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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: February ::
Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0232  Wednesday, 2 February 2000.

[1]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Monday, 31 Jan 2000 09:41:50 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0194 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[2]     From:   Marilyn Bonomi <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Feb 2000 14:59:33 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[3]     From:   David Knauer <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 01 Feb 2000 11:24:21 CST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[4]     From:   Patrick Dolan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 01 Feb 2000 11:28:40 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[5]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 01 Feb 2000 12:06:03 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <
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Date:           Monday, 31 Jan 2000 09:41:50 -0600
Subject: 11.0194 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0194 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

Sean Lawrence writes:

<Desdemona cannot be
<known or assimilated to Othello's knowing self until he <declares her
to
<be an adulteress.  "Whore" is a label which exhaustively <describes;
<"wife" is not.  So long as she isn't exhaustively known, <she's a
<challenge to his way of seeing the world, not by virtue of <anything
she
<does, but simply by virtue of being free.

This is the most incredible statement I have ever read about the
relationship of man and wife.  A "wife" is as "challenge" because she
isn't "exhaustively known" and is therefore implicitly "free" to hurt
and maim her husband.  Excuse me!!  In the first place, you are
ascribing foul motives to Othello's love-i.e. previous experience with
whores that make them somehow better "known" to a young man than a
wife.  I assume, from your low-life view of the world, that you think
Othello married to ingratiate himself into upper-class Venetian
(Christian) society.  This is the foulest reading of their relationship
that I have ever come across-worthy of Iago or Emilia.  I think the play
only makes sense if they purely loved each other as first-time lovers
with real passion and trust that they "knew" each other in the Biblical
sense.  Othello was decimated that his pure wife whom he loved before
everything in the world was unfaithful; he lacked the experience in the
manipulative world of duplicitous white men to see how her trust was
manipulated and fell victim to the plots of lesser men.  Hence his
suicide.

To say that Othello cannot "know" his wife until she becomes an
adulteress in his eyes is to invalidate any great marriage relationship
between passionate, first-time lovers.  You seem to subscribe to Lear's
vision of man as a poor three-legged animal (standing on his penis, I
guess) who just keeps looking for the next whore to exhaustively "know."

Judy Craig

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn Bonomi <
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Date:           Tuesday, 1 Feb 2000 14:59:33 -0000
Subject: 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

I for one am getting heartily sick of having to read vituperative and
personal attacks on scholars because they do not buy the narrow lens of
fundamentalist Christianity as the only way to view Shakespeare or,
indeed, the world.  I further am dismayed by the twisting of words and
positions taken by these scholars in the effort to discredit their
thought because it does not conform to a right-leaning (if not truly
"right wing") perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Finally, I am personally offended by the implication that those of us
who are not traditionally (or even in any way) Christian cannot possibly
have the highest and most moral and ethical standards by which we live.

These repeated perspectives have spread across a number of threads on
this list; while I have not been personally the focus of any of them, I
am growing increasingly uncomfortable reading them.  I need not agree
with someone's socialist slant to read a posting offering it as a way of
reading Shakespeare; I do not have the right, however, to attack ad
hominem nor to attack the interpretation simply because the person
offering it is socialist... or right-leaning... or formally Christian...
or an avowed atheist... or anything else.  Too much of such attacking is
happening right now.

I ask those who are attacking rather than pondering "aloud" and
responding to the thoughts of others to fold their proselytizing tents
and steal away, leaving intellectual discourse to those who can keep
their passions in check long enough to treat others with respect.

Marilyn Bonomi

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Knauer <
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Date:           Tuesday, 01 Feb 2000 11:24:21 CST
Subject: 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

Judith Matthews Craig uses as evidence that Shakespeare was not "greedy
for power or money. . .his lack of interest in publishing
authorial-certified editions of his plays which certainly were popular
and therefore pirated. . ."

You'll have to do better than this.  The relative unpopularity of
contemporarily printed plays (see Peter Blayney), the paucity if not
total lack of evidence for piracy of the plays (see Evelyn May Albright,
Steve Urkowitz, and many others), and the lack of economic incentive for
any playwright to participate in the printing of his plays (see
virtually any historical account of playhouse economics) all would
disqualify Shakespeare's apathy toward his printed plays as evidence of
his good character.

Dave Knauer

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patrick Dolan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 01 Feb 2000 11:28:40 -0600
Subject: 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0218 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

Judith Craig says:

> Really.  There are no "relative values" in martyrdom:  a person who is
> willing to die for his beliefs is certainly not getting "emotional
> value" out religious integrity.  He has adopted an absolutist system
> which claims that there is a higher truth or value than materialism, the
> cheesy, shifting, uncertain world of the flesh and man's slimy,
> cowardly, participation in it.  Most religious people look unworldly
> because they are betting on a higher power than any scheme concocted by
> the mind of man-always found to be lacking, duplicitous, and ultimately
> unsatisfactory, no matter what the originator of the scheme does or
> thinks.

In the first place, I'd substitute "totalizing" for "absolutist."

In the second, I tend to count a good number of Marxists among the
martyrs of this world (sincere Viet Cong, communists in 1938 Berlin,
Yugoslav partisans). A great many soldiers died for their countries and,
yes, ideological ideals rather than their religions. (Imagine a U.S.
soldier in Viet Nam who fought because he believed that capitalism and
free enterprise were best for people, but believed that "it's elephants
all the way down." Imagine him killed by a young, idealistic suicide
sapper. I'd call them both martyrs. I'd honor both and be angry at the
men (mostly) who sent them into battle.)

I'm inclined to believe that my sense is closer to the ordinary language
meaning of the word. Maybe not.

You don't have to be right to be a martyr. And you don't have to be
religious. And you can subscribe to an ideology and be innocent at the
same time.

Sean Lawrence says:

Of course Christianity might have been abused by the American
establishment during the period of the Vietnam War, just as it was
abused by the German Church under the Nazis.  But in both cases, it was
also deployed (I would even say, recalled to its truer self) by the
followers of Martin Luther King, Junior or Karl Barth.  Would you also
reduce the enfranchisement of African-Americans or the resistance
against Hitler to the functioning of ideology, since these movements
also relied upon deployments of Christianity within a political
context?  Surely these movements have a deeper, a purer, motivation, a
care for one's fellow beings, not only a material assessment of the
situation, but an ethical, ultimately religious, knowledge that this
situation is not everything, that there is a ground on which to declare
that the material situation is wrong.

Again, in the first place, "might have been"?!

The argument takes Martin Luther King Jr.'s resistance to racial
oppression as resistance to an "American establishment" rather than
Christianity in the sixties or the churches themselves

 

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