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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Innogen
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1993  Tuesday, 16 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Nov 1999 11:03:08 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1983 Re: Innogen

[2]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Nov 1999 08:34:09 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1983 Re: Innogen


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Nov 1999 11:03:08 -0800
Subject: 10.1983 Re: Innogen
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1983 Re: Innogen

Michael Friedmann writes:

>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?

There are counter-arguments to both of these: 1. the ceremony itself
might not be the most complicated part of the wedding-the reception or
dance or dinner could involve the whole town, without everyone actually
being at the ceremony; 2. even without lots of people around, the
ceremony is a public event, and an abandonment at the altar would be a
matter of public knowledge, even without the whole town seeing it
first-hand.

I would add that placing a silent Innogen in the midst of the wedding
ceremony doesn't merely draw attention towards a theme of silent women
on stage, which would (presumably) be there anyway; it's to enhance the
silencing of women.  We would have only ourselves to blame for the
sexism of silent on-stage female characters, not Shakespeare and not
Shakespeare's cultural setting or that of the play.

By the way, wouldn't Benedick also be a lot more silent without
Beatrice's prodding?  He's the opposite of Don John, who says nothing,
but opposites need one another.  And don't Verges and Dogberry manage to
be silent about everything that matters?  Actually, doesn't someone draw
attention to the fact that Leonato is failing to loudly defend Hero?  I
would have to say (!) that silence and babbling are morally equal:  the
silence of women is no more to be blamed for the events of the play than
the blusteringly vacuousness of the men.

Cheers,
Se

 

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