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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Re: Chooseth and Antonios
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0896  Tuesday, 25 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 May 1999 16:51:50 +0100
        Subj:   Re: Fancy Bred

[2]     From:   Tom Berger <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 May 1999 11:06 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0885 Responses

[3]     From:   Frank Whigham <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 May 1999 11:47:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0876 Re: Chooseth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Monday, 24 May 1999 16:51:50 +0100
Subject:        Re: Fancy Bred

Back from a brief holiday, I will let the arguments put by others stand
unchallenged, but I will respond to Pete McCluskey's: 'Your statement is
unclear-Portia doesn't help out the others with the hazard song.  As for
her trying to subvert the process, well, I don't get the impression that
she knows the correct casket until the first two have been opened'

I was referring to the oft-documented fact that Portia uses the word
'hazard' in speaking to all her suitors - see II.i, II.ix, III.ii.
Since the word appears on the lead casket and not on the others, it has
often been assumed that she does know which casket is which (there have
been earlier suitors, if a realistic explanation is needed) and that she
is somehow driven/compelled/inclined to give everyone a little help. The
reason for this is unknowable, but it is something that happens in
fairy-tale settings or, indeed, in spiritual quests. I do persist in
seeing the fairy-tale/mythological element as just that, pending a
decent explanation of the assumed irony.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Berger <
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Date:           Monday, 24 May 1999 11:06 -0500
Subject: 10.0885 Responses
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0885 Responses

There appears to be an onomastic thread going on, with Sebastian,
Antonio, and Thomas.

Should anyone want hard copy, I would commend Cynthia Lewis' _Particular
Saints: Shakespeare's four Antonios, their contexts, and their plays_
(Delaware, 1977). As well, tooting his own horn, I would commend my own
(revised) _Index of Characters in Early Modern English Drama_
(Cambridge, 1998).  My count has 40 Antonios cavorting about, 19
Sebastians, and 66 Thomases, not to mention 48 Toms,. one Tomaso, one
Tomazin, and 2 Tomazos.  Much work to be done on Toms, says, Tom Berger

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <
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Date:           Monday, 24 May 1999 11:47:18 -0500
Subject: 10.0876 Re: Chooseth
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0876 Re: Chooseth

I quite agree with nearly all that Ed suggests (re Antonio's desire for
Bassanio), and indeed think that Bassanio explicitly (and slimily)
trades on the other's desire with the peroratio phrase "O my Antonio"
when he initially seeks the loan. At the same time one may read his
insistence on persuasion beforehand as marking by a distancing a
discomfort with Antonio's "purse and person" offer. These are maybe
minor variations on Ed's view, but I did not mean to suggest that a
straight Bassanio refutes or undercuts the homoerotic account of the
relation; quite the reverse.

For what it is worth, speaking of bisexuality, Dekker's Gull's Hornbook
(I write from memory) depicts a typical young gallant as equipped with a
"perinado," which Pendry translates as "bum-boy" (a page, apparently),
to whom the gallant might turn for entertainment of a Saturday night
when he hasn't got a date. This text is patently full of ironies, though
whether this factoid should be seen as one of them is not clear.

We need a book about pages.

Frank Whigham
 

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