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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Noble Shylock
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0312  Wednesday, 16 February 2005

[1]     From:   Mari Bonomi <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 10:51:22 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0304 Noble Shylock

[2]     From:   Michael B. Luskin <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 11:15:09 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0304 Noble Shylock

[3]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 12:05:20 EST
        Subj:   Performance of Shylock

[4]     From:   Stephen Dobbin <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Feb 2005 11:43:57 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Noble Shylock


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mari Bonomi <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 10:51:22 -0500
Subject: 16.0304 Noble Shylock
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0304 Noble Shylock

JD Markel writes <<I think his audience would rather enjoy seeing
Shylock knife Antonio. But Lopez was guilty.  He did so plan.>>

Rather than debating Lopes here, could Mr/Ms Markel please email me
offlist source(s) where I could follow that up?  My own recollections of
my reading don't include his actual culpability.  But that culpability
is irrelevant to SHAKSPER, so offlist please  :)

Mari Bonomi

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael B. Luskin <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 11:15:09 EST
Subject: 16.0304 Noble Shylock
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0304 Noble Shylock

Some thoughts parallel to the ones being discussed.

In Act I, scene 3, Shylock says that Jacob was the third possessor, of
the birthright and the blessing, which he stole from Esau with the
connivance of Rebecca.  But in fact he is only the SECOND holder, after
Isaac.  Abraham did not have a birthright or blessing from his father,
Teruah, why does Shylock say the third?

Leah, the wife of Shylock, is the unloved wife of Jacob.

And Shylock refers again to the blessing in line 91, when he says thrift
is a blessing if men steal it not.  When Antonio says that Heaven gave
Jacob the bulk of the sheep, he misses the point. Shylock is only
saying, I think, that he can make money by being intelligent in the use
of the money he already owns, just as Jacob was being intelligent by
using observed genetic knowledge.  I wonder what others think,

Finally, in the speech beginning at line 144, it seems that Shylock is
not being deadly serious when he proposes the pound of flesh penalty,
that he is more or less joking.  He is not willing to be friends, but is
willing to be friendly.

Michael B. Luskin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 12:05:20 EST
Subject:        Performance of Shylock

Colin Cox writes: "Thomas Killigrew is known to have played Shylock
during the Restoration."

Perhaps I misunderstand Colin, or he is using 'played' in a special
sense, or he has misinterpeted the records.

Although I suppose anything is possible, it approaches certainty that
Killigrew did not act the role of Shylock at the Restoration, or at any
other time. Killigrew (page to Charles I and eventually a knight) was
not an actor at all, but the patentee and manager of the Restoration
King's company.  A few reference books refer to him as "actor-manager"
(e.g. Highfill, Burnim & Langhans *Dictionary of Actors [etc] 1660-1800)
but the actual records of his acting consist only of his playing an
'extra' devil at the Red Bull as a boy in the 1630s, and performing in a
masque at Court.

*The Merchant of Venice* was, with many other former pre-war King's
plays, allotted to Killigrew's company in an order of 1669, but there is
no record that they ever actually revived it. Since records of the time
are not complete, it is possible they did, but if so presumably without
success, as it left no trace.  If I was going to make a guess as to who
would've played Shylock in a hypothetical Restoration revival c1670, I
would venture Nicholas Burt who sometimes played what might be called
leading character or heavy or villain roles  (e.g. LaTorch in *Bloody
Brother*, Ferentes in *Love's Sacrifice*, Othello, Surly, Corvino).
Another possibility would be Michael Mohun (Iago, Cassius, Melantius in
*Maid's Tragedy*), or if we want it played old and comical perhaps
William Cartwright (Falstaff, Morose, Sir Epicure). Needless to say
these castings are speculative, and the revival may never have occurred.

But not Thomas Killigrew...

Bill Lloyd

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Dobbin <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Feb 2005 11:43:57 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Noble Shylock

I take it that L. Swilley's characterisation of Olivier's Shylock as
'shameful' is a thinly veilied assertion that Laurence Olivier was an
anti-Semite?  Does Swilley have any single shred of evidence to back up
that assertion? If not, it seems to me an apology is in order.

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