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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Gary Taylor's Tragedy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0492  Friday, 20 February 2004

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Feb 2004 08:43:52 -0500
        Subj:   Gary Taylor's Tragedy

[2]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Feb 2004 14:00:18 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0482 Gary Taylor's Tragedy

[3]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Feb 2004 14:22:27 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0461 Gary Taylor's Tragedy

[4]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Feb 2004 15:01:26 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0482 Gary Taylor's Tragedy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Feb 2004 08:43:52 -0500
Subject:        Gary Taylor's Tragedy

Two quick postscripts on some recent posts in this thread:

1. A notion of feminist tragedy is explicit in the work of both Webster
and Ford, near contemporaries of Shakespeare.
2. Coriolanus and Hotspur clearly show the dangers of
over-masculinization. Macbeth and Lear fall into much the same category.

I wouldn't be so quick to say what was "available" and "not available"
to Shakespeare. Sure, he didn't envision women pursuing careers -
whoops! That's wrong too: Queen Elizabeth and Cleopatra. Generally, it's
best to assume that Renaissance artists were just as smart and observant
as we are - maybe a whole lot more so.

Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Feb 2004 14:00:18 -0000
Subject: 15.0482 Gary Taylor's Tragedy
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0482 Gary Taylor's Tragedy

 >I am interested
 >in Thomas Larque's use of the expression 'outside agencies'.  Does he
 >mean other men?  That's what the statistics show us: that violence is,
 >on the whole, perpetrated by men - sometimes on themselves, sometimes on
 >other men, sometimes on women, sometimes on children.  Shakespearean
 >tragedy truly reflects these statistics.

That's certainly true.  Most violence is committed by men.  I really
hope, however, that Kathy Dent is not so deluded as to believe that this
is reason to argue that male victims of violence should be ignored (as
they generally are) or even that they should be considered routinely as
guilty as those who kill or injure them, nor reason to believe that
women do not commit violent acts (which they do) or that they should be
less seriously punished than men when they commit these acts.

If Kathy Dent is willing to accept one side of the equation (men as most
common violent aggressors) then she should also accept the other (men as
most common victims of violence).  Anything else would be simple-minded
and sexist, and I'm sure Kathy would be the first to oppose such
attitudes if they were directed towards women.

Thomas Larque.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Feb 2004 14:22:27 -0000
Subject: 15.0461 Gary Taylor's Tragedy
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0461 Gary Taylor's Tragedy

I'm not sure that I'm interested in Gary Taylor's personal problems
(mainly because they're of no interest to anyone except Gary Taylor): or
am I mistaken in thinking that Shaksper has now become a talking cure.
The Guardian has occupied this position for some time.  Is this the
virus that you've been warning us about Hardy?

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Feb 2004 15:01:26 -0000
Subject: 15.0482 Gary Taylor's Tragedy
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0482 Gary Taylor's Tragedy

Perhaps I should also make the rather obvious point that although most
violence is committed by men, most men are not violent.  A larger
proportion of men than women are victims of unmotivated or poorly
motivated attacks, so more innocent victims of violence are men rather
than women (including those hurt in unmotivated stranger attacks), as
well as more implicated victims of violence (such as those injured or
killed during deliberately arranged fights between rival gangs).

According to the British government's National Statistics agency
"Domestic violence is the only category of violence where the risks for
women are higher than for men".  It is not entirely clear whether rape
is included in the categories of violence in which men are more likely
to be victims, but US statistics suggest that the figures are very close
(1 in 4 women raped or sexually assaulted during their lives, compared
to 1 in 5 men) and these figures may not take account of massive
under-reporting of sexual assaults on men (although many women fail to
report rapes or sexual assaults, they are currently still far more
likely to do so - and to receive a sympathetic response if they do so -
than men).

To bring this back to Shakespeare, Shakespeare certainly recognises that
a minority of those involved or implicated in violence are women (Queen
Margaret, Lady Macbeth, Goneril and Regan) and that these women can
attack people of various ages and either gender.  He also follows
reality in making most victims of violence men, as Taylor suggests, and
most violent aggressors men, as Kathy Dent points out they are.  Whether
this is an attempt to follow reality, or just to tell good stories using
the resources available to a Renaissance dramatist is debateable, but
Shakespeare is certainly not as one-sided in his portrayal of violence
and victimhood as those who would pretend that all men are almost always
violent aggressors or that almost all innocent victims of violence are
women.

Thomas Larque.
"Shakespeare and His Critics"       "British Shakespeare Association"
http://shakespearean.org.uk           http://britishshakespeare.ws

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