Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: December ::
Various Regarding TN
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2217  Wednesday, 15 December 1999.

[1]     From:   Peter T. Hadorn <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 11:46:44 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.2208 Re: SHK 10.1753

[2]     From:   David Lindley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 19:21:31 GMT
        Subj:   Re: Viola as Singer

[3]     From:   Frank Whigham <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 15:20:25 -0600
        Subj:   On Music in TN


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter T. Hadorn <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 11:46:44 -0600
Subject: 10.2208 Re: SHK 10.1753
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.2208 Re: SHK 10.1753

"What is [Feste] doing chez Orsino anyway?"

I disagree that Feste's being at Orsino's indicates that 12N is not a
finished text.  Rather, I think it suggests that Feste and Viola share
some important qualities.  Both of them are the only characters who move
freely between both Orsino's and Olivia's households.  As clown and as
"eunuch," both characters possess ambiguous social/ personal identities
that make it difficult for others to interpret (I believe that it is
Viola's very ambiguous nature that makes her attract to both O and O).
Similarly, both characters are masters of manipulating language-again
suggesting the theme of "difficulty of interpreting the signs."

What's the point?  Here's my half-baked theory.  I see 12n as a Festive
comedy, a la Barber.  Namely, the main characters have to undergo a
whole lot confusion/chaos before they get straightened out.

My two cents worth.

Peter Hadorn
University of Wisconsin-Platteville

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 19:21:31 GMT
Subject:        Re: Viola as Singer

It is not, of course, quite true that Viola's singing ability is never
mentioned again - in 2.4. Orsino says: 'Now good Cesario, but that piece
of song, That old and antique song we heard last night ....  Come but
one verse'.  This certainly looks like a direct invitation to
Viola/Cesario to perform 'Come away death', which is forestalled by one
of the intervention: 'He is not here that should sing it'.  This is not
the only possible reading, - T.W. Craik in Arden2 would have none of it
- though perhaps the most obvious.  Feste cannot be there immediately,
as he has only just appeared in Olivia's house in the previous scene,
hence, presumably the delay. (There is no exit marked for Feste in the
previous scene, and as editors have pointed out, Feste is given no lines
for some while at its end - which may itself be a sign of incomplete
revision.)

But arguing about dating on the basis of what might or might not be a
revision is, it seems to me, rather dodgy (what, after all, about the
clumsiness in Cymbeline, where Guiderius and Arveragus say the dirge
over Fidele rather than sing it since their voices now 'have got the
mannish crack' - it's plausible at one level, awkward at another).

There does not seem to me to be clear evidence whether this revision (if
that's what it is) took place 'while Shakespeare was writing the play',
or was incorporated in some later reworking, or whether it is simply a
mark of something not yet fully worked out in the version we have.
There are plenty of examples of loose ends in Shakespeare (Antonio's son
in The Tempest being but one), and a good deal depends upon the view one
takes of the nature of the copy behind the Folio text.

Whatever view one takes, it's a matter of supposition.  How, for
example, about the hypothesis that the actor playing Feste (Robert
Armin?) who has at the least to sing 'O mistress mine', got on his
high-horse and demanded to sing 'Come away death' as well? After all, if
Viola's voice had acquired the mannish crack it would make the opening
comments 'thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him' faintly risible?
Why go to such lengths to sort out the problem of a boy's breaking voice
- supplying a quibbling exchange between Orsino and Feste, as well as
inventing a new character - and not sort out the most obvious marker of
the problem?

David Lindley
School of English
University of Leeds

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Dec 1999 15:20:25 -0600
Subject:        On Music in TN

>Aren't we rather meant to consider Orsino the prototype of the modern
major egotist?, >and his love for the moody music of love as the echo
effect of his narcissism?

[vs.]

>the play offers a picture [of music] which can be placed within a range of
possibilities >that his culture offered - and that's as far as it goes.

In seeing Orsino as musical narcissist Tom Cartelli is in excellent
company: Kenneth Burke saw Orsino as a larva or some other primitive
creature lolled in a bath of amniotic nutrient. Think how happy Olivia
will be "when all her parts are all supplied, and filled / Her sweet
perfections, with one self king! Me!" She who wastes her salty tears
watering her chamber round, seasoning (pickling? another food term,
anyway) a dead love, will soon be watering Me, once my golden shaft
eliminates my rivals.

Burke says he's translating what the Duke means to tell us, "speaking as
the first speaker in a well-formed drama," about the quality the
succeeding events are to quantify: "As cells absorbing sunlight, as the
fetus basking in its womb-heaven, receiving nutriment; not venturing
forth aggressively, predaciously . . . but simply as larva feed, let me
take in gentle music. .  . . There are 'musicians attending'-they have
played somewhat, encouraging you to rise and fall . . . with their
melody, setting you so early into a mood of acquiesence. You too have
laid yourselves open, as cells are filled, as the fetus prospers by
merely having bounty forced upon it. The ground lies stretching beneath
fine rain-not an assailment, but a gently-falling mist, blotted by the
soil (I refer not to the weather, but a way of feeling.) We are
recipient. Play on." (From The Philosophy of Literary Form, 1941, on the
first scene of TN: 291.)

"Away before me to sweet beds of flowers. / Love-thoughts lie rich when
canopied with bowers." (Go tune up the bathwater, nice and warm, and set
the stage for some more fantasy.)

No doubt music had many effects, but surely they were specific to its
place and time of enactment? Here, in this scene, I don't hear the
caissons rolling along, or drum and fife, or Keith Moon; the range is
clearly narrowed. Still, Orsino is preparing for some more performance
(in public) of his private emotions. For me there's a considerable hint
(a taste?) of Sir Epicure Mammon.

        Two questions:

(1) What does Burke suggest by imagining WS putting the *audience* in
Orsino's onanimous mood?

(2) What about all of those antitypes who find music antipathetic?
Shylock with his bagpipes and overflowing urine; and Hotspur who prefers
a candlestick turned on a lathe or a dry wheel grate on the axletree to
the sound of music; and Othello, whose Clown says the musicians' music
sounds (according to David Bevington's edition) like "one whose nose has
been attacked by syphilis."

Frank Whigham
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.