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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Determined to Be a Villain
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1878  Monday, 29 September 2003

[1]     From:   David Cohen <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Sep 2003 20:01:23 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1859 Determined to Be a Villain

[2]     From:   Kelley Costigan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 22:16:01 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1859 Determined to Be a Villain


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Cohen <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Sep 2003 20:01:23 -0500
Subject: 14.1859 Determined to Be a Villain
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1859 Determined to Be a Villain

Carol Barton (
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 ; Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 08:11:21
-0400) suggested that some of the commentary-I assume of the "ambiguous
words thread"- was showing too much ego and not enough matter.  Well,
yes, but I suggest that all discussion involves ego, and that the
matter, not the ego, is what really matters.  She also observed that
Graham Hall's comments on historians were to her completely
incomprehensible.  I had observed that his comments on psychopathology
and Shakespeare, while not incomprehensible lacked clarity.

I'd like to suggest to her and to Hall that some of us, while
appreciating dignified discussion in the best tradition delineated by
Jacques Barzun in his masterly and creepily prescient, "The House of
Intellect," also appreciate a bit of verbal wrestling.  But neither need
involve ad hominum insult, to wit: "Mr Small's philosophical meanderings
(14.1827)  . . .  are confused and erroneous" "Mr Cohen's condemnatory
meanderings (14.1847) . . .  are confused and erroneous."  If our
comments are so, fine, show how.  If not, then not.

Okay, ignoring all that, I simply made a few hopefully useful points
about respecting word-meanings and definitions, given the obvious
assumption one cannot deal responsibly with the psychopathology of some
of Shakespeare's characters if one cannot deal responsibly with
psychopathology.

As in life, so in the world of Shakespeare's plays, there really IS much
psychopathology in Shakespeare's plays and much to learn about it.
Moreover, to dismiss psychopathy as a major characteristic and likely
disorder in at least some of the major characters of the plays by
saying, "none [of Shakespeare's most interesting characters] ultimately
exhibit psychopathic tendencies," seems, well, to be diplomatic,
mistaken.

Mid-sentence, out of left field as it were, Hall also proposes to
consult obstetric colleagues about my "novel information on Macbeth's
caesarean birth."  While this extraordinary statement is neither
accurate nor relevant to the ambiguous-words thread, I'll reply.  What
novel information?  I have no information, novel or otherwise.  I merely
asked-playing along with the play-if Macduff was "of no woman born,"
what was he born of?  The phrase has a misleading double-sense meaning
that Macbeth complains of in Act 5, and I was curious to know others'
interpretation.

Caesarian birthing was irrelevant to the ambiguous-words thread.  Worse,
it seemed to  imply that a mere Shakespeare buff willing to offer a
contribution, even at the risk of having his errors exposed yet
hopefully corrected-I'm thinking of Feste in Twelfth Night V, i-has any
business offering something from a discipline outside that of
Shakespeare criticism, as if one can't be enamored of both.

David Cohen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kelley Costigan <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 22:16:01 +0100
Subject: 14.1859 Determined to Be a Villain
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1859 Determined to Be a Villain

Graham Hall writes:  'Perhaps it is. I shall forward his views on
psychology/psychiatry to my colleagues who are currently employed in
neuro-psychiatric centres once I have checked them against the notes I
made when I was reading the subject at university all those years ago -
as I will with my obstetric colleagues about his novel information on
Macbeth's caesarean birth.'

Just wanted to let him know that it was Macduff who was from his
mother's womb untimely ripped and not Macbeth, although I'm sure, deep
down he knows that and it was just a slip of the keys.

Take care,
Kelley Costigan
Blood & Thunder Theatre Company

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