Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: January ::
Re: Orlando
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0114  Friday, 19 January 2001

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Jan 2001 09:18:04 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 12.0105 Re: Orlando

[2]     From:   Ed Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Jan 2001 12:55:06 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 12.0105 Re: Orlando

[3]     From:   Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Jan 2001 14:07:32 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0105 Re: Orlando


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Jan 2001 09:18:04 -0800
Subject: Re: Orlando
Comment:        SHK 12.0105 Re: Orlando

I can't help but wonder if it would not be more productive to look at
other of Shakespeare's plays where couples fall in love at first sight,
R&J for example, than speculate about Orlando's pecs?  I would then
broaden the field to other couples by other playwrights.  Compare,
compare, compare.  Then there is the other literature which discusses
the pitfalls and values of such attachments.

As usual, a voice crying in the wilderness,
Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Jan 2001 12:55:06 -0500
Subject: Re: Orlando
Comment:        SHK 12.0105 Re: Orlando

I agree with Chris Stroffolino's point that Celia and Rosalind are
subtlety differentiated from each other by Shakespeare, but I don't
understand his example.  Both Celia and Rosalind, in effect, fall in
love at first sight, it seems to me.  Their reasons for doing so may be
somewhat different, however, and perhaps that is Chris's point.

Don's insistence that there are no stage directions indicating that
Charles and Orlando are shirtless when they wrestle is not much of an
impediment to my argument.   Can you imagine them wrestling with their
shirts on? (Maybe in winter?) Would any prop manager let that happen,
given the cost of a new shirt?  It's pretty clear that they wrestle
without their shirts, isn't it?

Finally, what in heaven's name does the following mean?

        "Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown
        More than your enemies."  (1.2.244-45)

Rosalind says this to Orlando right after his victory.  Can this mean
that she feels maternally toward him (?)  That various subtle influences
have persuaded her to fall in love (?)  As my students (who have no
trouble understanding why Rosalind falls for Orlando) say, "I don't
think so!"

--Ed

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Jan 2001 14:07:32 -0600
Subject: 12.0105 Re: Orlando
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0105 Re: Orlando

I won't quibble with Chris Stroffolino's interesting contribution to the
Rosalind motivation question, but I will offer a few more (and probably
final) observations.

1. There really isn't enough data. I hope I won't shock anyone if I
offer the opinion that Shakespeare seems to have skimped a bit on this
transitional passage.

2. With insufficient data, the ever-present tendency to read into a
given text your own prejudices and emotional needs becomes even more
marked.  Having concocted in my mind a particular kind of Rosalind, I
will read that rather problematic passage in way that accords with that
image. Ed reads into it a rather different Rosalind; Chris a third. If
there were more to it, and none of us was completely pig-headed, one
might persuade another to accept his view as a more likely
interpretation (and perhaps revise his image of Rosalind). As it is, we
can only struggle over the meager evidence that's there.

3. Please, Chris, be careful what you attribute to me. Some are minor
matters, such as, what I meant to say was that Rosalind's *first* (not
her *primary*) motivation was pity and fear, which I described as
maternal. (I would use a different term if I could find one. Tenderness,
though true, doesn't get at the root motivation. We feel tenderness
because we have maternal feelings-men, too, though I believe less
powerfully on the average than women. But let's *please* not get
side-tracked on that.)

More serious is this: "Yet, if we look at the play as a whole, it's
clear throughout that Celia is much more conventional (or perhaps in
Bloom's terms, we should say 'much more male') in her privileging of
physical attributes and prowess over words and graciousness . . " I can
see where you might deduce that from my observation based on the idea
that men are more susceptible to looks alone than women. But the issue
is much too complex to reduce it to "Bloom's definition of maleness." If
I were put to the stake, I would venture the generalization that women
are more attracted by prowess (that is, *doing something*) than by the
physical attributes that might or might not help the doing
(well-chiseled abs and delts, for instance) -- as compared to men.

I might be wrong in this, of course. My knowledge of the secret
motivations of women is necessarily limited. On the other hand I have
spent a good many hours in locker rooms, frat houses, dorms, barracks
and low dives (not to mention an entire lifetime inside my own head),
and know from experience the half-insane fixation men have on the
physical bodies of women-what Ed aptly called the Va-va-voom factor.

Anyway, to each his own Rosalind.

don
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.