Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Shylock Redux
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0172  Friday, 31 January 2003

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 08:33:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 14:39:27 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

[3]     From:   Nora Kreimer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 31 Jan 2003 08:34:22 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 08:33:17 -0500
Subject: 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > writes,

>It's often objected that no law code could allow contracts which call
>for violation of the law.

Quite true.  But Shakespeare, despite the fever dreams of some, wasn't a
lawyer.

>I'm wondering, though, whether such an
>arrangement could be possible if the contract was intended to bridge two
>legally separate communities, who wouldn't be incorporated under a
>single 'code' of law.

>In other words, while relations between Christians would be governed by
>a single set of laws, customs, etc. (a 'social contract', Hobbes would
>say), and relations between Jews would be governed by a similar set of
>laws, customs, etc. (call it Talmudism, whatever Shakespeare's knowledge
>of the Talmud), relations between the two would be based entirely on
>one-of-a-kind ad hoc legal agreements, honoured by the courts but not
>part of a regular legal framework.  I'm not a lawyer, so I wouldn't know
>the terms for this, but it strikes me as bearing a certain affinity with
>how treaties between countries are one-off deals though, since the
>Treaty of Westphalia, efforts have been made to link them together into
>codes.

Well, it's a nice philosophical point, but it does not reflect the
reality of law.  On the one hand, a gentile government would pay very
little attention to Jewish law.  (I would say "none", except that, for
all I know, an enlightened judge might have taken Jewish law into
consideration when dealing with a contractual dispute between two Jews
-- it if came before him in the first place.)  And, on the other hand,
except for certain "not even if they threaten you with death" religious
points, Jewish law in the Diaspora traditionally defers to the law of
the state.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 14:39:27 -0000
Subject: 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

"It's often objected that no law code could allow contracts which call
for violation of the law.  I'm wondering, though, whether such an
arrangement could be possible if the contract was intended to bridge two
legally separate communities, who wouldn't be incorporated under a
single 'code' of law."

This is why there were systems of natural law and codes of civil law
which governed communities in concert with local, common-law codes and
customs.

I suppose influential works from our period would be

Jean Bodin, Six Books of the Republic (chiefly V.vi);

Hugo Grotius, The Law of War and Peace;

John Selden, Mare Clausum;

Francisco Suarez, On the Law;

William Lambarde, The Laws of Nations [?? if I'm not misremembering].

See also

Brian P. Levack, The Civil Lawyers in England 1603-1641: A Political
Study (Oxford 1973); "The Proposed Union of English Law and Scots Law in
the Seventeenth Century", Juridical Review 20 (1975), pp.97-115; "Law
and

Ideology: The Civil Law and Theories of Absolutism in   Elizabethan and
Jacobean England", Heather Dubrow and Richard Strier (eds.), The
Historical Renaissance: New Essays on Tudor and Stuart Literature and
Culture (Chicago 1988), pp 220-241.

Daniel R. Coquillette, "Legal Ideology and Incorporation I: The English
Civilian Writers 1523-1607", Boston University Law Review 61 (1981),
pp.1-89

R. H. Helmholz, Roman Canon Law in Reformation England (Cambridge 1990)

K. Pennington, The Prince and the Law 1200-1600: Sovereignty and Rights
in the Western Legal Tradition (Berkeley 1993)

Brian Tierney, Religion, law, and the growth of constitutional thought
1150-1650 (Cambridge 1982)

John Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights (Oxford 1980); Natural Law
(New York 1993)

Terry Nardin, Law, Morality, and the Relations of States (Princeton
1983)

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (Harmondsworth 1977)

Charles R. Beitz, Political Theory and International Relations
(Princeton 1979)

martin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nora Kreimer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 31 Jan 2003 08:34:22 -0300
Subject: 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

The question Martin Steward has asked regarding differences will be
answered by a deeper and more detailed reading of the play. There are
the highly xenophobic comments exchanged between Portia and Nerissa in
I, ii regarding all suitors of foreign origin, as Portia's own comment
on the Prince of Morocco may serve by way of an example.

Por.  A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains: go.   72
Let all of his complexion choose me so,
                                                            ( II, vii )

Also, there is a servant who prefers to work for a poor gentile rather
than stay with a rich Jew in II, ii

  Laun.  Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew my
master. The fiend is at mine elbow, and tempts me, saying to me, 'Gobbo,
Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot,' or 'good Gobbo,' or 'good Launcelot
Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away.' My conscience says,
'No; take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo;' or, as
aforesaid, 'honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy
heels.' Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack: 'Via!' says the
fiend; 'away!' says the fiend; 'for the heavens, rouse up a brave mind,'
says the fiend, 'and run.' Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck
of my heart, says very wisely to me, 'My honest friend Launcelot, being
an honest man's son,'-or rather an honest woman's son;-for, indeed, my
father did something smack, something grow to, he had a kind of
taste;-well, my conscience says, 'Launcelot, budge not.' 'Budge,' says
the fiend. 'Budge not,' says my conscience. 'Conscience, ' say I, 'you
counsel well;' 'fiend,' say I, 'you counsel well:' to be ruled by my
conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master, who, God bless the
mark! is a kind of devil; and, to run away from the Jew, I should be
ruled by the fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil himself.
Certainly, the Jew is the very devil incarnal; and, in my conscience, my
conscience is but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel me to
stay with the Jew.  The fiend gives the more friendly counsel: I will
run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment; I will run.

If I serve not him, I will run as far as God has any ground. O rare
fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I am a Jew, if I serve
the Jew any longer.   30

This is even surprising to Bassanio who comments on this change of
masters. In the same scene

  Bass.  I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd thy suit:
Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,   48
And hath preferr'd thee, if it be preferment
To leave a rich Jew's service, to become
The follower of so poor a gentleman.

The great centre of this play is precisely differences. Treated very
broadly, let's admit, but I see no great differences between these
comments and Iago's own prejudices regarding a certain Florentine and
the Moor.  Let Shakespeare shine through his lines first, then put
forward ideas on the subject of differences at the time of Elizabeth, in
which I am personally very interested, and would like to receive
information through private mail if Martin thinks it's more pertinent.

Regards,
Nora Kreimer
Profesora Titular de Literatura Inglesa

_______________________________________________________________
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.