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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: Gratiano's Final Speech
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1966  Wednesday, 25 September 2002

[1]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Sep 2002 09:03:09 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech

[2]     From:   Andrew Cooley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Sep 2002 18:11:04 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech

[3]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Sep 2002 17:57:40 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Sep 2002 09:03:09 -0700
Subject: 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech

I always thought giving Gratiano the final word in MERCHANT was (and
given what those words are) was also a way of saying that once again
then Christian men still don't have a clue as to what's going on....

Chris

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Cooley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Sep 2002 18:11:04 +0100
Subject: 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech

Larry Berkley rightly, in my opinion, links Gratiano's bawdy pun at the
end of MY to the 'her C's' joke in TN.

Indeed, Leslie A Fiedler, in 'The Stranger in Shakespeare' explains the
pun thus:

'Gratiano says, preparing to take his bow, 'so sore as keeping safe
Nerissa's ring.'  And the understanders in the pit must have roared with
laughter, remembering how in Hans's dream [a reference to a fabliau
called 'Hans Castorp's Ring'], the devil slipped a magic ring on his
middle finger, p[romising that so long as he wore it, his wife could
never betray him, and how, awakening, Hans found that finger up her
cunt.'  [his c-word, not mine]

If Fiedler is correct, then those same understanders in the pit must
also have roared at Maria's letter and the straight-laced  Malvolio's
trace-reference to the obscene word.

Incidentally, I am researching cruelty and desire in MV and TN - has
anyone any useful references, please?

Andrew Cooley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Sep 2002 17:57:40 -0400
Subject: 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1951 MV and Gratiano's Final Speech

Larry Barkley "find[s] Shakespeare's ending for the MV atypical.  WS has
a secondary character, Gratiano, ending the play with a bawdy pun."  Not
so atypical as all that.  Lucentio, not Petruchio, ends *Shr*; Dromio of
Ephesus rather than either Antipholus, the Duke, or Egeus, has the last
word in *Err*.  Armado, not the King, the Princess, Berowne, or
Rosalind, closes *LLL*.  Puck, not Theseus or Oberon, finishes off
*MND*.  Feste terminates *TN,* Pandarus *TC*.  I foolishly gave away my
old Harbage edition of the Works, with its very useful tables showing
the relative magnitiude of the more important roles (more detailed
versions of the same tables can be found in the 6-volume edition of the
Spevack concordance), so I can't be sure without going to the library,
but I would guess that Gratiano gets about the same number of lines and
amount of stage time as any of these.  In the histories and tragedies,
final speeches commonly go to the most highly ranked character still
alive, but some of them - Henry Tudor in *R3*, the Duke in *Rom*,
Fortinbras in *Ham*, Ludovico in *Oth* - are certainly "secondary
characters" as much as is Gratiano.  As for the "bawdy pun," it's not
one that most readers or auditors will notice unless they are on the
lookout for such things.

David Evett

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