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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Staging Henry 5
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0858  Tuesday, 3 May 2005

From:           Harvey Roy Greenberg <
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Date:           Sunday, 1 May 2005 17:04:02 EDT
Subject:        h5 staging otra otra vez

For ongoing study of Canterbury's speech, Act 1, Sc 2, it strikes me
that the 'conspiracy' theory I've heard that Canterbury's has already
conspired with the king before the Salique speech breaks down somewhat,
if you believe that the Archbishop is telling Ely in the previous scene
what he truly knows, that the King is swaying on the matter -- unless he
is lying to Ely, which one rather doubts. Of course, the King could
already have made up his mind -- in which case Canterbury's speech is
performative --- for the King, that is, giving the show of legitimacy.

Interesting that while the Archbishop is somewhat prolix in the previous
scene, there is nothing of the closely reasoning and somewhat ponderous
orator as he speaks out the Salique lines. Vexed question, unless this
is the way one speaks to a king in these matters. As has already been
noted, the speech according to Holinshed pretty much conforms to what
Shakespeare writes or vice versa. One wonders what the audience at that
time thought who had to listen to it, whatever they believed, or however
they were bored.

Quaere: is there anything known at all for sure and not by surmise of
anyone's reaction to hearing the play commoner better sort or court king
queen etc. Wonder what the 'horizon of reception' was in each case,
although this has been commented upon passim by some of this group.

I am grateful to you all for your responses, which have been extremely
helpful while I am writing this d....n thing.

Best,
Harvey Roy Greenberg, MD

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