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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: October ::
Portia's Mysterious Letter
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1717  Friday, 7 October 2005

[1] 	From: 	Arnie Perlstein <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 6 Oct 2005 09:08:32 -0400
	Subj: 	Portia's Mysterious Letter

[2] 	From: 	John Drakakis <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 6 Oct 2005 15:57:53 +0100
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1703 Portia's Mysterious Letter

[3] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 06 Oct 2005 14:09:25 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1703 Portia's Mysterious Letter


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Arnie Perlstein <
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Date: 		Thursday, 6 Oct 2005 09:08:32 -0400
Subject: 	Portia's Mysterious Letter

First, Larry, thank you for engaging with me on my speculations:

"ME: she now disguises her gift for him as a piece of good fortune. 
LARRY: An interesting conjecture, but it does not bear analysis.  We 
must assume that Antonio was familiar with his vessels and merchandise 
and the manning of his ships.  If Antonio's actual ships were lost, how 
would Portia be able to replace them with identical bottoms, carrying 
the same cargo and manned by the same master, mate and crew?"

1. Perhaps Antonio is well aware that this is not a providential event, 
and that Portia has arranged this. By arranging things as she did, she 
allowed him to save face by playing along with that cover story. His 
saying "I am dumb" may mean, "You win, you are a magnificent 
Machiavellian. My lips are sealed"; and/or

2. Perhaps the ships were in fact never lost, but merely (as in The 
Tempest) held "in escrow" by Shylock's piratical allies, pending his 
further instructions. Then Portia, aided by the Salads, takes over "the 
helm".

"ME: I see Shylock as having authorized the "hit" on Antonio's vessels, 
but this time not to get richer, but to get revenge. So he calls in some 
pirate favors.

LARRY: This is more plausible, but the theory does not hold up if we 
consider that the ships were wracked, not pirated.  And I think WS would 
have given us a little bigger hint if Shylock were responsible."

1. What if they were not really wrecked? Who is our source for saying 
they were wrecked anyway? Isn't it one of the Salads? I forget.

2. Even if they are wrecked, see my answer, above.

"ME: It sure sounds like Salarino and Salanio knew a whole lot more than 
they were letting on"

LARRY: Perhaps they had paid a visit to Macbeth's witches, who 
controlled the winds."

C'mon, play fair! If you don't try to explain it naturalistically, then 
you're conceding my point.

And speaking of those damned witches, they were like modern day palm 
readers, they didn't have, or need, any supernatural gifts to figure out 
how Macbeth was going down.   ;)

Arnie Perlstein
Weston, Florida

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Drakakis <
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Date: 		Thursday, 6 Oct 2005 15:57:53 +0100
Subject: 16.1703 Portia's Mysterious Letter
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1703 Portia's Mysterious Letter

Florence Amit's analysis is all very interesting but what really does it 
have to do with Shakespeare's play?

Enquiring minds wish to know.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Thursday, 06 Oct 2005 14:09:25 -0400
Subject: 16.1703 Portia's Mysterious Letter
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1703 Portia's Mysterious Letter

 >the release of Antonio's vessels would well be within the
 >knowledge of Portia ~ (daughter of the Nasi clan) according
 >to the analogy.

I had forgotten that Portia was also a Jew.  Perhaps someone can point 
me to the passage where this is made clear.

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