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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: Merchant
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2548  Monday, 5 November 2001

From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Saturday, 03 Nov 2001 16:10:53 -0500
Subject: 12.2536 Re: Merchant
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2536 Re: Merchant

Bruce Young writes,

>For those who claim that play characters have no discernible content, I
>would add that these speculations about Shylock are ones that arise as a
>result of thinking about the words in the text and trying to make sense
>of them.  Of course, there's no definitive "life of Shylock" out there
>to check the speculations against.

Of course literary characters are not real people, but we pretend that
they are.  I suppose we could call it the willing suspension of
disbelief -- this pretense that words on a page share an ontological
category with real people.  I like Kendall Walton's Mimesis as
Make-Believe.  We make believe that Shylock is real in the same sense as
we are real, that he had parents, a childhood, feelings of some sort for
Leah -- but, of course, has no need to go to the bathroom.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

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