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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: December ::
Upward Mobility
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2396  Thursday, 18 December 2003

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 13:11:21 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2382 Upward Mobility

[2]     From:   SL Kasten <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 22:51:00 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2374 Rhyming Couplets in "All's Well" (irrebutable
presumption

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 14:05:19 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2382 Upward Mobility

[4]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Dec 2003 11:58:13 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2382 Upward Mobility


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 13:11:21 -0500
Subject: 14.2382 Upward Mobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2382 Upward Mobility

>Actually, Falconbridge is downwardly mobile.  He starts
>out as the
>acknowledged heir of a gentleman.

>No, it's disputed. That's why he and his brother come to John's
>court--for a ruling.

He won.  He was "acknowledged heir" by the king, which is all that
counts.

>He then concedes his bastardy, thus
>forsaking both his material
>inheritance and his social status.
>
>No, he is immediately acknowledged as Richard I's son, receives a
>knighthood and becomes a major court figure.

That and 10 pounds would get him a nice horse and suit of armor.  The
point is that, to Robert, being regarded as Coeur do Leon's son is worth
the material and social diminution.  It is questionable that to anyone
else a landless hanger-on outranks a wealthy gentleman.

>In The Troublesome Reign he
>is also later made a Duke.

Hardly significant when we are discussing Shakespeare.  (I am not
inviting a discussion as to whether TR is by Shakespeare.)

>He ends both plays as the most powerful man
>in England.

Query?  Are we supposed to assume that Henry III will be governed by
Robert Faulconbridge?  The last few speeches look a little like sparring
between Salisbury and Robert over influence, and it seems that Salisbury
wins on points.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           SL Kasten <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 22:51:00 +0200
Subject: 14.2374 Rhyming Couplets in "All's Well" (irrebutable
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2374 Rhyming Couplets in "All's Well" (irrebutable
presumption)

Larry Weiss wondered

>WS correctly anticipates the 18th Century "irrebutable presumption" --
>Lord Mansfield's Rule --  that the child of a married woman is the child
>of her husband.  Does anyone know if the same rule prevailed in the
>early 13th Century and the late 16th Century?

Jewish practice based on the Talmud allows a widower to marry
immediately on the death of a spouse. This is not surprising since by
Biblical law a man may take more than one wife. A widow, however, must
wait two months before marrying.  Should she marry sooner, a child born
after seven months could be the full term offspring of the dead husband
or a premature offspring of the new husband.  In either case the child
would generally be legitimate, but its indeterminate status (no solid
basis for presumption) would have serious ramifications in terms of
claims on the estate.  If the second marriage was a leviate marriage on
the basis of the dead husband having left no offspring the situation
would be more serious for the status of the child.

So "But two months dead, nay, not so much, not two;" would have
reflections beyond unseemly haste if this bit of Talmudic law had crept
into Christian practice.

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 14:05:19 -0800
Subject: 14.2382 Upward Mobility
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2382 Upward Mobility

Dear all,

I've enjoyed the discussion thus far, but perhaps we need a better
working definition of upward mobility.  It strikes me that we wouldn't
call somebody "upwardly mobile" if they either 1) just got lucky
(lottery winners aren't usually called upwardly mobile); or 2) rose
principally within their profession.  Somebody can become a really
excellent and well-respected army officer, clergyman or shepherd without
getting, or even wanting, a coat of arms or the deed to New Place in
Stratford.  Othello, for instance, seems to own no real property, and
his only title is professional.  I don't recall anyone mentioning
Cranmer's property or titles in Henry VIII.

Should definitions of upward mobility take into some account the
apparent motivations of the characters?  There's a subtle but real
difference between trying to rise in society (getting into the right
schools, cultivating the right accent) and just being very successful at
your job.  Politicians seem exemplary of the first, and professionals of
the second.

Yours, hopefully with some measure of professionalism,
Sean Lawrence.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Dec 2003 11:58:13 -0000
Subject: 14.2382 Upward Mobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2382 Upward Mobility

Clifford Stetner made the only reference to The Winter's Tale in this
thread, I think:

>The WT Shepherds *think* they'll be flayed alive
>for it [their attempted upward mobility]

'Clerk-like' Camillo seems like a bourgeois agent and his rise is
approved of by the play while the shepherds' is not because he is
honourable:

To do this deed [kill Polixenes],
Promotion follows. If I could find example
Of thousands that had struck anointed kings
And flourished after, I'd not do 't.
(1.2.357-60)

The shepherds, on the other hand, plan to throw off Perdita to save
their own skins.

Gabriel Egan

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