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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: August ::
Re: Cymbeline
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1532  Friday, 18 August 2000.

[1]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Aug 2000 08:01:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1507 Re: Cymbeline at Shakespeare Santa Cruz

[2]     From:   Milla Riggio <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Aug 2000 10:14:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1527 Re: Cymbeline


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Aug 2000 08:01:09 -0500
Subject: 11.1507 Re: Cymbeline at Shakespeare Santa Cruz
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1507 Re: Cymbeline at Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Terence Hawkes wonders why this dense passage is so impenetrable:

                forthwith they fly
Chickens the way which they stooped eagles: slaves,
The strides they victors made; and now our cowards,
Like fragments in hard voyages, became
The life o' the' need.
(5. 3. 39-45)

Geralyn Horton and others, however, find that the passages are not so
impenetrable.  I agree; I will let the others speak for themselves about
the description of Imogen, but the latter passage is a really
interesting description of the opposition of cowardice and heroism: in
the rout of battle in the "strait lane." Eagles who had once swooped as
conquerors return as chickens; victors who strode as conquerors now
stride as slaves; and our "cowards" (is this a reference to the unknown
and belittled Belarius and Posthumus--"cowards" who had been banished
from "life" at court and favor in the public eye?), "fragments in a hard
voyage" are now the "life of the need," or the fragments of a wreckage
left which sustain the survivors of a wreck after the storm has
demolished the ship.  I may be off on the last comparison--it is dense
and hard to pinpoint exactly--but it is an interesting reversal of how
"the tide in the affairs of men" can be reversed.

Judy Craig

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Aug 2000 10:14:30 -0400
Subject: 11.1527 Re: Cymbeline
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1527 Re: Cymbeline

I have not followed the Cymbeline issue very closely in this
discussion.  But having done the dramaturgy on this play for Mark
Lamos's Hartford Stage production a couple of years ago, I did deal with
that language for many long, long hours.  It has its own character and
can be played very fluidly on stage, surprisingly lucid in delivery.  As
to Tennyson, isn't he said to have carried a volume into his casket with
him or asked for it to be placed there?  But I think this was because
for the 19th century Imogen, as Susanne Collier noted, was represented
throughout the century as the perfect wife, the IDEAL woman -- let your
husband try to kill you and offer him in return pure forgiveness; this
outdid even Cordelia.  But as Felicity Jones discovered and Harriet
Walters attested, Imogen is appealing more for the variability of the
role than the moral perfection of the heroine:  "in one evening an
actress can play a bit of Desdemona, Juliet, Cordelia, Lady Anne,
Rosalind, and Cleopatra," said Ms.  Walters.

Right now, G.B. Shaw's Cymbeline revisited, with the new Shaw ending in
which she does NOT forgive her husband is playing in NY.  Has anyone
seen it? Shaw wasn't so keen on the forgiveness trope at the end!!!

Milla Riggio
 

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