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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: September ::
Re: Use of Dialect
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1831  Thursday, 28 September 2000.

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Sep 2000 12:54:17 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 11.1810 Re: Use of Dialect

[2]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Sep 2000 13:40:50 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1827 Re: Use of Dialect


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Sep 2000 12:54:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Use of Dialect
Comment:        SHK 11.1810 Re: Use of Dialect

'Glendower shows great restraint in not pointing out that, as a
Welshman, he has a more standard English accent than his young
antagonist.'

Apparently Ed Taft's concern with the inner life of Shakespeare's
characters now extends to areas where they don't say anything at all.
Where will it end? I've always thought that Desdemona shows great
restraint in not telling Othello that she really fancies Iago.
Incidentally, only a complete reversal of 'as a Welshman' to 'in spite
of being a Welshman' can give his observation the slightest purchase on
sense.

T. Hawkes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Sep 2000 13:40:50 -0400
Subject: 11.1827 Re: Use of Dialect
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.1827 Re: Use of Dialect

Re: Hotspur and Essex

Funny you should mention this--I've been writing about it. I suspect the
whole second historical trilogy has meanings relevant to Essex but that
they can't be reduced to the old idea that certain characters (Hotspur,
Hamlet, etc.) are "modeled" on Essex.  For one thing the two Henry IV
plays are so dialogic and multi-perspected that no single "attitude"
toward any of the characters emerge; instead, we get contrasting
evaluations from royal, aristocratic, male and female plebeian points of
view and so forth.  I think the "transmission" from Essex to the
Chamberlain's Men is discursive or intellectual, and that it has to do
with a philosophical Machiavellianism--a quasi-modern, relatively
value-free view of political power, its sources and uses, the realities
of deception, the usefulness of belief to rulers--that is one implied
horizon of interpretation for the political events in the plays.

Essex himself clearly identified with the Bolingbroke of the narrative
of the overthrow of Richard II--this was one of the main interpretive
pieces of evidence "pinned" on him at the trial, but it is not at all
certain that Shakespeare's play of Richard II was the main vehicle for
his identification.  Elizabeth was clearly much more upset with the
luckless lawyer and humanist (of Tacitean/Machiavellian inclinations),
John Hayward, who spent time in the Tower between the time of Essex's
disobedient return from Ireland and his botched coup attempt for having
published an account of the overthrow of Richard and dedicating it to
the Earl of Essex, but I believe he was mainly guilty of bad timing. In
fact, Essex's return from Ireland was likely an attempt to match
Bolingbroke's return from exile and the uprising an attempt to match
Bolingbroke's arrest and execution of Bushy, Begot and Bushy. Second
time as farce, of course.

But the best case for a parallel between Essex and a Shakespeare
character I think can be made for Harry V, who is the most overtly
Machiavellian of all positive or nearly positive Shakespeare
characters.  The play may be a kind of cultural fantasy of a King Robert
destined never to be. But the complex evaluations implied about King
Harry in the numerous subtexts of the play--the comparison with
Alexander the Pig, most especially--show that the Chamberlain's Men and
Shakespeare had more than one thought about this complex historical
figure.

Cheers,
Hugh Grady
 

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