takes two disk to hold one movie,
but it's established and cheap technology.

The other thing holding DVD back is that the content producers, the
studios, are reluctant to release movies on DVD until regionalization is
fully implemented. Currently most DVD players will play a disk no matter
where it was pressed, but the content producers have forced the chip
manufacturers to make players which work only in one region. Thus, DVDs
made in the US would not work in Europe. It's not clear whether this
regionalization will succeed, since what controls the 'refusal' to play
is firmware which can be changed by individual manufacturers. So, Sony
players will undoubtedly be region-sensitive (since Sony owns content
producers too) but Far Eastern manufactured players may well retain the
ability to play any disk.

In case anyone is interested, all new VCRs in Europe now play NTSC as
well as PAL-encoded cassettes, so anything available for purchasing over
the Internet is now playable here. However, US VCRs do not play
PAL-encoded cassettes.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas M Lanier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 7 Mar 1999 11:46:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shakespeare on Laserdisc

Since Hardy raised the question about the status of laserdisc and DVD,
and since so many of us use movie clips in our classrooms, here's a
short primer for those new to laserdisc and DVD technology.

Both technologies are designed as alternatives to videotape.  The
advantages of Laserdisc (LD) and DVD over tape are:

*  they allow you to move quickly from scene to scene;
*  the video is much sharper and, unlike tape, is not supposed to
degrade over time;
*  the sound is designed for a home theater speaker system, at least on
contemporary titles;
*  some LDs and DVDs have additional materials:  commentary tracks by
the director or cast, trailers, outtakes, documentaries ("on the making
of").  Many LDs and DVDs (though not all) feature "letterboxing,"
allowing you to view the movie in its original visual composition (or
something close to it).

At the present moment, Laserdisc technology is being superceded by DVDs
(as Hardy correctly suggested). However, one shouldn't give up on
Laserdiscs quite yet.  The market niche of DVD, at least at present, is
primarily mass-market movies, with a few popular back-catalogue titles
thrown in for good measure.  The market niche of Laserdisc, on the other
hand, was for the serious movie afficionado, so that laserdisc features
many movies with small or specialized audiences that will probably never
appear on DVD (or at least not in the near future).  (In the past major
studios would license small market films to niche market laserdisc
producers, but that practice has largely stopped because of corporate
mergers, uncertainty about the future of DVD, and, frankly, greed.)  At
present, four Shakespeare movies are slated for DVD:  Branagh's MUCH ADO
(has already appeared), Luhrmann's ROMEO AND JULIET (will appear in the
spring), Olivier's HENRY V (will appear in the spring), and Kaufman's
TROMEO AND JULIET (has already appeared).  It's a virtual certainty that
there will also be a DVD of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, but there has been no
official announcement of this. But beyond that, the future of
Shakespeare on DVD is very uncertain, given the dominant business model
currently driving DVD.

You should also know that DVD includes copy protection software that
will prevent you from making a VHS copy to show in your classes;
laserdisc does not include this feature (and so you can make a tape
copy).  There are technical differences in how the image is produced in
laserdisc and DVD, but in most cases the average viewer won't be able to
see the difference.

One more complication: new laserdiscs are being produced primarily for
and in Asian markets, where LD remains strong.  For that reason, many
Shakespeare LDs are falling out of print very quickly.  If you are
interested in buying a Shakespeare title on LD, you should do so NOW.

My advice for those interested in moving to these technologies is to
consider buying a combination laserdisc-DVD player.  That way, you can
have the best of both worlds.  I should add that I have no business
interest in either LD or DVD.

Cheers,
Douglas Lanier
University of New Hampshire
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

P.S.  To the list of Shakespeare movies on LD already given, let me add
the following:

Midsummer Night's Dream (dir. Dieterle and Reinhardt)
Romeo and Juliet (dir. Cukor;  dir. Castellani)
As You Like It (dir. Czinner, with Olivier)
Taming of the Shrew (dir. Taylor, with Pickford and Fairbanks)
Othello (dir. Welles)
Macbeth (dir. Welles;  dir. Polanski)
Prospero's Books (dir. Greenaway)
King Lear (dir. Elliot, with Olivier)

In addition, Performing Arts Video did a series of LDs of Shakespeare
plays:  King Lear, Taming of the Shrew, Richard II, Romeo and Juliet,
Othello.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Kemp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 07 Mar 1999 13:18:09 -0500
Subject: 10.0380 Re: Video Discs as Obsolete
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0380 Re: Video Discs as Obsolete

Hardy reports the impression that video discs are obsolete, replaced by
DVDs, and wonders whether or not his impression is inaccurate. A nice
question.

As manufactured objects, video discs are more or less permanent; they
don't wear out as you play them, as videotapes do. So the Shakespeare
discs in print are still viable and a worthwhile investment if you have
or can get the machinery to play them (one video disc player, from
Pioneer, is still on the market; it also plays DVDs).

Right now, far more Shakespeare is available on video disc than on DVD,
and the visual/acoustic quality of the discs I listed in my previous
posting is very high. They have the additional advantage (in most cases)
of presenting the films in their original aspect ratios.

In the fullness of time, the catalogue of DVD titles will probably catch
up to what's available on laser disc. But right now the laser disc
titles are more numerous. They're also easy to buy from reliable web
vendors. Laser discs are a bit more expensive than comparable DVDs, but
I can't think of any Shakespeare titles currently available on DVD
(though I'm sure there are a few).

Bill Kemp
Mary Washington College
Fredericksburg, Va.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.