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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Romeo and Juliet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1239  Monday, 6 May 2002

[1]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 3 May 2001 15:55:33 -0500
        Subj:   Flaws and Errors

[2]     From:   Janet Costa <
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        Date:   Friday, 3 May 2002 09:21:28 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1233 Re: Romeo and Juliet

[3]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Friday, 3 May 2002 17:52:19 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1233 Re: Romeo and Juliet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Thursday, 3 May 2001 15:55:33 -0500
Subject:        Flaws and Errors

John V. Knapp write,

>Does it follow then that generations of lecturers on *The Poetics* have
>appeared to suggest that a poor or erroneous choice (an error) by a
>character is really a crack in the self, a "flaw" in the personality
>that reflects what?  an attribution from god, from genetic markers, from
>a story-telling mechanism?  Make no mistake: is it a flaw to use "flaw"
>and not error, or is it merely an error to ignore error and use flaw?
>Whadda think?

I think we must use both, for isn't the sense of "flaw" a characteristic
weakness in the personality that, surrendered to (or not guarded
against), produces a strong temptation to make a poor choice, to err?
Yet, at that point, there must be the freedom to choose, or we witness a
pitiful character rather than a tragic one.

L. Swilley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Janet Costa <
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Date:           Friday, 3 May 2002 09:21:28 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1233 Re: Romeo and Juliet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1233 Re: Romeo and Juliet

I did try to stay out of this one, but... Re: Sam Small: 'Not in my
view.  Every story, if it is a story, has a clear protagonist and
antagonist'. I refer Sam to 'Antigone' and a few other Greek plays and
stories. Is Antigone or Creon antagonist or protagonist? My students
have had many a long night doing essays on this one. I will admit,
though, that the Aristotelian definitions in 'The Poetics' do not apply
in most Shakespeare plays, and RnJ (perhaps even the Scottish play) may
be one of them.

Janet

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Friday, 3 May 2002 17:52:19 +0100
Subject: 13.1233 Re: Romeo and Juliet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1233 Re: Romeo and Juliet

"Macbeth's ambition is driven by superstition and magic - and that is
the dark force of antagonism of the story", writes Sam Small. "It is
Shakespeare's genius that gives us so many invisible antagonists.  The
feud in R&J for instance.  Very few modern storytellers/screenwriters
take this rather progressive approach".

Stephen King shifts a fair number of books, so I'm told. And he has even
more imitators.

Also - why shouldn't the antagonist be Macbeth's inability to screw his
courage to the sticking place? That would make him both protagonist and
antagonist, a divided self. Isn't that really Shakespeare's genius in
these matters - the convincing portrayal of psychomachia in human terms?
Cf.  Jonson's plots and characters for the sort of thing Shakespeare
wasn't trying to do (or vice versa, I dunno...)

m

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