The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2486  Tuesday, 31 December 2002

From:           Thomas Larque <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 30 Dec 2002 13:31:24 -0000
Subject: 13.2477 Online Articles Related to Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2477 Online Articles Related to Shakespeare

>This is the first paragraph of a rather rambling article. Interesting,
>though, that the Pentagon should think of Shakespeare among others
>to improve soldiers' minds as they go to war.

Does it say in the article which Shakespeare is being used?  I suspect
this could backfire if the plays are read in the wrong (from the US
military's point of view) spirit.

Did they send Hamlet musing about Fortinbras killing off his soldiers to
win barren and useless land for the sake of honour?  Or Henry V ordering
the murder of French prisoners of war?  Or Falstaff picking the worst
possible soldiers as cannon fodder, in order to extort bribe money from
the better soldiers who did not want to go?  Or Coriolanus invading his
own homeland? Perhaps eager soldiers read Shakespeare differently from
pacifists, but a lot of what Shakespeare has to say about war doesn't
seem particularly encouraging.

It would be interesting to know which Shakespeare text the American army
thinks is suitably pro-war to encourage those who will likely be
invading Iraq very soon.  Are they that confident that their soldiers
will not know of, or fail to notice, the anti-war readings of
Shakespeare that are now predominant?  Reading Shakespeare as pro-war
patriotic propaganda seems very old fashioned judging by most modern
theatre productions that I have seen.

Thomas Larque.

"Shakespeare and His Critics"

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