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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1875  Monday, 29 September 2003

[1]     From:   Lea Luecking Frost <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Sep 2003 10:49:02 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Sep 2003 12:11:57 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

[3]     From:   Mary Rosenberg <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Sep 2003 13:26:04 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1861 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

[4]     From:   Arthur Lindley <
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        Date:   Saturday, 27 Sep 2003 08:57:22 +0800 (SGT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

[5]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Sep 2003 12:58:31 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lea Luecking Frost <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Sep 2003 10:49:02 -0500
Subject: 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

Warwick in the Henry VI plays refers to himself in the third person
fairly often, enough for it to be rather noticeable:

Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost;
That Maine which by main force Warwick did win,
And would have kept so long as breath did last!
(2H6 1.1.206-8)

My heart assures me that the Earl of Warwick
Shall one day make the Duke of York a king.
(2H6 2.2.78-9)

Proud northern lord, Clifford of Cumberland,
Warwick is hoarse with calling thee to arms.
(2H6 5.2.6-7)

Neither the king, nor he that loves him best,
The proudest he that holds up Lancaster,
Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shake his bells.
(3H6 1.1.45-7)

Nay, rather, wilt thou draw thy forces hence,
Confess who set thee up and pluck'd thee own,
Call Warwick patron and be penitent,
And thou shalt still remain the Duke of York?
(3H6 5.1.25-8)

Thou art no Atlas for so great a weight:
And weakling, Warwick takes his gift again;
And Henry is my king, Warwick his subject.
(3H6 5.1.36-8)

For who lived king, but I could dig his grave?
And who durst mine when Warwick bent his brow?
(3H6 5.2.21-2)

Fly, lords, and save yourselves; for Warwick bids
You all farewell to meet in heaven.
(3H6 5.2.48-9)

That's not even all of them -- I left out a few.

York refers to himself in third person a few times, too, now that I
think of it...and, Margaret does it once or twice, too.

And of course (switching tetralogies now) we can't possibly forget
Richard II's breakdown:

What must the King do now? Must he submit?
The King shall do it: must he be deposed?
The King shall be contented. Must he lose
The name of king? a God's name, let it go...

Regards,
Lea

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Sep 2003 12:11:57 -0400
Subject: 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

>In "Richard III," Richard says, "Richard loves Richard."(V, 3), and
>somewhere in this area of the play, "Richard's himself again."

"Conscience avaunt, Richard's himself again" is a Colley Cibber
addition. A damn good one I think.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Rosenberg <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Sep 2003 13:26:04 -0700
Subject: 14.1861 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1861 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

In each of Shakespeare's major tragedies the central figure feels the
experiences he has lived through have somehow caused him to lose touch
with his true "self" - that his identity has been threatened. Sometimes,
like Hamlet, he will excuse his actions on the grounds that it was not
the real "self" who committed such deeds: but all, at some moment of
anguish, speak of themselves in the third person.

So Othello:   Man but a rush against Othello's breast
                 And he retires. Where should Othello go?  (V,ii,270-1)

                 That's he that was Othello; here I am.
(V,ii,284)

                 Othello's occupation's gone! (III,iii,357)

(line references taken from the New Cambridge Shakespeare, edited by
Neilson and Hill)

So King Lear:  Doth any here know me? This is not Lear.
                Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
                Either his notion weakens, his discernings
                Are lethargied - Ha! waking? 'Tis not so.
                Who is it that can tell me who I am?   (I,iv,246-250)

(And Edgar, in his disguise: "Edgar I nothing am." (II,iii,21)

So Macbeth:   Rebellion's head, rise never till the wood
                Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth
                Shall live the lease of nature ...   (IV,i,97-99)

(Though Macbeth is something of a different case, because his name rings
through the play in the prophecies of the Witches and he is relying on
the supernatural identity he has been promised)

So, too, Antony in Antony and Cleopatra:
                                Now, gods and devils!
                Authority melts from me. ... Have you no ears? I am
                Antony yet.  (III,xiii, 88-93)

                                Alack, our terrene moon
                Is now eclisps'd, and it portends alone
                The fall of Antony.
                                            Here I am Antony;
                Yet cannot hold this visible shape ... (IV,xiv,13-14)

                Not Caesar's valour hath o'erthrown Antony,
                But Antony's hath triumph'd on itself.  (IV,xv,14-15)

I am familiar with this pattern through my husband (Marvin Rosenberg)'s
books - The Masks of Hamlet, Lear, Macbeth and Othello. I don't know if
there has been any other study of this phenomenon.

I hope this may be helpful.

Mary Rosenberg

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Lindley <
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Date:           Saturday, 27 Sep 2003 08:57:22 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

Add to the list Octavius in A&C, who has the tendency to talk as if he
were literally one of his own admirers: 'Caesar's no merchant to make
prize with you/Of things that merchants sold' (5.2.183-4).  My
impression is that the device usually occurs in moments like Hamlet's
specious apology to Laertes when the speaker is being palpably phony.

Arthur Lindley

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Sep 2003 12:58:31 +0100
Subject: 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1862 Addressing Self as 2nd Or 3rd Person

>In "Richard III," Richard says, "Richard loves Richard."(V, 3), and
>somewhere in this area of the play, "Richard's himself again."
>
>L. Swilley

The second reference isn't Shakespeare, but from Colley Cibber's
adaptation:

        Perish that thought:  No, never be it said,
        That Fate it self could awe the Soul of Richard.
        Hence, Babling dreams, you threaten here in vain:
        Conscience avant;  Richard's himself again.
             Hark! the shrill Trumpet sounds, to Horse: Away!
             My Soul's in Arms, and eager for the Fray.

http://www.r3.org/bookcase/cibber1.html

... for a complete online text.

(Robert Lowell has: 'Is Richard now himself again?' as line 11 of  "Home
After Three Months Away".)

Robin Hamilton

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