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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Re: Camillo and Paulina
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1326  Sunday, 3 June 2001

[1]     From:   Bruce Young <
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        Date:   Friday, 01 Jun 2001 10:33:12 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

[2]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Jun 2001 18:08:54 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

[3]     From:   Kezia Sproat <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Jun 2001 13:09:12 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

[4]     From:   John Marwick <
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        Date:   Saturday, 2 Jun 2001 13:35:09 +1200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

[5]     From:   Lyn Wood <
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        Date:   Friday, 01 Jun 2001 08:11:29 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Young <
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Date:           Friday, 01 Jun 2001 10:33:12 -0600
Subject: 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

This doesn't answer the question directly (about how to prepare for
Leontes's pairing up of Camillo and Paulina), but in a production I
helped with a few years ago, we had Camillo distracted, talking to
someone else, while Leontes made the announcement.  Then, Camillo,
quickly trying to compose himself and make sense of the situation, was
brought over to Paulina.  She, all the while, appeared stand-offish and
sceptical and didn't extend her hand when Camillo held his out to her.
But then, as Camillo's crest was on the verge of falling and he began to
drop his hand, Paulina quickly reached out and took it.

The moment got a lot of laughs (I hope not cheap ones) and, even as I
think about it now, the sequence seems to fit Paulina quite well: she's
feisty and independent, but emotionally tender as well.  (Note
5.2.72-78--and she's the one who says, "You precious winners all"
[5.3.131].)

On the question of whether the match between Camillo and Paulina is
appropriate and in some sense prepared for, I'd argue that it is: they
are both counselors to kings who, though intensely faithful, don't
hesitate to disagree with or disobey their master when they think he's
wrong; and both are associated with medicine (2.3.37, 54; 4.4.587).
Also, what immediately prompts Leontes's announcement is Paulina's
public declaration that--unlike everybody else--she'll just have to live
out her life in sorrow and solitude.  It sounds like she's deliberately
protesting too much and really would love to have another man in her
life, now that Antigonus and Leontes are no longer available.

Bruce Young

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Jun 2001 18:08:54 +0100
Subject: 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

>"O, peace, Paulina!
>Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
...
>The question that keeps running around in my head is: "How does Leontes
>know ("...For him, I partly know his mind...") that Camillo has a desire
>to wed Paulina?"  How does one reconcile that within the play, and
>attempt to make this scene seem less "out of the blue"?
>
>Interested to see what people think.

One way of playing this (if you take a reading of the play as "Leontes
hasn't learned anything") is to see it as yet another example of Leontes
arbitrarily establishing his authority yet once more.  Here, "How does
Leontes know?" indexes Leontes' (still) arbitrary and absolute power.

Another (more metaphysical) approach would be to see Camillo replacing
the dead Antigonus.  Thus the marriage of Camillo and Paulina is part of
the "restoration" element (Leontes reunited with Hermione, etc.).  Here,
psychological probability (and related questions of realism) don't come
into play quite so much.

It turns, I think, on whether you see the ending of the play as
optimistic (Florizel and Perdita will avoid the mistakes of the older
generation) or pessimistic (F&P will in due course repeat the mistakes
of the earlier generation).

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kezia Sproat <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Jun 2001 13:09:12 EDT
Subject: 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

It may help to remember that Paulina is (considering the whole corpus,
an antidote to Iago, a sibling to Prospero, and. . . .) Shakespeare's
whole-cloth addition to the source plot in Greene's Pandosto. Taking the
longer view, that of a person making a play out of a stark, dark tale,
she's the author's own invented Problem-Solver. Despite many generations
of critical discounting and dismissal as a "scold," Paulina really has
it together.

Camillo, a courtier, can be visibly interested during this scene, and
earlier. As in any good play, characters CHANGE, and Camillo's part
calls for it right alongside his boss. An old woman? Therefore
unattractive? Leontes notices wrinkles on the statue, but not to worry.
. . perhaps he does so partly to help set up the Paulina-Camillo
marriage. . .

Without reference to any source plot: the other actors playing the court
should have recognized in earlier scenes, as has Leontes, that she's the
Lee Iacocca (i.e., turn-around expert) of her time and place. Such a
comparison understates her agency, but may be useful because for many
women, male power (despite form, age, etc.) and proved personal agency
is attractive. Assume that in a freer, less stereotype-dominated
society, the converse is true as well: for men, women's power is
attractive. ESPECIALLY in the near-post-Elizabethan age! We can't even
imagine today, probably, what Elizabethans thought about powerful old
women as compared to current USA residents (who can hardly even see an
older woman reading news on TV). Most of original WT audience remembered
Elizabeth. . . .compare Dwight Eisenhower, for example.

Speaking of age and immodesty: a subsection of my dissertation written
26 years ago might help, "Source Changes in WT." Unavailable except via
Contentville pirates, but I'll send it if interested.

Kezia Sproat

PS I first saw WT at Vassar in about 1955, hated Paulina, and was left
cold by the play. That was because in 1955 we (arguably cream of
America's crop of young ladies) had been taught to be reverential to
males of most if not all stripes. Sea changes came later, thank heaven,
so we are now, I feel, much closer to Shakespeare's age, much more ready
as a culture now than then to appreciate his contributions. (And does
not the current market support that view?)

PPS Just reread last scene of WT and thought about new portrait. Fun
reference there to lifelike art. . . .

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Marwick <
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Date:           Saturday, 2 Jun 2001 13:35:09 +1200
Subject: 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

Tim Perfect writes:

>"How does Leontes
> know ("...For him, I partly know his mind...") that Camillo has a desire
> to wed Paulina?"  How does one reconcile that within the play, and
> attempt to make this scene seem less "out of the blue"?

When I directed WT last year here in New Zealand we decided to leave
this in (though it has been cut in various other productions as being
too pat and an unlikely end for Paulina).

Actually there's something quite symmetrical about the match between the
two people who are instrumental in helping correct the damage that
Leontes has caused (Camillo by saving Polixenes and then bringing
Perdita back to Sicilia and Paulina by restoring Hermione).  And there's
a lot of symmetry between the two halves of the play that I think works
to counter the great gap of time.

We helped the idea by the way we played the first two scenes in the
play.  The setting was Edwardian with the court coming on after dinner.
Camillo and Archidamus walked out of the dining room first, then the
Kings came out with Hermione and following them were the whole court -
including Paulina and Antigonus (he was much older than she). As the
action took place downstage we had groups of courtiers chatting upstage
- with Paulina deep in conversation with Camillo. When the Queen and
Polixenes leave the rest of the cortiers left too - except for Paulina
and Camillo who stayed talking.  When Leonetes calls "What Camillo,
there?" at line 209 that was when Paulina exited.  In this way we set up
the idea that there was at least a close friendship betwen paulina and
Camillo.  Mind you, it may only have been in the minds of the cast - not
sure whether anyone who was unfamiliar with the play would have noticed.

When it came to the end of the play Pailina's 'old turtle' speech
(128-134) was not taken too seriously (though certainly a bit of a sad
undertone) and Leontes' response of 'Oh piece, Paulina' was gently
ribbing her. On some nights the marriage with Camillo got a bit of a
laugh - but I think the char acters were laughing along too.

John Marwick
Eastbourne New Zealand
WT webpage: http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/~marlenn/index.html

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lyn Wood <
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Date:           Friday, 01 Jun 2001 08:11:29 -0700
Subject: 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1321 Camillo and Paulina

Tim Perfect wrote:

>The question that keeps running around in my head is: "How does Leontes
>know ("...For him, I partly know his mind...") that Camillo has a desire
>to wed Paulina?"  How does one reconcile that within the play, and
>attempt to make this scene seem less "out of the blue"?
>
>Interested to see what people think.

When I first read the play, the way Leontes plays matchmaker bothered
me, but, as you point out, he does say, "I'll not seek far (for him, I
partly know his mind)".  I take this to mean that he has discussed the
matter at least briefly with Camillo beforehand.  In a production I saw
at the USF, as Leontes presented the idea to Paulina, Camillo looked
very much as if he hoped Paulina would accept him.  Paulina was a bit
surprised at first, but then looked as if she'd be willing to consider
the possibility. The way they played it, his matchmaking didn't bother
me at all.

Lyn

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