Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Noble Shylock
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0344  Monday, 21 February 2005

[1]     From:   William Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 18 Feb 2005 14:47:34 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0333 Noble Shylock

[2]     From:   HR Greenberg <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Feb 2005 11:22:44 EST
        Subj:   Definitive objection to noble Shylock?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 18 Feb 2005 14:47:34 -0500
Subject: 16.0333 Noble Shylock
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0333 Noble Shylock

 >Larry Weiss doesn't like my story of Leah. He writes:

"Actually. Shylock never married anyone.  He is a fictional character.
But when that character says about a lost ring "I had it of Leah when I
was a bachelor" the audience is likely to surmise that he is now a
widower whose late wife was named Leah.  WS had mastered the skill of
conveying a great deal of information with only a few broad strokes of
his pen.  It would be extraordinary to assume that he did not expect his
audience to reach the natural conclusion. [...] Those who say "but
Shylock does not actually say he had been married to Leah, and other
possibilities exist" are speaking true.  It is the rational, scientific
approach.  But it not good literary criticism. It is hardly skillful
reading."

Dear me, yes, all of Shakespeare's "characters" are merely squiggles on
paper, a screen, etc. Let's take that as a given, and let speculation
thrive. Can we also assume that there are no "natural conclusions"
inherent in these squiggles? Can we assume that early modern audiences,
like postmodern audiences, didn't all interpret words the same way? Is
it possible for us to know exactly how an early modern auditor will
react to any given squiggle (or sound)? And if Shakespeare conveys a
great deal of information with these squiggles, isn't it strange that
"Leah" conveys only one idea: dead wife? And is this absolute
identification really good literary criticism and skillful reading?

Bill Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           HR Greenberg <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 19 Feb 2005 11:22:44 EST
Subject:        Definitive objection to noble Shylock?

One hesitates over essential readings, but what seems to have been
staring the concept of the noble shylock head on -- and i would not be
surprised if this has been written about already -- is the pound of
flesh which Shylock is only to willing to take, sans surgeon. The film
-- which in many ways i did not like for trying to have things both ways
-- did give one a strong sense of the potential horror of Shylock's
surgery, not done as well as a rule in the productions I have seen.
Shylock has not been driven mad by his daughter's defection etc  he is
in a vengeful frenzy and clearly eager for the deed. No man of noble
nature, even if flawed, would do such a thing. It is unutterably
horrific and vile.

Revenge is utterly inimical to Judaism, as it was to the Elizabethans
strictu sensu. I do mean personal revenge even if justified, since only
the King or God who he represented could adjudicate matters where
revenge might be in play.

At any rate, this may be an oversimplification, but it is -- as noted --
staring the politically correct interpreters in the face. Thanks. HR
Greenberg MD

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail 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.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.