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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: One Name, Two Personages
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0780  Friday, 25 April 2003

[1]     From:   Bruce Young <
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        Date:   Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 08:44:27 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0765 Re: One Name, Two Personages

[2]     From:   Michael McClintock <
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        Date:   Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 10:52:26 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0765 Re: One Name, Two Personages

[3]     From:   David Wallace <
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        Date:   Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 10:16:43 -0700
        Subj:   Re: One name, two personages


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Young <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 08:44:27 -0600
Subject: 14.0765 Re: One Name, Two Personages
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0765 Re: One Name, Two Personages

I can think of a few examples that haven't been mentioned yet, probably
because they're so obvious: the two Hamlets in the play of the same
name, as well as the two Fortinbrases (one of whom doesn't appear on
stage).  Coriolanus and his son are both named Martius.  And in
*Macbeth* there are two Siwards.

Titles and family names sometimes get used for different characters:
Romeo is called Montague at times; Gloucester is used for Edmund as well
as his father.  And then (returning to given names) there are the two
Henrys in both parts of *Henry IV* (plus two Henry Percys in part 1) and
a number of Henrys, Johns, Williams, Edwards, Richards, and Thomases in
the other history plays.

Of course, these like-named characters are distinguished from each other
(old Hamlet, old Fortinbras, young Siward, etc.), but so are the two
Jaqueses in *As You Like It* (one is Jaques de Boys).

Another somewhat different case involves Launcelot Gobbo and Old Gobbo.
I wonder if we are to imagine Old Gobbo was named "Launcelot" too?

Another interesting example reveals the dangers of repeating names: the
two Cinnas in *Julius Caesar*.  Characters in the play confuse the two,
killing Cinna the poet instead of Cinna the conspirator.

Obviously the naming of characters is not a trivial matter.

Bruce Young

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael McClintock <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 10:52:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 14.0765 Re: One Name, Two Personages
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0765 Re: One Name, Two Personages

Since no one has mentioned them so far:

Hamlet and Hamlet and Fortinbras and Fortinbras; and from Richard III,
Hastings (the Lord) and Hastings (the Pursuivant), who meet each other
in 3.2.

Michael McClintock
McKendree College

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wallace <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 10:16:43 -0700
Subject:        Re: One name, two personages

Dana Shillings says he is stumped why anyone would give twins the same
name in "Errors". Egeon touches on that point in 1.1.125ff  - explaining
that both his surviving son, Antipholus, and his son's servant, Dromio,
are "reft of (their) brother(s), but retained (their) name(s)". I think
we are invited to presume that Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse adopted
their twin brothers' names by way of commemorating their loss.

David Wallace

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