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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: March ::
Re: ADO Query
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0580  Monday, 27 March 2000.

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 2000 16:45:01 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0555 Re: ADO Query

[2]     From:   John Jowett <
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        Date:   Monday, 27 Mar 2000 11:32:38 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0555 Re: ADO Query


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 2000 16:45:01 -0500
Subject: 11.0555 Re: ADO Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0555 Re: ADO Query

This raises the question as to why so many references to pictures in the
plays give directors so much trouble.  Either the nature of the props
involved would inevitably demand some directorial intervention, or there
is an ambiguity in Shakespeare's attitudes toward the visual arts
expressed here.  If not clarified with props, the line "I'll go get her
picture" might mean:

a) I have a miniature of her somewhere
b) I'll procure a miniature of her somewhere
c) I'll beget a child that is the image of her as I read in a sonnet
somewhere

or my favorite:

d) I'll go write (or procure) a play that depicts her truly

Whether or not Shakespeare left this ambiguity of textual meaning
hanging on purpose, it points nicely to the superiority of the poet's
art over the painter's, as there is little room in a miniature for more
than one meaning at a time.

Clifford

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Jowett <
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Date:           Monday, 27 Mar 2000 11:32:38 GMT
Subject: 11.0555 Re: ADO Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0555 Re: ADO Query

Responses to Allan Blackman's query about Benedick's 'I will go get her
picture' have mostly confirmed Sheldon P. Zitner's explanation, that
Benedick proposes to commission Beatrice's portrait.  However, Michael
Friedman's interpretation, that he proposes to beget her child, is
attractive.  I'd see it not as an alterative but as a supplement,
perhaps an accidental slippage from one idea to another that lies
further down the line at several removes.  After all, Benedick says a
few lines earlier, 'There's a double meaning in that'.

I don't think that interpretation of the passage depends on this, as
unusual things can happen in puns, but I would be interested to know
whether there are other examples in the period of it being the woman's
image rather than the man's that is said to be painted or printed when a
child is 'got'.

John Jowett
 

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