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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Cressida
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0289  Wednesday, 7 February 2001

[1]     From:   Carol Barton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 13:20:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

[2]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 18:40:55 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

[3]     From:   Kit Gordon <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 13:55:11 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

[4]     From:   Mary Jane Miller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 15:02:56 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

[5]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 06 Feb 2001 17:15:35 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

[6]     From:   Robert Shaughnessy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 21:58:32 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

[7]     From:   K. Hilberdink-Sakamoto <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 11:26:52 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

[8]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 19:52:47 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 13:20:35 -0500
Subject: 12.0282 Q: Cressida
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

That sounds very much like the sort of question I might ask my
undergrads on an essay test, Robert. What do you think? Is she?

Carol Barton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 18:40:55 -0000
Subject: 12.0282 Q: Cressida
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

Coppelia Kahn, in an essay 'Whores and Wives in Jacobean Drama', in
Dorothea Kehler and Susan Bakers, eds, In Another Country) pp. 246-260
points out that 'the term "whore" is most often applied not to women who
sleep with many men, but to women who don't - to wives, for the most
part, who sleep or are thought to sleep with one other man.  If a woman
does not belong exclusively to one man, like a whore she is thought
common to many' (p. 252)  (She cites De Flores, in Changeling, 2.2.60-4
as epitomizing this position.)

On this definition, Cressida is a 'whore' - but of course, the
interesting questions concern the ways in which that categorisation was
constructed, and the reasons for which it was deployed.

David Lindley
Professor of Renaissance Literature
University of Leeds

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kit Gordon <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 13:55:11 -0500
Subject: 12.0282 Q: Cressida
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

Robert Peters queried:

> Are Ulysses and Thersites right: Is Cressida a whore?

Troilus thinks so too. I think she's a woman in an impossible situation
who does what she must to survive.

Chris Gordon

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Jane Miller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 15:02:56 -0500
Subject: 12.0282 Q: Cressida
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

I always teach T and C, finding that it breaks down many student
preconceptions about Shakespeare, genre and the canon. In the course,
pairs of students make presentations on one of the following:

"Cresssida is a victim "
"Cressida is a whore"
"Cressida  is a survivor"

as well as

"This is a play primarily about Love."
"This is a play focussed on politics and War."
"This is a satire."
"This is a tragedy."
"the genre depends on the section or scene"
  and to wrap up
"Thersites is right about Troilus, about Cressida, about all of the
other characters - and the war."

It makes for lively and usually useful debates.

Mary Jane

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Tuesday, 06 Feb 2001 17:15:35 -0400
Subject: 12.0282 Q: Cressida
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

Robert--

I think Shakespeare leaves it ambiguous enough, whether Cressida is even
unfaithful with Troilus----Thersities doesn't actually call her a whore,
but says her "mind" is turned whore-- which can pretty much be true of
most of the main characters in the play--

One reading, that I think counters some of the "Cressida=whore" stuff
and argues fairly persuasively for Troilus's hypocrisy viz-a-viz
Cressida is Rene Girard's in "A Theatre of Envy"---

chris

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Shaughnessy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 21:58:32 -0000
Subject: 12.0282 Q: Cressida
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

Why ask?  Is this a trick question?

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           K. Hilberdink-Sakamoto <
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Date:           Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 11:26:52 +0900
Subject: 12.0282 Q: Cressida
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

It depends on what you mean by the word 'whore'.

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001 19:52:47 -0800
Subject: Q: Cressida
Comment:        SHK 12.0282 Q: Cressida

No! I think Ulysses is dead wrong, and Thersites is being hyperbolic.
Cressida is caught between a rock and a hard place, so she tries to save
herself by submitting to what is very nearly a rape. That she fails does
not mean she is a whore. She gets a pretty bum rap.

Paul E. Doniger
 

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