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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Banned Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0367  Monday, 9 February 2004

[1]     From:   Bruce Fenton <
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        Date:   Friday, 6 Feb 2004 08:20:46 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0343 Banned Shakespeare

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 6 Feb 2004 10:39:03 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0326 Banned Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Matthew Baynham <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Feb 2004 09:38:41 -0000
        Subj:   Banned Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Fenton <
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Date:           Friday, 6 Feb 2004 08:20:46 EST
Subject: 15.0343 Banned Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0343 Banned Shakespeare

What an odd complaint

Reminds me, I don't think I've ever thanked my parents for being
"excessively heterosexual" many years ago.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 6 Feb 2004 10:39:03 -0600
Subject: 15.0326 Banned Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0326 Banned Shakespeare

Martin Steward, responding to the "excessively heterosexual" thread,
offers this opinion of *Romeo and Juliet*:

 >In R&J, heterosexual love and its cultural forms are elevated to such a

degree that even the suicides of two young people cannot knock them down
- indeed, it is suggested that heterosexual love offers a universal
panacea for all social ills and conflicts.

 >I can understand how that might be called "excessive".

The second point I would simply disagree with, but I realize that my
disagreement may have more to do with how I understand the key words
("universal panacea," "social ills," and "[social] conflicts") than with
a different reading of the text.

The first point troubles me quite otherwise, as it seems to say that the
play is more about heterosexuality than love, with the implicit
suggestion that non-heterosexual love could not have the same intensity,
bad judgment, and tragic results. This does not square with my, albeit
limited, knowledge of non-heterosexual love.

To put it another way: if you kept the main characters, but made the two
leads gay, and deleted the elements of dynastic marital concerns,
wouldn't you have roughly the same story? I realize the marriage element
is crucial to some of the specific plot events, but not to the intensity
of the love, the fact that the love is forbidden, the killing of
Mercutio by Tybalt and Tybalt by Romeo, the flight of Romeo, and the
sequential suicide of the two lovers.

Note, please, that I say "roughly the same story."

Still, the parts that I list above strike me as the core of the play. To
them the sexual orientation of the characters is incidental.

Cheers,
don

PS: I think you would have more trouble converting the core play into a
lesbian story simply because women are much less prone to violence than
their testosterone-driven fellow humans.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Baynham <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Feb 2004 09:38:41 -0000
Subject:        Banned Shakespeare

I don't quite see the point of the Head Teacher who banned R+J because
it was excessively hetero: but I wonder if any Head Teacher in a
multicultural area of Britain (or anywhere else) has suggested that R+J
takes an excessively negative view of arranged marriage as contrasted to
romantic/erotic choice made by young people themselves. (This question
has actually just arisen in a teaching context.)

Matthew Baynham

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