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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: June ::
Re: Henry VI, pt 1
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0965  Wednesday, 9 June 1999.

[1]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Jun 1999 14:52:07 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0955 Re: Henry VI, pt 1

[2]     From:   Dana Wilson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Jun 1999 14:40:47 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: Henry VI, pt 1

[3]     From:   Dana Wilson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Jun 1999 15:52:43 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Henry6 pt1


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jun 1999 14:52:07 -0400
Subject: 10.0955 Re: Henry VI, pt 1
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0955 Re: Henry VI, pt 1

I love the temple garden scene. Near as I can tell, its only point is to
say "a plague on both your houses." And I have no problem believing
there were a lot of "dumb" signs.

It's a delightfully filthy scene. But it's underlying force is an
indictment of civil war.  My copy of the scene has so many notes marking
the Elizabethan euphemisms for body parts like vulva, penis, anus, and
buttocks there's almost more ink than print. Especially important is
that "to pluck a rose" meant "deflower a virgin." (Later it also meant
"to use the outhouse.") Also, "eye" and "blind eye" are euphemisms for
anus. He was calling them assholes in the politest possible way. Beneath
that jocularity, is it a stretch to remember that Elizabeth was
"England's rose" before Diana? Elizabeth was a rose, and a virgin, and
England. The bleeding rose in the hands of York and Lancaster was, by
poetic logic, a raped England.

Shakespeare was a Warwickshire boy and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick,
had been neck-deep in the Wars of the Roses. I expect there were both
proud and bitter stories for old soldiers to tell the young Shakespeare
brothers on winter nights.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Wilson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jun 1999 14:40:47 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Re: Henry VI, pt 1

Sean wrote:
>Counter-sieges were quite common in the
>early modern
>period. ... the
>besiegers defend themselves, sometimes even with
>fortifications,

Are these 'fortifications' the 'pales' or 'pallisades' within which
Talbot found himself trapped like a deer in IV, iii?

Yours in the work,
Dana

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Wilson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jun 1999 15:52:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Henry6 pt1

I noted previously the heavy rhyme in R2,II,i&iii.  I have now noted a
similarly heavy use of rhyme in H6.1,IV,v&vi,vii.  On the one hand, I
agree with forum members that the rhyme is meant to show an antique
chivalry in the speakers; and this theme could also be applied to the
exchanges between Talbot and his son.  However, I want to point out
IV,vii,20 where it is said Talbot and his son were to Talbot's coupled
in bonds of perpetuity.  The use of the term, coupled, seems to me
self-conscious of the rhyme itself, and that Talbot and his son form a
couplet.  This seems reinforced to me by the dialogue in which they
complete each other's rhymes.

In IV, vii, 1, Talbot refers to his son as his other life.  In my
opinion this reinforces the idea of the father and son as a complement.
I have noted that these passages contain numerous references to the
dichotomy of age and youth(ie. IV,v,46-7).  In this sense, father and
son, age and youth are complements not opposites.  In passages IV, vii,
25-8,the father-son complement is turned into a dichotomy of opposites.
Talbot, remarking that his stricken son is too weak to speak, says
"Brave death by speaking whether he will or no: imagine him frenchman
and thy foe".  Next Talbot says "had death been French than death had
died that day." In my opinion, this refers to the patricide of death by
his son Zeus in the pagan myth.

The ancient alchemists attributed lead to Chronos-Saturn.  The
identification of lead to age and time occurs several times in these
scenes(ie IV,vi,12 [there is an especially esoteric reference to the
lead of father Chronos in IV,vii,32 where Talbot(Chronos) says that his
arms will be young Talbot's grave.  This may relate to the mention of
lead coffin linings in I,i,64]).  Conversely, youth is identified with
gall or spleen.  Gall or spleen was idenitified by the ancient
alchemists to choler.  Melan-choler, the black humor, was identified to
Saturn-Chronos from his attribution to somber black death.  Therefore,
in addition to the father-son and age-youth dichotomies there is
reference to an additional dichotomy choler-melancholer.

Yours in the work,
Dana
 

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