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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: December ::
"details such as this"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2432  Wednesday, 18 December 2002

From:           Jim Slager <
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Date:           Tuesday, 17 Dec 2002 17:20:52 -0800
Subject:        "details such as this"

On page 202 of The Arden Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus editor Jonathan
Bate places a note on line 241 of Act 3 scene 1 which is spoken by the
Messenger to

In Titus Andronicus act 3 scene 1 the Messenger enters with two heads
and a hand and speaks only seven lines:

        Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
        For that good hand thou sent'st the emperor.
        Here are the heads of thy two noble sons;
        And here's thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back;
        Thy griefs their sports, thy resolution mock'd;
        That woe is me to think upon thy woes
        More than remembrance of my father's death.

On page 202 of The Arden Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus editor Jonathan
Bate remarks concerning the last line that "Since the eighteenth
century, Shakespeare has been admired for the art of animating even the
smallest role through details such as this."

I am puzzled by the following:

In both The Winter's Tale and Titus Andronicus men take very young
infants on long journeys yet Shakespeare provides no details on how a
man would have tended an infant in these circumstances.   In both cases
it seems as simple to journey with an infant as it would be to carry a
loaf of bread.  Shakespeare was a father and must have known something
about how fragile and needy an infant is.  Why didn't he provide some
"animating details"?

Jim Slager

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