Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: May ::
Re: Isabella's Chastity
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1077  Tuesday, 23 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 22 May 2000 15:56:34 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

[2]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 22 May 2000 18:55:09 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

[3]     From:   Ian Munro <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 22 May 2000 14:06:24 -0600 (MDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

[4]     From:   Marilyn Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 22 May 2000 20:16:32 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

[5]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 22 May 2000 22:06:49 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 22 May 2000 15:56:34 +0100
Subject: 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

To Carol Barton

I don't know what a "DC comptroller" is, nor how to drive one anywhere.
(In case we're talking model train sets, I've got here a fine thesis on
the racism and sexism in Thomas the Tank Engine which the author has
gracefully agreed to let me send you.) I'm afraid that the conditions
which make for a "clearly fashionable . . . feminism" do not obtain in
the UK, but I'm pleased if they do where you are.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 22 May 2000 18:55:09 +0100
Subject: 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

I entirely agree with Mike Jensen's applauding Graham Bradshaw's attempt
to shift the nature of the debate-well-said.  Though there still seems
to be a focus on the specifically "sexual" crimes, ignoring the context
of the pardoning of Barnardine, and Escalus' behaviour when confronted
by Pompey, Elbow, Froth, etc.-a model of justice in the pursuit of
truth, rather than the cavalier way it's delivered by both Angelo and
the Duke.

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ian Munro <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 22 May 2000 14:06:24 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

Edmund Taft wrote:

>Egan might get off his high horse for a second and do some hard thinking
>about what mature male and female sex and love are all about.  At
>bottom, in the best loving relationships, each partner is most concerned
>about giving pleasure to the OTHER.  And the body is the gift that
>allows the other to experience this pleasure.  Neither partner misses
>out because each knows that pleasing the other is the paramount aim.

I think Blake wrote a poem about this once, but it involved cattle, not
horses.

Ian Munro

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 22 May 2000 20:16:32 -0400
Subject: 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

Mike Jensen writes,

>Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the play also about law and
>grace, forgiveness and redemption, keeping your word and not being
>forsworn, finding a sane balance between extreme tendencies, and flawed
>people making choices?  Or am I an insensitive reader of this text?

I've *never* found Mike to be an insensitive reader of anything :)

And I do think that the themes of the play are much broader than simply
that one critical moment between Isabella and Angelo, though certainly
it's one of the keys to unlock the levels of significance.

What makes Shakespeare indeed a wordmaster for all times is that he is
the ideamaster for all times-every core value of human existance passes
in some form from his brain to the page to the stage.

Chastity, be it literal and physical or spiritual and of the soul os
only one of these core values... and one that echoes through many ages
indeed...  including our own.

Marilyn Bonomi

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 22 May 2000 22:06:49 -0700
Subject: 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1072 Re: Isabella's Chastity

I thought it fortuitous that in the last posting David Bishop's
contribution appeared just before mine, since we seem to agree, at least
on the broad outlines of the play.

> The final "orgy of mercy" seems to me more than mercy. It brings about
> three marriages that have been improperly deferred. The mutually loving
> relation of Claudio and Juliet isn't condemned, is it? It's their
> fornication that's condemned, then set right. Angelo, when he still
> thinks he's guilty of Claudio's death, asks for death out of
> "penitence", not a desire never to have sex again.

I'm wondering whether the vaguery between notions of justice, that it's
difficult to draw lines between them, shows that such notions tend to
pollute one another.  Claudio and Juliet's love isn't condemned, though
the fact that he's waiting for a dowry shows that it gets complicated by
material factors.  Rather than turning this into some sort of ideal, we
might simply see it as an example of the corrupting influence of what
some on this list would doubtless refer to as "commodification" or what
we might otherwise refer to as fallenness.

> The Duke's test seems modeled, as Florence Amit says, on God's
> experiment with Job. The comedic signals, including the Duke's
> omnipresence, let us feel the outcome is preordained.

This seems to conflate things, as well, though not notions of justice,
at least not explicitly.  Isn't there something rather wrong with the
Duke assuming the role of God, shriving his subjects, for instance?  I
would assume that his unwillingness to execute an unprepared Bernadine
shows that he recognizes limits on his power.  But by the end, these
limits seem to have been finessed, if not transgressed.

I'm not sure whether the conflation of ideas of justice, like the
conflation of spiritual guidance and secular rule, should be entirely
viewed as a good thing.  This is, after all, a problem comedy.

Cheers,
Se

 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.