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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Re: Tragic Hero
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0928  Wednesday, 25 April 2001

[1]     From:   Judith M. Craig <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Apr 2001 11:43:20 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0917 Re: Tragic Hero

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Apr 2001 09:26:19 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 12.0917 Re: Tragic Hero

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Apr 2001 09:37:56 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0917 Re: Tragic Hero


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith M. Craig <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Apr 2001 11:43:20 -0400
Subject: 12.0917 Re: Tragic Hero
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0917 Re: Tragic Hero

More meditations on "The Merchant of Venice:"

Why does Shylock demand a "pound of flesh?"  I suggest that his demand
is a metonym for his vengeful feelings against the Protestant "fathers"
personified in Antonio.   These men appear religious and prosper in the
real world of commerce and public polity; however, this worldly
appearance is a "whited sepulchre," achieved by deceit, usually in the
form of illicit affairs with low women if they are married or if they
are single, with a series of re-marriages or "relationships."

To Shylock, this is an intolerable situation:  he is impoverished by
their contempt in the business world, and his family life is destroyed
by lack of status in a society they dominate.  His daughter, unlike
"virtuous" Portia, dominated by the "will," of her father, throws away
his wife's ring in exchange for a monkey and a marriage with a
Christian.  His "pound of flesh" demand not only symbolizes his desire
to torture "Christians" in return, but also symbolizes the way these
have gotten where they are--"pounding" women who are no more to them
than pounds of "flesh" to give them energy to keep their money-making
schemes fueled.  Eventually they run out of energy, and having amassed
their fortunes,  inhabit Brian Haylet's idea of melancholic hell.  I
would suggest that Shylock's forced "conversion" might look like imposed
torture to sympathetic viewers, but in reality, he has a chance to
outgrow his revenge and find the peace Antonio will never find living in
the hell he has created for himself and others.

Judy Craig

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Apr 2001 09:26:19 -0700
Subject: Re: Tragic Hero
Comment:        SHK 12.0917 Re: Tragic Hero

Judith Matthews Craig wrote:

> I am not too naive to know how
> heterosexual men do talk and think.

Oh?  Are we all alike?  You should meet me and my brother, Rambo Jensen,
sometime.  You won't believe we are related.

Shallow.  Shallow.

Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Apr 2001 09:37:56 -0700
Subject: 12.0917 Re: Tragic Hero
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0917 Re: Tragic Hero

Stephanie Hughes writes, in response to Stevie Gamble's response to her
posting,

>Bigger game? Are you saying that the then current controversy over
>Equity vs. Common Law was beneath Shakespeare?  That only the eternal
>verities, such as the nature of value and risk as debated by Aristotle,
>ever occupied his mind?

One needn't think that contemporary events were beneath Shakespeare to
imagine him as more interested in the philosophy of usury than in
jurisprudential innovation.  Stevie's effort, if I've read him
correctly, is to move away from strictly limiting Shakespeare's meanings
by contemporary events (a sort of historicism gone mad) towards wider
philosophical issues.

Judy Craig writes:

>Frankly, Sean, I don't know where you've been during the sexual
>revolution.  I am still unconvinced that my reading is less plausible
>than the currently fashionable one that makes Antonio homosexual.    I
>have never been a rabid feminist, but I am not too naive to know how
>heterosexual men do talk and think.

Ah, so everyone who's survived the sexual revolution has substituted
malevolent stereotyping for character analysis or psychoanalytic theory?

Cheers,
Se

 

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