Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: Chance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0295  Monday, 17 February 2003

[1]     From:   Claude Caspar <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 10:53:15 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0283 Re: Chance

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 16:22:33 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0283 Re: Chance

[3]     From:   Edward Pixley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 15 Feb 2003 10:35:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0283 Re: Chance


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Caspar <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 10:53:15 -0500
Subject: 14.0283 Re: Chance
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0283 Re: Chance

>I want to particularly note "one's fortune or lot" (and "fate") and "an
>opportunity" among the definitions, not just "accident." These suggest
>to me the possibility of chance being a particularly tragic circumstance
>in character-driven plots, including Macbeth.  If chance is one's fate,
>then the outcome is destiny.  If chance is an opportunity, then the
>outcome may depend on free will.  Both suggest entirely different
>interpretations of what might seem chancy, roll-of-the-die outcomes.

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
  So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
  So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Though my compellation was not directly linked to my discussion of
Chance (Fortuna?), since the workings of it as a hidden presence (not
even as an entity but an occurrence) may not name it consciously, I was
struck by its use in this sonnet.  The difference between "chance" &
"nature" is noteworthy in regard to your comments, too, especially,
perhaps, in that the Sonnets, for some, seem closer to the real voice of
our Author, Bard being out of fashion. I do feel- though- that there is
a clear contrast between the ancient and Shakespearean understanding,
when one considers Fate/Destiny/ananke/Necessity.  The ancients
certainly had a conception of Chance, even saw it as a divine attribute,
but not as the determining principle. Life had meaning; there was Truth,
however mysteries. Not so in my Shakespeare, at least, not as naive as
my dear Greeks- WS went beyond them & is truer to Reality. To see how WS
broke free of all constructs is what is at stake, I suppose.

Now, about the current crisis & its relationship to Shakespeare Studies.
I am certain that all sides, including those who have no sides, will
find that he supports their position.  My position is that he would be
amused.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 16:22:33 -0000
Subject: 14.0283 Re: Chance
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0283 Re: Chance

Francis Bacon has lots of interesting things to say about "Vicissitude
of Things" - as about everything else. See his Essayes, passim, and
also, I would suggest, to contrast with the Shakespeare of the History
plays, his History of the Reign of Henry VII. It can be found in Vol. VI
of the Works ed. Spedding et. al. and there is a decent & recent edition
by Jerry Weinberger, whose introduction is quite good on the subject.
Ralegh's History of the World is also a central text, I'd suggest.
Adriana McCrea's Constant Minds: Political Virtue and the Lipsian
Paradigm in England 1584-1650 (Toronto 2000) has some good stuff in on
both Bacon (Chapter 2, esp. pp.90-95) and Ralegh (esp. pp.55-64). The
notion of stoical suicide is obviously germane to the issues Claude
Caspar was discussing. Alexandra Walsham's Providence in Early Modern
England (Oxford 1999) is a fairly exhaustive account of its subject.

martin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 15 Feb 2003 10:35:00 -0500
Subject: 14.0283 Re: Chance
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0283 Re: Chance

Claude Casper points out the working of chance in the business between
Gertrude, the poisoned cup, and the King in the final scene of "Hamlet."
Hamlet's own oft-quoted remarks at the beginning of V.ii seem
particularly relevant to this thread:

                                                         Rashly,
And praised be rashness for it -- let us know,
Our indiscretion sometime serve us well
When our deep plots do pall, and that should learn us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will --
            .    .    .
Up from my cabin
My sea-gown scarfed about me, in the dark
Groped I to find out them, had my desire
Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew
To mine own room again, making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand commission. . . .

[Then, in rewriting the commission, he observes]

                            I sat me down,
Devised a new commission, wrote it fair.
In once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair, and labored much
How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service.

[And when Horatio asks how it was sealed,]

Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
I had my father's signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal. . . .

This is the man who had to have control of everything before he could
consciously act, now, for the first time, articulating how little
control he has over the ends towards which he moves.

Ed Pixley

_______________________________________________________________
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.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.