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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: October ::
Shakespeare's "Unsatisfactory" Endings
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1672  Saturday, 1 October 2005

From: 		Arnie Perlstein <
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Date: 		Friday, 30 Sep 2005 09:44:39 -0400
Subject: 	Shakespeare's "Unsatisfactory" Endings

"Of course she "blows off the Duke".  If Shakespeare's intention is that 
Isabella accepts the Duke's marriage offer, there is no reason at all 
for WS not to show this.  A "happy ending" would satisfy the conventions 
of Comedy writing, and would give the play the resolution it lacks."

And there is further support for that line of reasoning that he did 
exactly the same thing in AWTEW, the "twin" of MFM. The more I delve 
into more of his plays, the clearer and clearer it becomes that he not 
only constructed his plays to stand individually, but also to "comment" 
on each other at a higher level of abstraction. I.e., it is worthwhile 
to compare the ending of AWTEW with the ending of MFM, to compare and 

"WS broke with conventions and left his play with an unsatisfactory 
ending for a very good reason.  Because it would've been dangerous for 
WS to show Isabella returning to the convent."

That's where you lose my agreement. And I give you AWTEW as evidence, 
Helena was nowhere near a convent, yet we have the same ambiguity.

Does anyone else want to bring forward any other "unsatisfactory" 
endings, to see what light they may shed on this question?

Arnie Perlstein
Weston, Florida

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