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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: May ::
Re: James and Elizabeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1113  Tuesday, 30 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Sunday, 28 May 2000 21:45:01 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1111 James and Elizabeth

[2]     From:   Florence Amit <
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        Date:   Monday, 29 May 2000 19:16:34 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1111 James and Elizabeth

[3]     From:   Robert F. O'Connor <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 May 2000 22:09:59 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1111 James and Elizabeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Sunday, 28 May 2000 21:45:01 +0100
Subject: 11.1111 James and Elizabeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1111 James and Elizabeth

> From:           David Lindley <
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> In reply to Robin Hamilton and Carol Barton on the subject of James's
> reception. Of course they are right that it was no doubt always mixed,
> and that some fell out with him pretty fast.

Ralegh ("Better a republic than James") may amount to special pleading,
but +Eastward Ho!+ was staged in 1605.  James had been on the throne for
less than two years, and already he was being sent-up on the public
stage.

Robin Hamilton

>The chorus of complaint
>and unflattering comparison only seems to me to have got going in about
>1607 - with Robert Niccols's satires, for example, and then grew as time
>passed.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Florence Amit <
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Date:           Monday, 29 May 2000 19:16:34 +0000
Subject: 11.1111 James and Elizabeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1111 James and Elizabeth

I believe that there were important people interested in having Arabella
Stewart follow Elizabeth. The name of the group, something with
"triplixity", included Sir Walter Raleigh. I think that there is
evidence that Shakespeare looked kindly upon them. "Hamlet" at a certain
level reflects the tension of the period. The political influence for
James, a king of "shreds and patches" with "withcraft wits" who later
indulged in extravagant celebrations, was effected by the Cecils and
Polonius is like the elder Lord Burleigh. Surely the "he- bona", he is
good, poured into a dying monarch's ears, was the daily dose that
Elizabeth had to endure during her last days. Arabella was exiled just
like Prospero. But if she had been chosen think how vastly different
English history might have been! (And by the way, does any one know if
the death of John Peter is connected?)
Florence Amit

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert F. O'Connor <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 May 2000 22:09:59 +1000
Subject: 11.1111 James and Elizabeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1111 James and Elizabeth

David Lindley has drawn the debate towards a particular interest of mine
- the transition from Elizabeth's reign to James.  I am off to the
Australia New Zealand Shakespeare Association Conference in Wellington
in a few weeks, offering a paper on this very matter - looking at
*Macbeth* as a representation of this transition.

To add fuel to the fire, I offer the following, from a letter written by
Thomas Howard to Sir John Harrington in 1611:

You have lived to see the trim of old times, and what passed in the
Queen's days; these things are no more the same. Your Queen did talk of
her subjects' love and good affections, and in good truth she aimed
well; our King talketh of his subjects' fear and subjection, and herein
I think he doth well too, as long as it holdeth good.

"Love and affection" versus "fear and subjection" suggests to me that
Elizabeth's era was already being romanticised, although there is a
clear truth in Howard's characterisation of the two monarchs.

I agree wholeheartedly about the relief a male ruler of proven potency
must have inspired, but subsequent realisations about James' favourites
cannot have helped allay the lingering sexual uncertainties which
affected notions of gender roles and identity at the time.  But while
the disillusionment suggested as haunting the last years of Elizabeth's
reign may be a very real factor in some of the wheeling and dealing
which went on, I do not think it was so easily dispelled as David
Lindley seems to suggest - I think he underestimates the deep-seated
English suspicion of the Scots.  Relief there may have been, but if
James was given a chance at all, it would not have been a generous one.

Robert O'Connor
 

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