The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1070 Thursday, 18 April 2002
Date: Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 14:14:54 -0400
Subject: 13.1059 Re: Belmont on the Brenta
Comment: Re: SHK 13.1059 Re: Belmont on the Brenta
Michael W. Shurgot writes:
>One could argue I suppose that Shakespeare's structure itself could tell
>us something about Bassanio's priorities and motives, but this seems an
>unnecessary investigation into a purely formal element in a theatre
>where both time and space are conventionally infinitely malleable.
If playwrights in the 1590s felt that space/time was infinitely
malleable in their scripts, then isn't that wonderful question "why this
rather than something else?" applicable to the structures of their
For example, Shakespeare could have turned Act 3 of The Merchant of
Venice into a pastoral idyll -- Bassanio's pastoral truancy -- with the
implication that Bassanio spent three happy months at Belmont before he
choose the right casket. Shakespeare did not.
So why did Shakespeare select the structure that he did? What are the
range of possibilities?
Yours, Bill Godshalk
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