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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: January ::
Re: Despair and Pride
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0122  Thursday, 20 January 2000.

[1]     From:   Ronald Macdonald <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Jan 2000 10:02:26 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride

[2]     From:   Mary Ann Bushman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Jan 2000 11:15:56 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0102 Despair and Pride

[3]     From:   Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Jan 2000 13:01:47 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride

[4]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Jan 2000 16:24:40 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Macdonald <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jan 2000 10:02:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride

L. Swilley cites the theological locus classicus about despair in
Aquinas's Summa.  The literary treatment best known in the Elizabethan
period may have been Spenser's in Faerie Queene I.ix, where Red Cross,
freshly delivered from his humiliating defeat and incarceration at the
hands of Orgoglio, and clearly eager to repair his reputation in the
eyes of Una and Arthur, confronts the unsightly and most unheroic little
man who "cals himselfe Despaire," and is very nearly persuaded by him to
commit suicide, suicide, of course, being the ultimate instance of
substituting one's own will for God's. Spenser's psychology is acute:
the episode is in one sense a continuation of what a student of mine
called the "Orgoglio imbroglio," and, prior to that, of Red Cross's
sojourn with Lucifera in the House of Pride.  Despair is Pride without
the glitter.

--Ron Macdonald

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Ann Bushman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jan 2000 11:15:56 -0600
Subject: 11.0102 Despair and Pride
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0102 Despair and Pride

My favorite episode of Spenser's The Faerie Queene, the "Despair" canto
of Book I, seems to link pride with despair (I.ix). RC begins this
adventure with a sarcastic question of Despayre's victim, Sir Trevisan,
"How may a man . . . with idle speach / Be wonne, to spoyle the Castle
of his health?" And at the beginning of Canto X, the narrator reminds us
that RC has just provided an example of a man who "boasts of fleshly
might," only to succumb quickly to "spirituall foes."  A veritable
potpourri of images of intellectual as well as physical pride here.

Mary Ann Bushman
English Dept.
Illinois Wesleyan Univ.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jan 2000 13:01:47 -0000
Subject: 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride

As I think of Faustus himself, I would argue that his despair stems NOT
from a belief that his sins are too great to be forgiven (certainly a
kind of pride in one's sinfulness) but rather from his certainty that
there IS no god/God to provide that forgiveness... that no consciousness
greater than his own exists.  He despairs, it seems to me, because he
WANTS there to be something more, but can find w/in himself NO ability
to believe there is something more.

Marilyn A. Bonomi

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jan 2000 16:24:40 -0600
Subject: 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0111 Re: Despair and Pride

I believe Ms. Peterson-Kranz is incorrect here.  The only unforgivable
sin is formal blasphemy, the attribution of evil to God.

            L. Swilley

>Well, I find myself thinking of something that is probably way too
>obvious, but, here goes...you might want to check the Catholic
>Catechism.  I don't have a copy at hand (shame on me!) but if I recall
>correctly, the two "sins against the Holy Spirit," the only sins for
>which forgiveness may not be readily forthcoming are...you guessed it,
>pride and despair.  In this context, pride would be either feeling so
>pleased with one's own righteousness that one assumes that it is not
>necessary to ask for forgiveness; despair is believing that one's sins
>are so great that they are beyond the ability of God to forgive.  The
>latter is a kind of grandiosity, making it the flip side of more
>conventional pride.

>This is probably not at all the kind of reference you're looking for,
>but for what it's worth...
 

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