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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: July ::
Measured Response
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1372  Thursday, 1 July 2004

[1]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Jun 2004 12:19:44 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1367 Measured Response

[2]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Jun 2004 12:19:55 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1367 Measured Response

[3]     From:   Pat Dolan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Jun 2004 14:13:43 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1354 Measured Response


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jun 2004 12:19:44 -0400
Subject: 15.1367 Measured Response
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1367 Measured Response

Stuart Manger, Shakespeare's Catholic clerics always give wonderful
advice.  Warm, loving, seductive advice. But it's always wrong, no
matter how right it sounds. No matter how right it might be if all
worked out in the best of all possible worlds.  As for Prince Escalus,
dear God! This man has screwed up from the get go. He's a classic
Shakespearean Ruler Who Refuses to Rule.  All threats, no action. I'll
be mean to you next time. As a result, everything escalates. He rails at
the parents? HE is THEIR parent! Nice of him to show up at the end.

I fully understand that Friar Laurence has been conventionally
interpreted with adulation lo these many years. He says all the right
things. When princes and parents fail in their duty, their children come
under the sway of such men. And die.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jun 2004 12:19:55 -0400
Subject: 15.1367 Measured Response
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1367 Measured Response

"To be honest I get a little weary of the nunnery/brothel gloss."

Don Bloom, is it your belief that Shakespeare's brain turned its
synaptic associations off for R&J and on for Hamlet? Or, since Hamlet
was later, that Will didn't find out about that association until he was
more mature?

What is your evidence, other than a beautiful altruism, that Juliet
would be welcomed or provided for by either family?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jun 2004 14:13:43 -0500
Subject: 15.1354 Measured Response
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1354 Measured Response

 >To a contemporary audience though, torture and martyrdom were not
 >fantasies, they were realities.

Torture and martyrdom are still realities today, alas. The question is,
how is it possible for us to forget or deny them?

I agree that a crude Freudian account of Isabella's lines won't help us.
But Shakespeare's contemporaries had accounts of how and why people like
Southwell, Clitheroe, or earlier protestant martyrs would suffer
horrific pain and humiliation when the religion they died for was wrong.
See the government-inspired pamphlets of the Elizabethan period and
Thomas More's depressingly vicious anti-Protestant polemics for
speculation about why someone might be so depraved (the word then was
frequently "desparate") as to court suffering for a diabolical cause.
I'm not sure this gets us anywhere with Isabella, but suggesting that
her lines would be validated by the discourse of martyrdom of the time
strikes me as too broad.

Whatever else is true, what she resists when she resists Antonio is, in
modern terms, rape, not sex. I tend to read her novitiate as telling us
more about Antonio (he'd rape a nun) and Claudio (he'd countenance the
rape of his sister to save his life) than her, but then I don't tend to
read Shakespearean characters all that psychologically.

Cheers,
Pat

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