Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: Desdemona
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2137  Monday, 28 October 2002

[1]     From:   Hadd Judson <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 25 Oct 2002 10:16:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2132 Re: Desdemona

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 25 Oct 2002 13:33:41 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 13.2127 Desdemona

[3]     From:   David Evett <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 26 Oct 2002 14:45:18 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2132 Re: Desdemona


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hadd Judson <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 25 Oct 2002 10:16:54 -0400
Subject: 13.2132 Re: Desdemona
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2132 Re: Desdemona

Hello,

In reference to >>"[d] many were interested in Desdemona's age / freedom
/ cultural status:<< : Most children, and most adults, today are not
aware that until recently children did not have the status they have
today.  The care and freedom that children today would be a novel idea
to Desdemona's father or any other parent at that time period.  You have
to explain that  children were chattel and property to be used and not
enjoyed in and of themselves as children.

Hadd Judson

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 25 Oct 2002 13:33:41 -0400
Subject: Desdemona
Comment:        SHK 13.2127 Desdemona

Dear Stuart Manger,

You could start by discouraging your 16 year-olds from reducing one form
of drama to another. Indeed, you could ask them to consider why, in
matters like this, they are usually urged, often by their teachers, to
reach so confidently for the wrong end of the stick.  'Othello' is not
much concerned with psychological realism. As with most of Shakespeare's
plays, if you impose that sort of requirement, you risk turning it into
the sort of soap opera that our society seems anxious to endorse. In
truth, the play operates far more effectively in a non-realistic,
emblematic, or, to use Brecht's term, 'epic' mode. Tell them, since
no-one else will, that art isn't inevitably, nor has it always been,
concerned with chatter about 'personality',  'motivation' and (dread
word) 'character, however much 16 year-olds would like it (and
everything else) to be. Othello is about much more important matters
such as political and social structures, war, power, the construction
and dissolution, at times of intense pressure, of notions of race,
class, sexuality, and family relationships. You might even ask them to
ponder why their education wants to inhibit their thinking about such
things. Then duck.

T. Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 26 Oct 2002 14:45:18 -0400
Subject: 13.2132 Re: Desdemona
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2132 Re: Desdemona

>"many were interested in Desdemona's age / freedom / cultural
>status: children these days find her virtual imprisonment by Brabantio
>almost incredible. How, they say, could young girls hope to meet
>eligible men, and indeed had not Othello achieved exactly that tacit
>imprimatur from her father through his apparently repeated invitations
>to Othello?"

For a fuller look at genteel courtship customs see *Romeo and Juliet,*
*Love's Labours Lost,* and *Much Ado About Nothing*.  In town, young
women could meet eligible men at dinners and parties, which usually
included dancing but also opportunities for quiet conversation; in the
country, there were walks, in a garden or abroad, and hunting, involving
both neighbors who had come over for the evening or day and house party
guests invited for longer visits.  It is true, of course, that because
marriage among people of substantial property had economic and political
implications, fathers (and guardians, too) sought to insure that their
children married spouses of whom they approved-consider not only
Brabantio and Capulet but also Baptista and Vincentio in *Shrew*,
Portia's dead father and Shylock in *Merchant*, Leonato in *Much Ado*,
Lear, and  Prospero in *Tempest*, among others.  And were equally
concerned to avoid clandestine marriages-like that of Othello and
Desdemona-with unsuitable partners.

Matrimonially,
David Evett

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.