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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: June ::
Re: Chooseth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0935  Thursday, 3 June 1999.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 02 Jun 1999 10:29:10 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Chooseth

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 02 Jun 1999 11:32:03 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0929 Re: Chooseth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Wednesday, 02 Jun 1999 10:29:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Chooseth

Brian Haylett has every right to apply a Jungian analysis if he chooses
to, but such a psychological allegory, even if true, only provides one
level of meaning in the play. Maybe Portia represents "Antonio's Anima,"
but she is also Portia and must be judged by her own speech and actions
in the play. The problem, simply put, is that her words and deeds seem
to point two ways. The use of the word "complexion" is one small but
important example. Her actions in the casket scene with Bassanio and in
the trial scene with Antonio and Shylock are two more extensive
examples. My point is that critics who see her as full of virtues see
only part of what she says and does. Larry Manley is right on target
when he says, following Engle, that the astute critic needs to "follow
the money." If we do so, then Portia fits into the play's emphasis on
money and self interest-which rules the world of MV.

I might add that my analysis of Henry V does not idealize him, as Brian
implies. I think that Henry is forced into war, but that doesn't mean he
is the ideal Christian king. What it actually means, if I'm right, is
that Henry is caught in a trap that he made for himself in 1H4. The key
question is: was he aware of what would happen once he springs his
miraculous transformation?

Unfortunately, I have no good answer to that question.

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 02 Jun 1999 11:32:03 +0000
Subject: 10.0929 Re: Chooseth
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0929 Re: Chooseth

Larry Manley writes:

>Thank goodness he includes the last, and perhaps that's where the real
>emphasis lies, but certainly in tension with the other principle of
>priority in the list.  I take this to be a comment on Bassanio rather
>than Portia.

Could it also-or even, rather-be a comment on Antonio?  He's the
merchant, after all, and the man to whom Bassanio owes money.  It seems
appropriate in speaking with one's banker to talk of Portia not as a
gorgeous and wonderful woman, but as a debt repayment mechanism on the
hoof.

Cheers,
Se

 

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