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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Conspicuous Silence
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1343  Saturday, 18 May 2002

[1]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 May 2002 14:39:32 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence

[2]     From:   John Ramsay <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 May 2002 11:01:36 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence

[3]     From:   Janet OKeefe <
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        Date:   16 May 2002 08:08:18 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 May 2002 14:39:32 +1000
Subject: 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence

My personal favourite "conspicuous silence" comes right at the end of
_Measure for Measure_ when the Duke asks Isabella to marry him TWICE and
she makes no reply.  W.W. Lawrence had "no doubt that she turns to him
with a heavenly and yielding smile" but some of us may no be so sure...

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Ramsay <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 May 2002 11:01:36 -0400
Subject: 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence

> I recently reported on a production of Much Ado, where Hero's
> overbearing attitude towards the house staff, including Margaret, seems
> to provide a justification for her conspicuous silence during Claudio's
> accusation of her.  I have certainly seem productions of Othello, where
> Emily's conspicuous silence was portrayed as the clear result of Iago's
> abuse, but I don't think that is apparent in the text, just a natural
> extension of what we know about the characters.
>
> These examples have set me to wondering if these "conspicuous silences"
> have any significance.  They seem a bit glaring to be just the result of
> needing the plot to move forward.  I wonder what it all "means" and what
> examples I am missing.
>
> Jimmy

Think of the stage directions for silence in a more modern play:

(Turns back and refuses to answer)
(Haughtily declines to respond)
(Is too furious to speak)
(Makes a flippant gesture)

Lacking specific stage directions in Shakespeare plays, directors and
actors come up with interpretations.

John Ramsay

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Janet OKeefe <
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Date:           16 May 2002 08:08:18 -0700
Subject: 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1328 Conspicuous Silence

> These examples have set me to wondering if these "conspicuous silences"
> have any significance.  They seem a bit glaring to be just the result of
> needing the plot to move forward.  I wonder what it all "means" and what
> examples I am missing.
>
> Jimmy

I don't know if this counts as a conspicuous silence, but I have never
heard a good reason why Rosalind doesn't reveal her identity to her
father the first time she meets him in the Forest of Arden.  The
disguise is presented as a way to travel inconspicuously and safely, so
why not drop it when she reaches her goal?  I suppose by that time she
might be having too much fun teasing Orlando, but I still don't see that
as a good reason to lie to her father.

Janet T. O'Keefe

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