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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: July ::
Measured Response
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1379  Friday, 2 July 2004

[1]     From:   Pat Dolan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Jul 2004 09:27:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Angelo, not Antonio

[2]     From:   Jack Hettinger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Jul 2004 11:20:37 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1372 Measured Response

[3]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Jul 2004 10:25:17 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1372 Measured Response


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jul 2004 09:27:18 -0500
Subject:        Re: Angelo, not Antonio

Jack Heller corrects me. He is right. I am ashamed.

However, this extenuating circumstance: I was about to drive my wife to
her dissertation defense, which she passed with flying colours. I was a
tad distracted.

Now I'm extremely proud to be married to a brilliant, hardworking Ph.D.

Cheers all,
Pat

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Hettinger <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jul 2004 11:20:37 -0400
Subject: 15.1372 Measured Response
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1372 Measured Response

Abigail Quart thinks, and I think so too, "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."
But would Friar Francis's scheme in Much Ado About Nothing, 4.1, be an
exception? It's one intrigue that works, though it almost doesn't when
Benedick agrees to Beatrice's project of revenge (4.1, 5.1).

Jack

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jul 2004 10:25:17 -0500
Subject: 15.1372 Measured Response
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1372 Measured Response

Abigail Quart passes rather rapid and absolute judgment, it seems to me.
Other readings and understandings might have some little validity.

To her Prince Escalus is an abject failure because he doesn't behave
like a fascist dictator, or so one gathers. But his position is tricky:
prince or not, he cannot afford to antagonize the great ones too much,
no ruler can. He threatens the two family leaders about riots, and there
are no more riots. There is a street brawl involving three young
gentlemen -- a common occurrence -- and it was evidently more or less a
fair fight. Since Tybalt, who provoked it, is one of the killed, and is
the one who killed Mercutio, the prince merely banishes his killer,
Romeo. This is both just and politically savvy: arresting Romeo and
making him stand trial is a lose-lose situation for the prince. Much
better, in the interests of both justice and rule, to get Romeo the
bleep out of town.

On another issue (the nunnery thing), I did not suggest 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?" On the one hand, I'm not
sure precisely what that means. On the other hand, I will re-state my
position with regard to the nunnery-brothel gloss: I consider it a false
scent that runs the chance of seriously disrupting the reader's
understanding of the text.

In both instances (R&J and Hamlet), I think the speaker of the word is
referring literally to a convent. I don't dispute that nunnery was a
slang term for brothel at the time, nor that WS was perfectly capable of
making all kinds of bawdy jokes with or without slangy puns. I simply
feel that the gloss adds nothing to our appreciation of the scenes, and
may distract the unwary from what is most important.

There's a time and place for everything (as the platitude goes)
including bawdry -- when the circumstances warrant, the characters are
right for it, and the audience primed. When Hamlet is talking to
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, or Romeo to Mercutio, the bawdry can be
intense and delicious. So it should be.

Cheers,
don

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