Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: November ::
Re: Shakespeare's Characters (Was Fops)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2170  Tuesday, 28 November 2000

[1]     From:   Lucia A. Setari <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 26 Nov 2000 03:03:24 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2146 Re: Fops

[2]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 27 Nov 2000 13:23:50 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2155 Re: Fops

[3]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 27 Nov 2000 13:49:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2155 Re: Fops

[4]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 26 Nov 2000 11:53:06 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2121 Re: Fops

[5]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 27 Nov 2000 15:37:51 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2155 Re: Fops


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lucia A. Setari <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 26 Nov 2000 03:03:24 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 11.2146 Re: Fops
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2146 Re: Fops

Last week Larry Weiss wrote:

> > Fictive characters have no
> > agency.  Hamlet, for example, cannot decide to do
> > > anything.

> True; but then what is the difference between a
> fictional character and a dead person?

I would like to put it in the following way: A dead person becomes like
a fictional character, because he becomes part of a story which takes
place in the survivors' minds and to some (sometimes large) extent is
shaped by them. What a dead person did in his life not only is no longer
changeable (nor explainable) by him, but also undergoes a sort of
cutting in the survivors' memory, which is very like a film-cutting and
a re-construction of a story (very like, for instance, the
reconstruction of Hamlet's story by Shakespeare).  The dead become
fictional characters themselves, in a way.

I think that the only evidence of the dead's past existence is our own
existence (because of genetic traces). But the existence of Hamlet, too,
is proved by our own, in a sense - if we think that we do not live by
bread alone.

Lucia A. Setari

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 27 Nov 2000 13:23:50 -0500
Subject: 11.2155 Re: Fops
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2155 Re: Fops

>[Editor's Note: I have been thinking the same thing and welcome any
>suggestions.]

Hardy,

How about Shakespeare's Characters?

Bill

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 27 Nov 2000 13:49:35 -0500
Subject: 11.2155 Re: Fops
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2155 Re: Fops

Sean Lawrence writes:

>It strikes me as far more infantile, because deeply narcissistic, to
>argue that we can choose what will enter our world than to argue that we
>are placed under obligations before we choose, obligations that we
>cannot simply create.

Cognitive research suggests that persons do choose what will enter their
conscious worlds.  The choice itself may not be conscious, but our
brains do not give all sensory data the same status.  The world we
perceive is a world that is selected by the brain and limited by our
capacity to perceive.

If we humans do not create "obligations," where do they come from?

Yours, infantile Bill Godshalk

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 26 Nov 2000 11:53:06 -0500
Subject: 11.2121 Re: Fops
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2121 Re: Fops

W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

>If we can only know the world (which
> of course does not really exist) using a "set of roles and statuses,
> constructed and defined by my [our?] cultural environment," how does the
> first encounter with the Other take place?

The first encounter takes place in the womb, when we come to perceive
that the cosmos that contains us acts without our volition.  At birth we
emerge into a new dualistic cosmos in which the Other has become an
unbroken field of sensory stimuli that gratifies and punishes us at
intervals.  Gradually, we come to 'understand' that the repeating
sensory image that accompanies the great breast is a being separate from
the whole, and we begin our dramatic construction of characters with
'm/other' with whom the monadic cosmos begins to resolve into a pantheon
of Others arranged in a hierarchy of relative value.

None of the gods that populate this cosmos has any mind beyond its
specific interest in us and we struggle to interpret their behavior
according to a cosmos of which we and our desires are at the center, not
according to a perception of them as individual, self interested beings
of our own species.

>  How can I begin to learn
> about the Other if I have already to know about the Other before I learn
> about the Other?

Somewhere around what Lacan identifies as the mirror stage of
development c.  two to three years, we write a part for our 'I' in the
play we have been constructing from the behavior of the characters
around us and remove ourselves from our Lord Christopher Sly position to
take a place on the stage.  During the terrible twos we begin to figure
out that much of the behavior around us seems to have nothing to do with
us or our desires, and we begin to project characters as other minds
(forgive my philosophy 101 terms) that have other contents than a
concern with our condition.  These early characterizations are not yet
dependent on culturally constructed roles, but involve the archetypes of
the Oedipal drama and sibling rivalry that make up the tragicomedy of
'Family.'  We learn that we are one of these and assume therefore that
they are like us and that their body images contain minds like ours.
About this time, we discover the Barney family and our indoctrination
into the cultural environment begins in earnest.  We need no prior
knowledge to assimilate the large terms of this larger drama in which we
find ourselves players beyond the a priori assumption we have achieved
through the mirror stage that the children dancing around the purple
dinosaur have minds like ours and that the rules that dictate their
behavior are the rules we must learn in order to make our local gods
more cooperative.

And so we learn by recognizing the repetition of forms between the local
family drama and the global cultural drama, purely on the basis of
inferences based on external phenomenal perception of behavior.  This is
a process we are programmed to engage in through genetically determined
brain physiology.  Human intelligent consciousness is too complex to
attain full development in gestation, as with other species, so we must
learn our social 'instincts' in the years after birth by distinguishing
the iteration of culturally determined behaviors around us.  Universal
compulsory childhood education provides the other major environment for
this process, so that, by the third grade, we have constructed a mix and
match dramatis personae in our heads which we project onto each new
character that enters our stage.

>If I have to know the cultural environment before I
> can learn about the cultural environment, how do I account for the fact
> that I can learn?

I can learn because my brain has been designed to engage in inductive
reasoning before I have been taught the rules of exact science.
Whatever I experience, my brain engages automatically in a process of
categorization, and external cultural normalization mechanisms ensure
that there is a large structure of iterated forms to guide my inductive
processes.

Learning to distinguish dramatic from real characters is a late process
which involves an intellectual act of suppression.  While I don't walk
down the street with Hamlet as I would with a friend, at two years old,
I would do so with Barney.

Clifford

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 27 Nov 2000 15:37:51 -0500
Subject: 11.2155 Re: Fops
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2155 Re: Fops

>. . . I am not sure how far the tests of extra-metricality can be
>taken as a test of authorial intent/ dramatic intent given the
>mis-lineation and editorial intervention of (particularly later)
>Shakespeare texts -e.g. the possible Second Folio (and first?) silent
>editorial changes of  'eth' / 'em' /'doth' etc on grounds of
>'modernisation' all of which would presumably affect metre.

Marcus Dahl writes.

And Marcus could have gone further.  Shakespeare's foul papers may have
been copied by a scribe, and the scribal copy may not have been
proofread by anyone.  Scribes do make mistakes and sometimes
"corrections." A corrector of the press may have edited the MS for
printing. The compositor(s) may have made changes/corrections while
setting type. And then, as Marcus notes, later editors have had their
shots at the scripts.  Shakespeare's "undoubted" words, spellings, and
lineations?  Fui.

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.