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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Responses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0885  Friday, 21 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Judith Craig <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 May 1999 11:15:06 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 10.0878 Re: Chooseth

[2]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 May 1999 07:39:43 PDT
        Subj:   Reusing Names

[3]     From:   Jimmy Jung <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 May 1999 15:02:55 -0400
        Subj:   Taming in DC

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 May 1999 10:13:12 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0881 Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Craig <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 May 1999 11:15:06 -0500
Subject: Re: Chooseth
Comment:        SHK 10.0878 Re: Chooseth

It is interesting that another Antonio is the unregenerate brother of
Prospero in The Tempest.  In V.1 275-76, when Prospero says, "this thing
of darkness I/acknowledge mine," the usual understanding is that he is
referring to Caliban.  However, three men have "robb'd me" (V.1.272),
Trinculo, Sebastian, and Antonio, while "this demi-devil" (v.1.272),
Caliban, has plotted against his life.  Prospero goes on to say that
"Two of these fellows you/Must know and own;" (V.1.274-75), Trinculo and
Sebastian I assume, so does the "thing of darkness" (V.1.275) refer to
Antonio or
Caliban? There are two people left on the stage, Antonio and Caliban, so
the reference is ambiguous.  Shakespeare seemed to hate Antonio figures!

Judy Craig
1204 Lawson
Midland, TX  79701-4044
email:  
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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 May 1999 07:39:43 PDT
Subject:        Reusing Names

Abigail Quart asks:

>Two Antonios (Twelfth Night and Merchant of Venice) who love a young man
>who seems to reciprocate, then dumps his Antonio for a woman? <snip> Does
>anyone know any other instances of using a
>name twice with similar characters?

If you don't mind examples not drawn from Shakespeare, I argue briefly
in my forthcoming book for the influence of Marlowe's Edward II on
Thomas Middleton's and Thomas Dekker's The Roaring Girl. Within 20 lines
in a conversation between the Mortimers, father and son, come the names
of two important characters in The Roaring Girl:

Elder Mortimer: "The mightiest kings have had their minions;/ Great
Alexander lov'd Hephaestion."  (Edward II; 1.4.393-394)

and  Young Mortimer, referring to Gaveston:

He wears a lord's revenue on his back,
And, Midas-like, he jets it in the court,
With base outlandish cullions at his heels . . .
I have not seen a dapper Jack so brisk.  (Ed. II; 1.4.409-411, 414)

Alexander is the name of the leading antagonist in The Roaring Girl. And
Jack Dapper is the main homosexual character, about whom his own father
says: "Bring him abed with these: when his purse jingles,/ Roaring boys
follow at's tail, fencers, and ningles" (Roaring Girl; 3.3.65-66).

Middleton also uses Hephaestion's name in Michaelmas Term for Ephestian
Quomodo, another antagonist with homosexual resonances.

The name Thomas seems also to have gained homoerotic punning uses, with
a Thomas Long in The Roaring Girl, and the following bit of dialogue
from The Witch of Edmonton, collaboratively written by Dekker, Ford, and
William Rowley. Dog is the witch's familiar spirit, and Young Banks is
the dupe:

Banks: What might one call your name, dog?
Dog: My dame calls me Tom.
Banks: 'Tis well, and she may call me Ass, so there's an whole one
betwixt
us, Tom-Ass.  (3.1.114-117)

It seems that certain names, because of various associations, became the
preferred choices for characters involved in homoerotic situations:
Sebastian (which also appears homoerotically in The Roaring Girl),
Antonio, Ganymede, and perhaps Thomas.

This leads to a question I have: Besides Richard Easy in Michaelmas
Term, do any of you know of other instances in which Richard or the
diminutive form of that name is used for a homosexual character in
Renaissance drama?

J. Heller

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jimmy Jung <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 May 1999 15:02:55 -0400
Subject:        Taming in DC

Sorry to be so long getting back to you.  I'm actually a month behind in
reading the list.

Yes, Ms. Beach had Shakespeare & Co. in mind.  I was not familiar with
the bookstore and did not include it in my summary.

jimmy

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 May 1999 10:13:12 +0000
Subject: 10.0881 Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0881 Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth

Hi, Lucia.

>Well: But priests' attitude about death penalty (and about many other
>questions, like Jewish, heretics, Galileo Galilei , Giordano Bruno and
>so on) is not the same one to day and in Shakespeare's age.  Catholic
>Church, for instance, has spoken against death penalty only in these
>last years with this Pope.

Which shows neatly, I think, why we shouldn't essentialize normative
frameworks to explain a philosophy.  Lots of things can be done under
the name of Christianity.  And while we're at it, which Christianity are
we to take as normative-Orthodox? Catholic?  Protestant? Coptic?
Nestorian?--and which Christians are we to take as exemplary-Pope Leo or
Martin Luther? The Rev. Jesse Jackson, or some crazed white supremacist?
The Afrikaaner Reformed Church, or the Anglican Church of South Africa?
The leaders of the anti-Semite German church in the 1930s, or Karl
Barth's Confessing Church? The enormous variety within Christian
lifestyles should guard us against declaring any of them to be
"Christianity". More generally, it should probably guard us against the
larger notion current in criticism, that we can explain social relations
at the micro level by looking to the broad history of ideas, since a
single idea can have two or more contrary applications. We should
hesitate from blaming individual injustices and bad deeds on
philosophies, since most philosophies could also be used to condemn the
same injustices.

>But actually Christian Churches did use Christ's words in
>order to maintain the political and social status quo or to change it
>for some other too much human reason. After the first times when
>Christian were persecuted by Roman power, Christian Churches have never
>followed Christ's scandalous attitude with human norms and value.

Who cares?  "Actual Christian Churches" aren't a useful measure of
Christianity.  In fact, if we follow Kierkegaard, then these churches at
most participate in Christendom.

>As to the hybris of assuming to have some power on souls'destiny, I add
>that there is no doubt that, with the invention of Purgatory and of
>system of indulgences, Catholic Church reinforced during the Middle Age
>(and till Shakespearean time) people's belief/hope that, though God, men
>and Church could really have some good control over their souls destiny
>after death.

Actually, God is not the means of human control over the soul's destiny,
but rather represents the limits of human control.  If you don't believe
me, Huizinga has a very old but good chapter on pessimism, in which he
points towards popular preachers proclaiming the ubiquity of damnation.
Surely the whole point of the dance of death is that human, political
and social power is powerless against death.  Hence the Council of
Trent's declaration that the penitent should approach death "in fear and
trembling".  Even the doctrine of indulgences doesn't fundamentally
alter the radical powerlessness of the Christian subject vis-a-vis
death: indulgences could only shorten one's time in purgatory; nobody
said that they could actually get you there.

>I have in my mind also that for many centuries Christian funerals, for
>instance, were denied to suicides, even if Church would be so generous
>to allow God to have at last a different mind.

Right.  As long as God can have a different mind (which, assuming one is
Theist, has nothing to do with the church's "generosity"), then where
you're buried doesn't matter at all.

>What Shakespeare would think about this hypocrite attitude of Church is
>clear enough in the cemetery scene.

I don't see why it's so hypocritical.  But perhaps you see a failure to
follow counsels of perfection hypocritical, in which case, we're all
hypocritics and the word rather loses its meaning, except perhaps to
indicate the ubiquity of sin.

>As to people's pleasure in imagining villains' damnation, it is
>witnessed by a lot of descriptions of Hell in paintings and in
>literature. Is not Dante thought to have been a keenly religious
>Christian even if he dared to describe God's justice? He based his
>building on Thomas and Augustin theological thought, but also on his own
>moral and political passions in putting in Hell  rather than in other
>places men he well knew.

He also put good friends of his in Hell, if memory serves me correctly,
and pities the hell-bound.  More to the point, the Inferno is just a
running metaphor, which is reversed in the highest levels of the
Paradisum.  Dante isn't writing a tome on geography.  And even if Dante
was imagining (which he wasn't) that he had god-like knowledge of the
destiny of souls, then he'd just be an example, and examples don't get
us anywhere:  they can always be flawed, and outside the average; in any
case, they only describe the flawed application of Christian doctrine by
a flawed, fallen man.

Cheers,
Se

 

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