2001

Re: Hamlet: The Cuts; Fortinbras: The Tour

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1797  Wednesday, 18 July 2001

From:           Andrew W. White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 20:15:27 -0400
Subject:        Re: Hamlet: The Cuts; Fortinbras: The Tour

For the record:  Polonius used "lunacy" instead of 'ecstasy' in his
performance at BAM in New York.  It was a curious change, and I'm glad I
now know why it was made.

Andy White

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Re: Misplaced Modifiers

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1796  Wednesday, 18 July 2001

[1]     From:   John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 15:39:44 -0500
        Subj:   Must die once

[2]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 17:43:25 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 12.1772 Misplaced Modifiers


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 15:39:44 -0500
Subject:        Must die once

In SHK 12.772, Larry Weiss takes "once" to be misplaced from its place
after "meditating"

Despite Larry's citation of the brave who only die once, I have always
taken "once" to mean in this context and syntax  "at one time or
another" in which case the link between "once" and "now" is very
strong.  If "once" modifies "meditating", it would mean that at one time
he meditated on Portia's future death.  Brutus is too much the
philosopher to meditate only once on such an important issue in his
personal life.  I want to leave the text alone.  I have not consulted
OED or a concordance s.v. "once", but think Sh uses "once" in the sense
"sometime or other" elsewhere in the canon.

Cheers for textual cruces,
John

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 17:43:25 -0400
Subject: Misplaced Modifiers
Comment:        SHK 12.1772 Misplaced Modifiers

Larry Weiss asks:

> In JC, IV.iii.190-92 Brutus asserts this unconvincing stoic posturing in
> response to Messala's redundant disclosure of Portia's death:  (Pace
> John Velz, who still remains convinced that this is an uncanceled draft,
> not a deliberate revelation of Brutus as a political creature.)
>
>     Why, farewell Portia.  We must die Messala.
>     With meditating that she must die once,
>     I have the patience to endure it now.
>
> Wouldn't most of the high school teachers on the List mark down a
> freshman composition student for the offense of misplacing "once,"
> especially so ambiguously.  It is clear that Brutus means that he once
> contemplated that Portia would die so he is now fortified against the
> reality.  He doesn't mean that he was thinking that Portia would die
> only once. but the speech allows that construction, especially in light
> of Caesar's speech about cowards dying thousands of times and the
> valiant only once.
>
> The meter is just as good if the line read:
>
>     With meditating once that she must die
>
> The only thing lost is the end-of-line appositions of "once" and "now";
> but it seems to me that the meaning is just as strong if the opposed
> words don't scan in the same places, and the risks of mishearing or
> misconstruing are far less.
>
> Was the Bard nodding?  Can we think of any other instances of
> Shakespeare misplacing a modifier for poetic purposes and creating a
> conflict in sense?

I am sure that there are constructions in Shakespeare that could be
considered misplaced modifiers, but I do not agree that this is one of
them.  The adverbial of time, 'once', is placed at the end of the line
to emphasize that Brutus thought this entire thought at one time in the
past and may, therefore, be stoic in his sorrow, now. The word is
deliberately placed in the parallel position with the adverbial of time
in the next line ('now'). I don't see this as a problem, but rather as a
skilled rhetorical construction.

Paul E. Doniger

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Re: Trucker's Othello at Blythe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1794  Wednesday, 18 July 2001

From:           Mary Jane Miller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 15:28:10 -0400
Subject: 12.1781 Trucker's Othello at Blythe
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1781 Trucker's Othello at Blythe

PS to Tanya's post. The reviewer James Reaney wrote the only Canadian
tragedy/ trilogy The Donnellys, a remarkable, dense, poetic revision of
the usual Black Donnellys tripe. His sensibility is quirky, often
Gothic, shot through with Northrop Frye's sense of landscape and
typology. He uses all kinds of popular culture in his work and he would
love the collision in Cruel Tears if it were well done.

Mary Jane

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Macbeth's Witches

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1795  Wednesday, 18 July 2001

[1]     From:   Nancy Charlton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 13:37:26 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1764 Re: Macbeth's Witches

[2]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 18 Jul 2001 13:57:44
        Subj:   Re: Macbeth's Witches


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy Charlton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 13:37:26 -0700
Subject: 12.1764 Re: Macbeth's Witches
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1764 Re: Macbeth's Witches

> >I am not
> >exactly sure of the precise biblical injunction concerning the
> >sinfulness of conjuring and asking my born-again sister is far too
> >tiresome at this time of the morning.  Perhaps someone else knows.
> >
> >Jane Drake Brody

Many interesting replies came in on this point.  I would add to the list
a verse from the KJV:

Isaiah 8:19: And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them than have
familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should
not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

> I think it would be Saul visiting the Witch of Endor -- 1 Samuel 28,
> verses 7 ff.

A loose parallel to the Macbeth situation is found a little anterior to
this in I Samuel 15.  The prophet Samuel gets an inkling that God may be
having second thoughts about having anointed Saul, thanks to his
disobedience in spoiling the defeated Amalekites, ". . . for rebellion
is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and
idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also
rejected thee from being king." For the moment, Saul makes a show of
contrition, but Samuel knows better.  He tears his robe, declaring that
thus will Saul's kingdom be rent, and that is the last he will see of
Saul.  As we know, Saul then seeks help of the Witch and by then is in
too deep to ever get out.

It has always seemed to me that on one level at least the witches in
Macbeth are simply stating facts.  Macbeth IS in line for the thanedoms
and ultimately the kingship. He does hesitate to murder Duncan, and it
takes some doing to get him to act.  He could have chosen to take the
witches with a grain of salt, to tell Lady M just where to go; he might
have been a good and just ruler with plenty of "love, honor, troops of
friends."  In that speech he doesn't say 'I deliberately chose every
consequence I've gotten': he says "My way of life has FALLEN into the
sere and yellow leaf" and -- surprise! I've gotten just what I deserve
but now that I'm in this deep I must go through with it.  He has by then
lost the power of choice.

Similarly, Saul isn't content with simply being anointed by God: he must
find out what's going to happen.  Hence the consult with the Witch.
Saul's problem was evidently complicated by a mental illness, and such
hypotheses might be advanced concerning Macbeth.  The analogy--pardon
the expression--peters out when there is no David to play the harp for
Macbeth.  In vain Lady M asks the physician "Canst thou not minister to
a mind diseased?"

(Janie Cheaney remarks that Saul may be a "tragic hero" of Shakespearean
dimensions. Aside from Handel's oratorio "Saul" and Robert Frost's
poem/play about the Witch of Endor story I can't think of any dramatic
treatment of Saul.  Joseph Heller makes a comedy of the whole David/Saul
business in his novel Go Figure.  Interesting idea.)

This is a little simplistic, even Sunday Schoolish, but Marsha's remarks
on the effects of the witches, and the appeal of this play to high
school students set off a train of memory. One of the first Shakespeare
performances I ever saw was Orson Welles' Macbeth, and since we were
studying it at the time they let school out so we could all troop
downtown and see it.

Marsha wrote:

>I think the
> witches lend to the appeal of Macbeth for high school students and other
> people who feel like Shakespeare is too difficult to understand.

Yes.  This is hardly the definitive Macbeth, even seemed embarrassingly
bad when I saw a revival of it a few years ago. But the staging gets to
you, and it's impossible to forget how the supernatural was handled.
Good or bad, I to this day measure the witches, Banquo's ghost, and
Fleance by this film.  Yes, Fleance. Roddy McDowall was so young, so
good, so brave you almost expected him to call for Flicka or Lassie, and
I always hear him speaking when I read "I looked toward Birnam and anon
methought the wood...began.....to MOOVE!"

This line is more significant than is usually credited.  We in the
audience know what the military manuver behind the moving forest is; we
also know what is driving Macbeth. But the young and inexperienced
Fleance sees what appears to violate natural order, just as Macbeth had
to violate the orderly course of things as outlined by the vaticinations
of the witches. Thus it is a crucial point, where all nature turns on
the unnatural Macbeth, even to the cesarian-born Macduff.

The witches' prophecies don't go into detail, or spell out consequences
or even the modus operandi of becoming king. The HOW is where choice and
free will operate.

Oh -- Jane and whoever else may need to look up something in the Bible,
this is a very useful site:

http://www.blueletterbible.org.

It is maintained by a fundamentalist organization but is not doctrinaire
and keeps any proselytizing activities separate from the information,
and low key. It has an outstanding search engine, several translations,
Greek and Hebrew originals, and a number of reference utilities.

Nancy Charlton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 18 Jul 2001 13:57:44
Subject:        Re: Macbeth's Witches

Marcia Eppich <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> writes:

>And if the only contact a person has with
>Shakespeare is in a classroom, then the teacher's interpretation >takes the
>place of the director's interpretation.

Hmm... I'm curious if the substitution (the role of the director and
that of the teacher) is this simple... Any crucial differences between
their roles?  Any comments/thoughts on this from
actors/actresses/directors?

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Re: Winter's Tale

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1793  Wednesday, 18 July 2001

From:           Stevie Gamble <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 15:18:23 EDT
Subject: 12.1780 Winter's Tale
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1780 Winter's Tale

>Sorry to be a pest, but I'm about to be away from my email for a month
>and I wanted to mention that in one of my papers on The Winter's Tale I
>argue that Autolycus is identified in part as a fertility god because
>among his wares are "pins and poking sticks of steel, what maidens lack
>from head to heel..."

Well, surrounded as I am by pins, and worried as I am about the
technology which failed to replace the poking sticks, I suppose I should
stop worrying about recreating 16th century costume for Hamlet! The
Musical!, and start worrying about the staggering degree of ignorance of
the construction of 16th century dress, and the staggering degree of
ignorance as to the non-existence of fertility deities in 16th century
England, simultaneously demonstrated in this post. I grimly endured the
nonsense about Lammas fairs, but this is too much...

 For anyone interested in the facts, rather than the fantasies, may I
commend to you: Janet Arnold's work, and, in particular _Queen
Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlocked_ and _Lost from Her Majesties Back_, and
Ronald Hutton's work, and, in particular, _The Pagan Religions of the
British Isles_ ,
 _The Rise and Fall of Merry England_, and _The Stations of the Sun; A
History of the Ritual Year in Britain_.

And now I must get back to the pins...

Best wishes,
Stevie Gamble

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.