Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0813  Tuesday, 29 April 2003

[1]     From:   David Lindley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 28 Apr 2003 16:13:47 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"

[2]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 28 Apr 2003 15:01:01 -0300
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"

[3]     From:   Markus Marti <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Apr 2003 01:21:43 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 28 Apr 2003 16:13:47 GMT0BST
Subject: 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"

Isn't the most interesting thing about many Shakespeare soliloquies that
they are clearly speeches not merely for anyone on stage to overhear,
but directly spoken to the theatre audience, and expecting them to be
directly involved in the act of reception?  'To be' seems to me exactly
a speech of this kind.

David Lindley
University of Leeds

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 28 Apr 2003 15:01:01 -0300
Subject: 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"

For what it's worth, I've always felt that soliloquies are primarily
speeches addressed to the audience.  There is some textual evidence for
this, such as Iago anticipating and responding to the audience's hatred
of him:

        And what's he then that says I play the villain?
        When this advice is free I give and honest,
        Probal to thinking and indeed the course
        To win the Moor again?

But mostly I base my view on my experience in the theatre. As an actor,
director and audience member (amateur in all three), I've found that
soliloquies invariably work better when they are spoken directly to the
crowd.

t.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Markus Marti <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Apr 2003 01:21:43 +0200
Subject: 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0804 Hirsh and "To Be"

>Shakespeare soliloquies are for all on the stage
>to hear

Why else should so many characters hide just to WATCH Hamlet think? And
why should Hamlet say "soft you now, the fair Ophelia", unless his
spoken "thoughts" up to "now" had been much louder than his usual way of
speaking?

The question would then rather be (or not be?) whether Hamlet is aware
that his thoughts are overheard. And, if he were aware of this, whether
he could then just be play-acting, pretending? Whether characters are
allowed to LIE in soliloquies, or whether - by convention - soliloquies
(overheard or not) must always render the TRUE thoughts of a character?
I think they should (= rule of the game), they should enable both the
audience and other characters to "know" certain things for certain. And
yet, I would say: let us leave it to the director (or the actors) to
decide. Conventions are there to be broken.

Hamlet's soliloquies are somehow special because they imitate thought
processes. They seem to oscillate between an older and a newer
convention, or rather: due to their special quality, their
interpretation as "interior monologues" might actually have led to the
more modern convention of monologues as something like an "aside".

Another, even more private "soliloquy" in this play, Claudius' prayer in
3.3, is overheard by Hamlet. Is Claudius stupid? If I had killed
someone, I wouldn't confess it so loud - or I would at least make sure
that all the doors were closed and that the audience had left the
theatre. Claudius is not stupid, but the audience and Hamlet need to
have certainty at this point.

And - in another play - if I were Malvolio, I would not "think" and read
aloud in a public park. A "real" Malvolio would certainly not make such
a fool of himself, but for the sake of the comic plot and for everybody
else's benefit he has to.

But soft, who comes? ...? I'd better finish this monologue.

Markus Marti

_______________________________________________________________
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.