The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0025 Wednesday, 5 January 2000.
Date: Tuesday, 4 Jan 2000 15:27:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Henry V (and Branagh)
Clifford Stetner writes:
>It may be that money was not so ignoble a motive in the age of incipient
>social mobility. It was, after all, the only alternative to birth as a
>measure of social status, and as such could be taken as a God given sign
>of true noblesse, one of the overriding principles of secular humanism
>to be opposed to the principle of primogeniture, increasingly seen
>throughout the Renaissance as a source of decay.
Perhaps I'm entering this discussion on too elementary a level. However,
the term "primogeniture" refers to the system of inheritance which
allowed only the eldest son to inherit, and as such, what it is "to be
opposed to" is the other system, which involves dividing up the land
between various sons-isn't it?
I am surprised by the suggestion that money could be seen as a sign of
"true noblesse". I don't think I've come across that before. The example
from Fulgens and Lucrece seems to miss the point: Gaius Flaminius may
possess true nobility, but he is represented as poor as well as
low-born. I don't find it hard to accept that in the climate of this era
characters would be depicted as noble in spite of being poor, or even
noble in spite of being rich (Radix malorum est Cupiditas, after all)
but noble on account of being rich? I'm not convinced.