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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Re: WT - Act V scene 2
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0483  Thursday, 13 March 2003

From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 Mar 2003 17:35:28 GMT0BST
Subject: 14.0466 Re: WT - Act V scene 2
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0466 Re: WT - Act V scene 2

I'm sure those who have suggested that the first reconciliation is
reported in order not to detract from the major wonder of Hermione's
'resurrection' are right.  But it's perhaps worth remarking that in the
four late romances Shakespeare seems consciously to be experimenting
with different ways of staging these moments of restoration and
reconciliation.  Cymbeline's enormously long recognition scene - though
it works much better in the theatre than one might anticipate from
reading - was an attempt to integrate successive revelations; Winter's
Tale takes a different dramatic line by separating them; The Tempest
produces a final scene which, in my view at least, deliberately seeks to
undermine each of its reconciliations, affording none the room to
breathe and expand.  But then, as Terence Cave observes in his excellent
book, Recognitions: 'We never know whether to take anagnorisis
seriously.  We can't answer the question "when is a parody not a
parody?"'  Recognition scenes are always on a knife-edge (think of the
moment when the Abbess recognises Egeon as her long-lost husband in
Comedy of Errors - normally prompting hoots of laughter, but capable, as
Tim Supple's production demonstrated, of being as moving as the
recognition scenes in the late plays.)

David Lindley

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