2004

Psychology of Gertrude

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2461  Thursday, 1 January 2004

[1]     From:   Bill Lloyd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 09:07:10 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

[2]     From:   Stephen C. Rose <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 07:06:56 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

[3]     From:   David Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:59:46 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

[4]     From:   David Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 12:07:56 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

[5]     From:   Greg McSweeney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 15:21:39 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 09:07:10 EST
Subject: 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

I believe that an FA Crit is someone who has been trained at Sweet Fanny
Adams College which is located in picturesque Nuffingham. There students
learn FA about anything.

It is only an inference from the text, and not a necessary one, that
Hamlet be referring to miniatures of his father and his uncle. It has
also been staged with large portraits of each on the chamber wall-- I
believe there's an engraving of Betterton gesturing at such. Or Hamlet
could be conjuring up images for Gertude's mind's eye-- Look on this [a
gesture to the left], and on this [a gesture to the right], which would
tie in with the hallucinatory nature of his supposed madness.

Bill Lloyd

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen C. Rose <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 07:06:56 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

Annalisa is apposite I think.

The elder H is a successful warmonger and Claudius is crafty, murderous
and dissembling. Hamlet is most correct when he is trashing Denmark and
the fickleness of smiles.

I cannot believe that Gertrude was not attracted to Claudius prior to
the murder of the elder H. Nor even that C. was not merely ratcheting up
his hierarchical status but gaining a "legit" lover and helper.

It seems to me that G and C operate in synch and with great sympatico
style.  And that they are both worthy of Hamlet's scorn.

It is hard for me to tell if she is being honest with H in the
post-Polonius scene or simply creating some wiggle room to avoid being
similarly iced.

Finally, I believe C's brief final warning to G is perhaps the only
sincere caring note in his otherwise duplicitous dealings.

(I suppose his prayerful interlude will be cited as true penitence, but
I prefer to think of it as Shakespeare's acknowledgement that even
consummate criminals can have moments of self-transcendence.)

All the above subject to change! Best, S

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:59:46 -0600
Subject: 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

 >Gertrude's fertility is a one-time wonder.

Ha!  Great line, even more so when you understand the behavior-genetic
psychology that it represents.

David Cohen

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 12:07:56 -0600
Subject: 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

 >. . . I'm no psychology expert (and I'm not
 >sure what FA Crits are, those who give critiques of the fine arts?) but
 >it seems obvious to me that a son would idolize his father . . .

I'm a psychologist and I doubt most sons-especially sons in this day and
age-idolize their father, if your criterion for idolatry is H's level of
idealization, which is a bit much.  Even in the plays, where is such
idealization: in Hotspur, in Prince Hal, even in Richard (III)
Gloucester?  Incidentally, I agree with you on this: "Just for the
record, I don't think G was in on the murder, nor do I believe she was
unfaithful to King Hamlet...but after he was dead she willingly turned
to the big strong man who was there to take charge, as he swept her off
in a haze of newly awakened sensuality, lust and passion!"

David Cohen

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Greg McSweeney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 15:21:39 -0500
Subject: 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2455 Psychology of Gertrude

I teach _ Hamlet_ whenever I get the chance, and I'm always surprised
that on first reading, many students assume that Gertrude and Claudius
were engaged in an illicit affair before King Hamlet's death, and that
she was complicit in the King's murder. This is either not textual or at
worst ambiguous, and I see her marriage to Claudius as thematic or
structural, rather than part of the literal narrative. (The Fool's
disappearance from _Lear_ is similarly unexplained and dissatisfying,
and I think for the same reason.)

King Hamlet was a warrior; his solution to problems of foreign policy
was to assemble an army and attack. But just as his son is emblematic of
the modern intellect, so is Claudius; they both represent a break with
the pre-Renaissance model that the dead king embodied. In this sense,
Hamlet and his uncle are much more aligned than is the prince with his
father. The language of the play denies us a categorical answer to
Gertrude's culpability either in the murder or in the illicitness of her
relationship with Claudius; since Shakespeare created this ambiguity, we
must assume that he intended it. Therefore, our attention is diverted
from the literal to the symbolic: Gertrude is a transitional character.
She has been queen to a warlike, even tribal king, and now must fulfill
the same function in a marriage to a new kind of ruler, a master of
rhetoric whose triumphs result not from physical invasions, but rather
from relegating his dirty work to ambassadors and agents on a diplomatic
level--just as his nephew/son does.  This contributes to the Oedipal
reading of the play: the son is so unlike his father that the rivalry
simply never surfaced, but with the advent of the uncle as father, the
rivalry is between kind and kind, and can't be avoided.

Gertrude is unfairly accused, I think, of bovine docility, and any
murderous complicity on her part is simply unsupported in the text. She
doesn't fare well as a character because all we know of her is both
situationally and verbally local--she has no philosophical or universal
context. The worst that could be said of her, and even that
anachronistically, is that she lives in denial. Her first husband (we
assume he was the first) was a man of an age that is passing away; her
current husband is current in every sense: intellectual, sly,
articulate, and diplomatic--almost the doppelganger of her son. She
exists so that the closet scene can exist, so that we can enjoy the
irony of Hamlet extolling the virtues of his father while indicting the
man he so closely resembles.  Her motive for marrying Claudius is
structurally and thematically irrelevant, and so Shakespeare--with the
taste and concision of his maturity--rightly neglects to make it explicit.

Greg McSweeney

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Launce and Crab

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2460  Thursday, 1 January 2004

[1]     From:   Edward Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 09:35:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

[2]     From:   Nancy Charlton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 16:41:22 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

[3]     From:   Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:17:36 -0700
        Subj:   TG Rape Scene (was Launce and Crab)

[4]     From:   Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:29:19 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 09:35:18 -0500
Subject: 14.2454 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

Obviously, the possibilities with a fake dog -- or no dog -- are quite
wonderful.  But, having played Launce at the University of Wisconsin
when I was in grad school, I come down on the side of a live dog.  It
does not need to be trained.  It need only be friendly and, preferably,
passive.  My Crab was a young golden retriever owned by friends.  The
audience loved the dog.  My former undergraduate theatre director was in
the audience one night and thought that Lindy was a wonderfully trained dog.

Mainly, however, I had the greatest lesson in "in the moment" acting
that I had ever experienced.  It was "live" theatre at its best.  No
chance to "phone in" my performance, because Crab, who became quite
stage-struck, would always yawn, roll over, turn his sad eyes to me at
the most surprising moments.  Sometimes, when I was not looking at him,
I had to make instant adjustments in response to the howling laughter
from the audience, which I had not caused.  No matter what he did, the
text always allowed me to improvise my action around his antics.  It is
brilliantly written, so that the dog's actions can play either with or
against the text to create the humor.

Ed Pixley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy Charlton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 16:41:22 +0000
Subject: 14.2454 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

In September 2001 I reviewed a Two Gents production that featured a live
dog, and you can see it on the SHAKSPER web site:

SHK 12.2111  Wednesday, 5 September 2001

I enjoyed all the accounts today of different ways of doing this play.
Happy New Year to all.

Nancy Charlton

[Editor's Note: This review can be found at
http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2001/2101.html]

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:17:36 -0700
Subject:        TG Rape Scene (was Launce and Crab)

Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> writes,

 >More important, in my estimation, is what to do with the rape scene.

Well, yes there is that too -

But when I read that scene (V, iv) it seems so easy to make it
minimal...Proteus says he'll woo her like a soldier, by force; Sylvia
says "O, Heaven"; Pro says he'll force her to yield; Valentine enters
and stops it with an 11-line speech; Pro is filled with shame and guilt.
The short amount of time in which this scene occurs, the lack of stage
directions, and the speed with which Pro feels remorse seem to indicate
that there is no serious rape attack.

Also, Sylvia has already said, to the outlaws in V iii, "A thousand more
mischances than this one Have learned me how to brook this patiently."
This says to me that Sylvia is a girl who does not frighten easily by
brute force.  Since I teach in an inner city, highly integrated school,
I have no problem casting a Sylvia who has a basically sweet temperament
but can display at-tee-tood and can defend herself when necessary!

The bigger problem then becomes how to justify Valentine GIVING Sylvia
to Proteus; and WHY Sylvia has no more lines at all!

I'm thinking this could play if Val knows that Julia is in disguise, and
offers Sylvia as a way to help Julia reveal herself and hear Pro's true
feelings toward her.  I can see Sylvia TRYING to speak up, but Val
giving her a 'just-hold-it-a-minute-and-you'll-see-my-plan' sign.

But I'd appreciate any comments from the list on this subject too!

Thanks again,
Susan.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:29:19 -0700
Subject: 14.2454 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

WOW!  What a lot of responses - I am thrilled with everyone's
willingness to share, and especially intrigued by the seemingly 50-50
split of well-trained dogs vs. UNtrained dogs!

Thanks to all of you for your input.  I'll keep you posted on the
production when we get into it next fall.

Gratefully yours,
Susan.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Shakespeare for Kids

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2458  Thursday, 1 January 2004

From:           Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 12:05:31 -0700
Subject:        Shakespeare for Kids

I realize I'm way behind on replying to this thread, but I don't recall
anyone mentioning the series called "Sixty-Minute Shakespeare", from
Five Star Publications in Chandler, AZ.  These are terrific adaptations
by Cass Foster.

My son was in a children's theatre production of 12th Night using this
script, appearing at age 8 as Officer #2, and two years later still
quotes lines from Toby Belch, having loved listening from backstage and
getting all the jokes!

The back of the book states that this is "an ideal alternative for those
who lack the time and resources to tackle the unabridged versions...this
smooth-flowing and carefully edited series works well for fully-mounted
productions, scene work in the classroom, and the study of Shakespeare's
plays in general.  While the language is condensed, the integrity of
Shakespeare's writings is kept intact so students of the Bard can
experience the thrill of the story as well as the beauty of the verse
and prose."

Most titles are available from barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com, and the
series currently includes R&J, Midsummer, Hamlet, MacB, Much Ado, and
12th Night.  Although I do know Cass Foster, I do not benefit in any way
from the sale of these books...I simply provide the info as a courtesy
for a series that I believe is perfect for working with young people.

I am also impressed by a book called "Macbeth for Kids" by Lois Burdett,
published by Firefly Books, Ltd. with addresses in both Ontario, Canada
and Buffalo, NY.  I believe it is part of a series called "Shakespeare
Can Be Fun" but this is the only book I am aware of in the series. Ms
Burdett retells the story, in rhyming verse, and adds drawings and
commentary from her 2nd-6th grade students.

It is terrific fun as an intro to the story.  My son just lapped it up
in one sitting (chosen over the Gameboy, while waiting for me as I
rehearsed another play) [note to Jerry F:  yes I still drag him along to
rehearsals, but can you believe the little crab has matured into such a
self-possessed young man?].

Susan St. John

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Lukas Erne on Chettle & Greene

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2459  Thursday, 1 January 2004

From:           Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 18:21:11 EST
Subject:        Lukas Erne on Chettle & Greene

In his Appendix C Lukas Erne suggests that an opinion expressed by
Richard Dutton "depends on the questionable belief that Chettle's
apology in _Kind-Hartes Dreame_ was to Shakespeare" (259).
In an earlier chapter Erne alludes to the same issue:

    Biographers have liked to believe that Chettle's reference of 1592 to
    a playwright that is esteemed by "diuers of worship" and of whom
    he praises the "facetious grace in writting" is to Shakespeare,
    though it seems more likely that the reference is in fact to Peele.
    Earlier the same year, Greene had placed Shakespeare among the
    players, the "rude grooms, . . ." (67)

Erne's 1998 _English Studies_ article very ably restates the case that
Chettle referred not to Shakespeare but to George Peele as the
apo(lo)gee playwright slandered in _Groatsworth of Wit_. Scholars have
been more than reluctant to cede that probability but Erne's opinion
will no doubt prevail.

Yet Erne commits a nearly identical oversight when he repeatedly refers
to "Greene's attack on Shakespeare" in Groatsworth (2-5).  Modern
scholarship has caught up to the ancient opinion that Henry Chettle --
not Greene -- was responsible for Groatsworth.  Nashe, Chauncey Sanders,
Warren Austin, Groatsworth editor D. Allen Carroll, and John Jowett all
argue or acknowledge the convincing case against Chettle, who admitted
the manuscript was in his hand, and who was saddled with its
responsibility by the publisher.

When Nashe called GW a "lying pamphlet," I'm inclined to think he knew
what he was talking about, though he lacked our 400-year advantage in
hindsight. Sanders laid out the devastating case long ago and Austin's
truly groundbreaking early computer comparison of Greene's and Chettle's
usage is convincing. So why doesn't Erne mention even the possibility
that Greene had no part in the attack on Shakespeare? Carroll makes
Chettle's authorship the centerpiece of his introduction: Erne must be
aware of the issue.  A cynic may suppose that Dutton was no less remiss
than Erne, if each felt obliged to make a point at the expense of accuracy.

Nevertheless, these fundamental counters to the tradition of GW will one
day cause a general reevaluation of the first reference to Shakespeare.
Erne missed a chance to take another step forward, though I don't mean
this to be a significant objection to Erne's book.

Gerald E. Downs

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Bartolozzi Engravings

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2457  Thursday, 1 January 2004

From:           Thomas Larque <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 15:43:06 -0000
Subject: 14.2452 Bartolozzi Engravings
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2452 Bartolozzi Engravings

 >Currently on eBay under the search criteria [Francesco] Bartolozzi, a
 >seller, lonsom719, is auctioning what he/she claims are two Bartolozzi
 >engravings of scenes from Shakespeare; the seller does not indicate why
 >he/she believes the scenes are Shakespearean. The engravings do not
 >bring immediately to mind (for me) any moments from the plays.

The first picture
(http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3649645898&category=1016
9), if it is Shakespearean - which it quite probably isn't, might just
be the murder of Banquo, with Fleance running away in the background.

The second picture
(http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3649646625&category=1016
9 ), however, seems to show the same men engaged in the same murder from
a different angle (at least the long haired man seems to be the same),
and this time the long haired murderer from the earlier picture is
playing the inactive role, possibly gathering money at a gaming table
while the others kill.  I can't think of a Shakespearean scene that
would explain this one offhand (although perhaps others might) but I
suppose it might be that the artist is using the same models, rather
than the same characters, to stage two different murders.

I suppose to some people any "olde worlde" costumes look like Shakespeare.

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

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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