2004

The Three Sons in Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0695  Tuesday, 16 March 2004

From:           Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Mar 2004 11:48:53 -0500
Subject:        The Three Sons in Hamlet

Of Rolland Banker's thesis that the original sin in *Hamlet* is
committed by Hamlet, Sr., J. Feldman asks:

"My question is: does not this conjecture miss the observation made by
Horatio that King Fortinbras was the instigator of the duel?"

No. Banker is right. This is a revenge play, and the overpowering
emotion of revenge does not proceed by logical rules. That Old Hamlet
defeated Old Fortinbras "fair and square" and also captured land the
same way means nothing to a young hothead like Fortinbras Jr. Revenge
proceeds from the overwhelming feeling of having been humiliated,
violated, disrespected, etc. Whether it was a fair fight means little to
those who feel this emotion.

Banker's observation is important because it allows us to see that in
important ways *Hamlet* is about the older vs. the younger generation.
The Ghost manipulates Hamlet; Polonius manipulates Laertes and Ophelia;
Old Norway blocks young Fortinbras; Claudius manipulates Laertes; and so
on. In many ways, the young are sacrificed by their elders, who wish to
control them, even from beyond the grave.

For me, the proof that Old Hamlet is evil resides in his willingness to
seek revenge by using his son. What good, loving father would sacrifice
his son's life and happiness to even an old score from beyond the grave?
Fathers and father figures are the source of tragedy in *Hamlet.*

Ed Taft

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1H4 and 2H4 Question...

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0694  Tuesday, 16 March 2004

From:           Ben Spiller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Mar 2004 13:16:40 -0000
Subject: 15.0678 1H4 and 2H4 Question...
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0678 1H4 and 2H4 Question...

Yes: parts one, two and three were condensed into Henry VI: House of
Lancaster and Henry VI: House of York.  Both are on video, as is the
entire ESC History Plays project; but it's difficult to get hold of them
as they've been deleted now (I got mine through Amazon Marketplace).
Anyway, another conflation of the three parts of Henry VI can be found
in Rose Rage by Ed Hall and Roger Warren.  It's published by Oberon
Books and also changes the trilogy into a two-part story (but very
differently to the ESC).  This isn't available on video as far as I
know.  I know what I've said has nothing to do with the two parts of
Henry IV, but I took the lead from James Doyle's comment on ESC's
treatment of Henry VI and couldn't resist emptying my brain of some
related gossip.

All the best,
Ben.

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Italian Women Tumblers of 1574

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0692  Tuesday, 16 March 2004

From:           Natalie Bennett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Mar 2004 12:27:38 -0000
Subject:        Italian Women Tumblers of 1574

Below is part of a footnote from "The Elizabethan Stage," E.K. Chambers
1923.

".... Women only began to act regularly at the Restoration ... The
exceptions are, I think, such as prove the rule; private plays such as
Hymen's Triumph, Venner gulling show of England's Joy, the Italian
tumblers of 1574, the virago Moll Frith at the Fortune (cf. ch. xxiii,
s.v. Dekker, Roaring Girl). ...."

I've got nowhere in trying to track down the "Italian tumblers", which
seems like a very specific reference, and was wondering if anyone had
any idea of the source.

All assistance most gratefully received!

Thanks,
Natalie

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"Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0693  Tuesday, 16 March 2004

[1]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 Mar 2004 11:41:03 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 Mar 2004 12:59:10 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Peter Groves <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 15:43:43 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Mar 2004 11:41:03 -0500
Subject: 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

I'd like to second Ivan Lupic's sensible ripost[e] to the linguistic
purists.  I'd be interested to know whether they all either read and
teach Homer and Dostoevsky in Greek and Russian or not at all.  Beyond
that, let me briefly summarize some points, mostly made many times in
the history of this list:

(1)  We cannot with any confidence recapture the sounds of spoken early
modern English, so the auditory dimension of these plays is always
already corrupt.

(2)  We cannot with any confidence know just where to find "Shakespeare"
in the printed texts around which this argument swirls, and which
represent the contributions of other writers, other actors, scribes,
theatrical book-holders, censors, printers, type-setters, book-sellers,
and three centuries of commercial and academic editors.

(3)  The source-texts for these texts sometimes appear in multiple
forms: how do we choose among them -  which is "Shakespeare"?

(4)  Scholars who have spent their professional lives studying these
texts and their contexts cannot with confidence assert that they
understand the significations of all the words and phrases and lines and
speeches and gestures and actions of the plays.  Can they be said to
know "Shakespeare"?

(5)  The plays are rarely produced uncut.  At what point does
"Shakespeare" disappear?  I think of the character in *Monty Python and
the Holy Grail* who loses limb after limb, but fights on.  At what point
is he no longer himself?  That is, I would liken the cutting of some
words and phrases and lines and speeches or the cutting or combining of
minor characters to the cutting of hair or nails, ears, noses (I've seen
something like 18 productions of *Othello*: I have never seen the Clown
on stage); deeper cuts to the loss of hands and feet; deeper yet to the
loss of arms and legs: at what point does "Shakespeare" become something
else?  In this analogy the replacement of an obscure or confusing early
modern word is like cosmetic surgery: does a nose job or a tummy tuck
change a personal identity?  I am willing to bet large money that if I
were to find 30 people at the SAA meeting in New Orleans who had not
seen any of the Russian animated versions of Shakespeare (which run
about 30 minutes each), put them in a room, and and begin to screen one
of the films with the titles and subtitles removed, all 30 would be able
to say within less than a minute that they were watching *The Tempest*.
  At what point does "Shakespeare" appear or disappear?

All things being equal we'd like to think that students are eager to do
hard work and that teachers have the time, energy, patience,
imagination, and training to help their pupils master these difficult
and demanding texts in all their linguistic, theatrical, and historical
complexity.  Should they not try at all if they cannot do it all?  I
don't think so.

David Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Mar 2004 12:59:10 -0600
Subject: 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

Perhaps I haven't followed this thread as carefully as I should have,
but Ivan Lupic's defense of studying Shakespeare in translation strikes
me as quite surprising.

If you come to the study of Shakespeare through a careful study of his
sonnets and non-dramatic poetry, you gain an appreciation for his
powerful skill with language -- rhyme, assonance, alliteration, rhythm,
newly-coined words, puzzling syntax and all -- the ways in which
Shakespeare created auditory art with words.  A translation to another
language, however well-written, is in many ways a new poem in another
language.

Naturally, Shakespeare's dramatic works also involve plot, narrative,
pacing, blocking, characterizations and so on, many of which can be
reflected in a translation -- even, as some have tried, a "translation"
to more prurient English, or more modern English, depending upon the
tastes of the day.  But translations are not complete, and certainly not
superior, for those who seek to study "Shakespeare."

If "Shakespeare without language is like a movie without sound," says
Lupic, "the superior quality of many a silent film gives me comfort."
Silent films offer a false analogy.  The accurate comparison should be
to a modern film with the soundtrack re-dubbed in another language.  In
comparison to which a silent film would give me comfort, too!

Yours,
Ken

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 15:43:43 +1100
Subject: 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0683 "Beware March 15!" but No Fear Shakespeare

It is not very clear to me why Ivan Lupic should feel personally
affronted by the fact that (as Valery remarked) poetry is that which is
lost in translation: even the best translations of Shakespeare's
dramatic poetry are (as one would expect) grossly impoverished (the same
is true of Virgil, Dante, Racine [and, I assume, of Pushkin, Li Po
...]).  What is extraordinary about Shakespeare's plays is their
demonstrated ability to survive and prosper in these impoverished
circumstances.

Peter Groves
Monash University

_______________________________________________________________
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.
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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Whence the Wince? Kerry as Hamlet, Bush as Hal

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0691  Monday, 15 March 2004

From:           Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 12 Mar 2004 11:22:35 -0500
Subject:        Whence the Wince? Kerry as Hamlet, Bush as Hal

Two points of interest (perhaps):

1. Adlai Stevenson took a little time to make up his mind whether or not
to run for president in 1952, and the press jumped on him, dubbing him
"the Hamlet of the Hudson." It ruined his image by comparison to the
decisive Eisenhower, who had won the war in Europe. I doubt if Stevenson
would have beaten Ike anyway, but whatever chance he had was lost once
he was portrayed as an indecisive, over-intellectual weakling.

2. Throughout his entire political career, Bush has benefited from his
opponents underestimating him. Just ask Anne Richards.  Moreover, he has
created his own myth: once a slave to drink, frivolity (and some say,
drugs), he turned his life around in an instant when he found religion,
and then stepped out of the phone booth, displayed the giant B on his
chest, and began to fight from that time on for truth, justice, and the
American way.

Sound like someone out of the pages of 1H4?

Ed Taft

_______________________________________________________________
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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