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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0897  Monday, 19 April 2004

[1]     From:   Hugh Davis <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Apr 2004 08:16:38 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0889 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Apr 2004 10:18:03 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0889 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Davis <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Apr 2004 08:16:38 -0400
Subject: 15.0889 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0889 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon

High school students of mine compared Agamemnon and Menelaus' war
against Troy to Bush and Cheney, seeing Helen as the "WMD" which aren't
the real reason for going to war. Given the idea that Helen is a
troublesome and troublemaking figure in T&C and some Greek plays, I
thought it interesting these students shoved her to the background.

Hugh

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Apr 2004 10:18:03 -0700
Subject: 15.0889 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0889 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon

Dan Smith writes,

 >However, surely the point is that the major
 >fighting "heroes" in Shakespeare (Macbeth, Othello, Achilles) do cross
 >that line and valour doesn't equal virtue in Shakespeare.

I suppose that my quibble with a lot of recent criticism is the
implication that valourlessness, being unwilling to fight for anything,
equates with virtue, or that valour itself is condemned in the
condemnation of its exaggeration or misapplication by Macbeth or
Othello.  Perhaps this is true of public debate generally, where such
subtle distinctions are generally lost.  Nobody seems to be debating
whether the courage of soldiers is being squandered in Iraq, for
instance, since those who oppose the war are too ironic to embrace
valour as a positive virtue, while those who support it are too
uncritical to question their own righteousness.

What bothers me about this thread, similarly, is the tendency of
comparisons between Shakespearean and political figures to be reductive.
  We treat Henry V as a simple tyrant and then compare him to a cartoon
version of the current US president.  The people who are really silenced
by this sort of vociferous debate aren't the right-wing (the so-called
Academic Bill of Rights notwithstanding) nor the left-wing (government
interference in academia notwithstanding), but the centrists, who want
to debate actual policy or critical issues.

Yrs,
Sean Lawrence.

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