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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: January ::
Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0194  Monday, 31 January 2000.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2000 09:22:31 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0184 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2000 19:00:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0164 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[3]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2000 19:00:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0164 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[4]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2000 19:00:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0164 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[5]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2000 19:00:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0164 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

[6]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Saturday, 29 Jan 2000 14:20:27 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0184 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2000 09:22:31 -0800
Subject: 11.0184 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0184 Re: Marx, Religion, and Nobility

Judith Matthews Craig writes:

> I am having a hard time understanding the intricacies of love and
> pornography as reflected in recent discussions, but I REALLY have hard
> time here-does love make the woman "transcendent" to him?  Is she some
> kind of Petrarchan unattainable goddess?  It seems to me that the whole
> drift of Shakespeare's characterization of women is anti-Petrarchan and
> if they err, it is on the side of grim reality rather than as
> goddesses.  Desdemona strikes me as a very fine woman who goes through
> hell to marry a man that she perceives as equally fine and "worth it."

I don't mean transcendent in the Petrarchan sense, which could just
collapse into idolatry, which is a form of self-worship.  I mean
transcendent in the sense of outside the self.  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.

> I always thought Othello's problems were not due to Desdemona's
> "alterity" but to his insecurity as a black man in white society.

Well yes, that's another possibility that I floated.  Still, if Othello
could treat Desdemona exhaustively as a trophy then they'd be no need to
worry about her infidelity.  As a trophy, she'd be "his" (like a
possession) not "hers", and therefore unable to pose a challenge to his
world.  One might look at the discussion between Iago and Othello about
the handkerchief, and whether it's Desdemona's to give away.

Cheers,
Se

 

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