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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Innogen
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1983  Monday, 15 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 1999 12:00:12 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1946 Re: Innogen

[2]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 1999 12:44:04 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1968 Re: Innogen

[3]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 1999 12:11:11 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1968 Re: Innogen

[4]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 1999 12:36:29 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1968 Re: Innogen

[5]     From:   Judy Lewis <
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        Date:   Sunday, 14 Nov 1999 11:00:12 +1300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1968 Re: Innogen


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 1999 12:00:12 -0500
Subject: 10.1946 Re: Innogen
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1946 Re: Innogen

Thank you to Phyllis Gorfain and Tom Bishop for their kind consideration
of my article concerning Innogen.  Tom's most recent thoughtful response
brings up an issue that I had to confront when directing Much Ado that
I've never written about, so I thought I'd introduce it now.  It's
absolutely true that Innogen is not mentioned at all after 2.1, so
introducing her after that scene would involve something less than a
strict adherence to the QF stage directions.  The problem with Much Ado
(and nearly all of Shakespeare's plays, I imagine) is that an absolutely
strict adherence to entry directions leads to several contradictions
within a production. For example, I've always wondered who exactly is
supposed to be present at the wedding in 4.1.  The Folio entry
directions read: "Enter Prince, Bastard, Leonato, Frier, Claudio,
Benedicke, Hero, and Beatrice."  If we take these directions literally,
these eight people alone are in attendance, but this situation tends to
contradict other elements of the play.  First, Leonato, in 2.1, denies
Claudio's desire for a wedding on the following day and insists on at
least a week to make preparations.  This sounds like a major social
event hosted by the Governor of Messina rather than a small affair for
the immediate family.  Second, all of the characters act as if Claudio's
accusations of Hero have damaged her reputation so thoroughly that she
will hardly be able to recover it.  Would this be true if only the eight
characters listed above were present?  Or does it assume that anybody
who is anybody in Messina is there to witness Hero's disgrace?  I don't
think I have ever seen a production of the play that did not place just
about everyone in the cast on stage for the beginning of 4.1; Branagh's
film also includes dozens of extras.  My suspicion is that this
particular entry direction only refers to those characters who will
speak in the scene, and it is not intended to limit the number of
characters who people the platform.

What about Antonio, for instance?  Are we to assume that Leonato would
marry off his only daughter without inviting his brother, with whom he
is clearly intimate?  This issue is muddled further by the ambiguity of
Antonio's actions in 5.1; it seems impossible to determine for certain
whether he, like Leonato, merely pretends that Hero is dead when he
confronts Claudio and the Prince, or whether he, like the rest of
Messina, genuinely believes that she died as a result of Claudio's
accusations.  Was Antonio entirely absent from the nuptials, or did he
simply withdraw with the rest of the crowd at the exit of Claudio, Don
John, and the Prince and therefore simply miss the Friar's plan?  If it
is possible to believe that Hero's uncle is supposed to be there, along
with lots of other people, although they are not mentioned in the entry
directions, is it much of a leap to imagine Hero's mother would be there
as well?

Perhaps I'm applying 20th century logic and assumptions to this issue,
but my guess is that mothers usually attended the weddings of their
daughters in Shakespeare's time as they do today.  As with any case in
which two or more parts of the text conflict, a director has to make a
choice either to resolve the contradiction or to let the anomaly stand.
In my case, I elected to try to resolve it in such a way that the
solution conveyed the notions about wives and silence that my reading of
the rest of the play confirmed.  As Tom notes, I can't claim that my
strategy in any way "solves" the puzzle of Innogen.  I can only assert
that the character is a feature of the text, and that she provides the
opportunity for meaningful performance choices.

Michael Friedman
University of Scranton

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 1999 12:44:04 -0500
Subject: 10.1968 Re: Innogen
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1968 Re: Innogen

>Surely the point at the end of
>this play is that marriage represents a formal silencing of the woman,
>whose generic "noisiness" is aligned throughout with the negative
>influence of the bastard Don John.

So writes John Drakakis. Beatrice's verbal abilities are "aligned" with
the "negative influence" of Don John?  I don't think this is
transparent, and I'd like a little construction.  In fact, doesn't
Margaret's silence aid Don John's plot?

Bill Godshalk

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 1999 12:11:11 -0600
Subject: 10.1968 Re: Innogen
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1968 Re: Innogen

This discussion of the Innogen problem reminds me of the
"Katherine-Rosaline tangle" (LLL, 2,1) which editor R. W. David ascribes
to "failure to cancel a rejected draft" (Arden, intro. xx-xxi).  He
explains that Shakespeare scrawled his cancellations illegibly or
"roughly" (xxi), and the compositor's misreadings were responsible for
incoherent texts.  Moreover, "the speech-headings suggest two different
drafts" (xxii) in that certain characters, Navarre and particularly the
comic figures, sometimes have personal names and sometimes generic
names.

Is this and the disappearing Innogen of Much Ado an example of the
problem of "originary texts?"  I have never understood perfectly either
the term "originary" nor the crucial, death-defying, edifice-collapsing
nature of such problems.  Pardon my ignorance for asking for a fuller
discussion.

Judy Craig

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 1999 12:36:29 -0600
Subject: 10.1968 Re: Innogen
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1968 Re: Innogen

More problems with Innogen.  As John Drakakis writes:

<  Surely the point at the end of>
<this play is that marriage represents a formal silencing of the woman,>
<whose generic "noisiness" is aligned throughout with the negative>
<influence of the bastard Don John. The only way to silence "nothing"
in>
<this play, to give female chastity a voice that replicates the>
<patriarchal register of Messina, is to appropriate it, to
re-articulate>
<it, according to the demands of marriage.>

<Of course, as in a number of Shakespearean texts, the process of>
<incorporation demystifies (whether intentionally or otherwise is>
<immaterial) the very institution that the play's dominant aesthetics
aim>
<to sustain.>

How marriage represents a "formal silencing of women" I will never
understand, but more to the point, to believe that Beatrice is
associated with the "negative" influence of Don John who "cannot hide
what I am" (1.3.12-13, Arden) is incredible.

Beatrice does nothing but try to hide what she is-attracted to
Benedick-with scorn and high wit.  She is involved in a "merry war"
(1.1.56) which ends in mutual happiness while Don John is by his own
mouth "a plain-dealing villain" (1.3.30) who has "decreed not to sing in
my cage" (1.3.32).  If anyone sings in her cage, it is Beatrice.

Judy Craig

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judy Lewis <
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Date:           Sunday, 14 Nov 1999 11:00:12 +1300
Subject: 10.1968 Re: Innogen
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1968 Re: Innogen

I've been very busy lately and only just caught up with the discussion
on Innogen, so here's my two pence worth.

Much Ado shows every sign of being written in haste - one of those
examples so lamented by Ben Jonson when he complained that Shakespeare
never 'blotted' a line.  I have no doubt that Innogen, like Antonio's
son, was originally envisaged but then dropped when Shakespeare realised
not that they were unnecessary but that they were actually a hindrance
to his developing scenario.  If - as was suggested in Shakespeare in
Love - the actors had the first scenes before the whole play was
written, this would explain why he did not go back and delete those
names.

Innogen's absence is essential - a mother would control her household,
supervise her daughter closely, and take good care to see that her
virtue could not be called into question, in a way that the waiting
gentlewomen cannot and Beatrice probably wouldn't even think to.  It is
inconceivable that she would remain silent at the wedding, were she
there, which she clearly isn't.  The very looseness of the behaviour in
this household - Margaret at Hero's window etc - suggests a household
without a woman at its head.

Similarly, Antonio cannot have a son - if there were a male cousin, it
would be his job to challenge Claudio, but it is essential to the plot
that Benedick be forced into that role.

The issue of Margaet's silence is an interesting one - another example,
I think, of Shakespeare's haste.  Branagh showed her horrified and
running away, as though scared to confess.  In my own recent production,
I took the liberty of having her absent herself from the wedding by
going off beforehand with the messenger, clearly for a romantic tryst -
done in a short mimed scene, just before the wedding.  This gave her an
excuse for not being where she would otherwise be, and at the same time
reinforcing the characterisation of her as a bit of a lightskirt.
Having Don John threaten her is an interesting idea, but it suggests
collusion which Borachio repudiates and which Leonato seems to dismiss
also.
 

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