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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Fonts of Wisdom
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1500  Thursday, 14 June 2001

From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Jun 2001 19:23:13 -0400
Subject:        Fonts of Wisdom

Ed Pixley writes: "I would far rather be Polonius than that waterfly,
Osric.  As we age, most of us would probably like to be fonts of wisdom,
but Shakespeare seems to have lacked great reverence for that type."

I wonder about this. Is Shakespeare NOT fond of Prospero, Escalus, or
even Gower (is Gower a "font of wisdom"?). Certainly, he does show us
many great flaws in some ostensibly wise characters-Friar Lawrence comes
quickly to mind as well as Polonius-but I wonder if Shakespeare really
saw these characters as "wise."  There are, however, many wise fools on
whom Shakespeare seems to lavish great affection. Here's an interesting
can of worms to open.

Which of Shakespeare's characters are supposed to be seen as wise, and
can we glean any attitude toward them from their creator?

Paul E. Doniger

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