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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Welsh etc.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0380  Thursday, 15 February 2001

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Feb 2001 16:45:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0355 Re: Welsh etc

[2]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Feb 2001 13:58:33 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0355 Re: Welsh etc.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Feb 2001 16:45:33 -0500
Subject: 12.0355 Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0355 Re: Welsh etc.

Apparently I did not understand Don Bloom's comments regarding the
brutality of Early Modern English culture.  I assumed that he was
suggesting that such a brutal culture would contains no members who
would object to a bar tender being yanked around by a person of the
upperclass.

I responded by pointing out that we Americans have a very brutal culture
-- both sanctioned and unsanctioned by local legislators.  And yet our
brutal culture contains citizens who are not overjoyed to watch the
underprivileged toyed with by mean-spirited snobs.  And I doubt if all
the prentices at the Globe were overjoyed to watch Francis -- a prentice
-- jerked around by melancholy Hal.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 14 Feb 2001 13:58:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 12.0355 Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0355 Re: Welsh etc.

Don Bloom perceptively writes,

> There is a recurrent desire to twist everything that
> Shakespeare wrote,
> to make it dark, ironic and bitter. To me, Prince
> Hal in his "I know you
> all" soliloquy means only that he is in full control
> of himself and
> will, when the time is right, reveal that he can be
> the prince everybody
> wants him to be.

Exactly.

Don continues:

> He is enjoying not only his
> carefree lifestyle, but the
> fact that he has fooled everybody into thinking he
> can't do anything
> else.

A very minor quibble: I wonder if "fooled everybody" is not, perhaps,
too loaded an expression to accurately express what Hal is doing?  A
successful monarch (Elizabeth, for example) certainly dealt in
dissimulation and manipulation, but (theoretically and ideally, at
least) did so as a means to a desired end: unhesitating, secure
leadership and efficient government.  Our concepts of what these latter
concepts entail certainly differ from the concepts held by the
Elizabethans, but if Hal is enjoying "fooling everybody," does it not
(slightly misleadingly) imply that he takes satisfaction from
dissimulation as a pleasurable end in itself.

In a separate posting in this thread, Ed Taft proposes that:

> In Henry V. however, where the Chorus invites us to
> participate in
> Henry's great triumph, it can be argued that, at
> least for some people,
> discrepant awareness fades into oblivion

Well, yes, certainly.  But it's also important to remember that the
Chorus recalls the audience from that oblivion at the play's end,
reminding us that Henry's triumphs will be transient as France is again
lost.  I may well be reading too much in, but that closing strikes me as
a wake-up call: "Before you, the audience, lose yourselves too deeply in
the orgasmic bliss of national pride, remember that it will not last.
It never has, and never will."

Cheers,
Karen Peterson-Kranz
 

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