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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: Isabella's Chastity
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1195  Friday, 9 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Pat Dolan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 08 Jun 2000 08:44:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1191 Re: Isabella's Chastity

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 08 Jun 2000 08:44:24 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1191 Re: Isabella's Chastity

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 08 Jun 2000 15:12:32 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Isabella's Chastity


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <
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Date:           Thursday, 08 Jun 2000 08:44:49 -0500
Subject: 11.1191 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1191 Re: Isabella's Chastity

> As to rape in MM, compare what the Lord High Steward says with what
> Isabella says at the end of the play:
>
> "For Angelo,
> His act did not o'ertake his bad intent,
> And must be buried but as an intent
> That perish'd by the way.  Thoughts are no subjects,
> Intents but merely thoughts" (5.1.450-454).
>
> legally, Isabella is right, but she is a novice!  Morally, she is dead
> wrong. The intent to commit a crime is all it takes to make us guilty of
> that crime in the eyes of God. Hence, if I decide to rob a bank but
> cannot find the right time to do so, in God's eyes I am still a robber,
> etc., etc.

I think she's "morally right" in that she's urging mercy here, not
arguing for acquittal. That the argument she makes is specious with
respect to law or (strict) morality doesn't mean that it can't be
deployed (wink, wink) to forgive. After all, as St. Paul and Hamlet
point out, judged by the law we all deserving whipping and then Hell.

Whatever Isabella may be, I don't think she's a novice by Act V.

Cheers,
Pat

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 08 Jun 2000 08:44:24 -0700
Subject: 11.1191 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1191 Re: Isabella's Chastity

Ed Taft writes:

>The intent to commit a crime is all it takes to make us guilty of
>that crime in the eyes of God. Hence, if I decide to rob a bank but
>cannot find the right time to do so, in God's eyes I am still a robber,
>etc., etc.

I find myself uncertain of the moral or theological or scriptural basis
of this assertion. The source of my doubt can be seen if we change the
case to one that clearly cannot be undone, such as murder. (That is, you
can give back the money you stole, but you cannot restore a life.)
Surely, you cannot equate an intention to commit such a crime with the
completion of it. To me, rape is similar, though not quite so serious as
homicide. The act, the violation and trauma, cannot be undone. And if
the act results in pregnancy, the situation is that much worse.

Of course, this may have to do with our differing perceptions of the
nature of God and sin-in which case, he can go to his church, as I will
go to mine, and there's an end to it.

don bloom

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 08 Jun 2000 15:12:32 -0400
Subject:        Re: Isabella's Chastity

Ed Taft writes, "The intent to commit a crime is all it takes to make us
guilty of that crime in the eyes of God."

I'll leave it to Ed to justify the ways of God.  Fortunately, the law is
more sensible than God, and a mere intent to commit a crime is not
criminal.  Of course, Angelo's offense may have gone beyond mere intent
and amounted to an attempt or at least a solicitation, which presents
another issue.
 

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