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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1483  Wednesday, 7 September 2005

[Editor's Note: As I have noted before regarding other threads, 
positions held as matters of faith for the poster appear to me to be so 
unwavering that they are incapable of being shaken by any means of 
persuasion. Because this thread has become circular, turning back upon 
itself and not moving forward, I see no reason to continue it.]

[1] 	From: 	Kenneth Chan <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 20:32:42 +0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

[2] 	From: 	Jim Blackie <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 6 Sep 2005 10:54:21 -0400 (EDT)
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

[3] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 11:09:49 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

[4] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 11:26:11 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

[5] 	From: 	David Basch <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 07 Sep 2005 09:54:18 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kenneth Chan <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 20:32:42 +0800
Subject: 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Robin Hamilton writes:

 >"Nevertheless, let me congratulate Mr. Chan on his
 >neatly reductive elucidation of the complex tradition
 >which develops this motif.   So *that's* what it was
 >about.  How could I have missed seeing this for so long?"

Quite obviously, Robin Hamilton has not looked at the evidence. If he 
had done so, it would have been obvious to him that that is not what it 
was all about. There is very much more.

I have come to learn that it is impossible to get some people to look at 
new evidence, simply because they do not want to see. There is a long 
tradition to this. When Galileo asked his fellow scientists to look 
through his telescope, many simply refused.

Nonetheless, I am happy to report that thousands upon thousands of 
students have already read the evidence. It is only a matter of time 
before those who choose to be blind (to the evidence) hear it directly 
from them.

Regards,
Kenneth Chan
http://homepage.mac.com/sapphirestudios/qod

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jim Blackie <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 6 Sep 2005 10:54:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Kenneth Chan writes "Surely, Larry Weiss cannot be suggesting that just 
because evidence is looked for, it becomes suspect or invalid. If that 
were so, it would then follow that practically all evidence presented in 
court, by both defence and prosecution, should be thrown out!"

I don't presume to speak for Larry Weiss, who seems well able to defend 
his own positions, but I think the point is similar if not the same as 
my concern; that we, being human, are very subjective in our reading. 
Interpretations of solitary lines as well as entire plays are 
sometimes/always based on our own unique personal experiences and 
*expectations* rather than any objective thought process.

Perhaps the fear is that the results are pre-formulated and the proof is 
later searched for and "found" whether it is there "without dispute" or not.

I have argued several times with others in other forums that we need to 
capture the meaning that Shakespeare had intended for his audience at 
that time in order to come away with the full value of his words. I 
believe this is sometimes labeled as historicism (?) and has both come 
and gone as popular schools of thought, perhaps returning here and 
again. I support this and see the value just as examining brushstrokes 
and use of pigment types adds to the appreciation of any decent artist's 
painting.

But also of value is the impact that that painting has on an individual 
because it sparks an emotion, a realization, an appreciation that was 
not there before the painting was seen. The current parlance, I believe 
is "it's all good." Why can't one work of art, one phrase mean several 
things all at the same time? Argument over the meaning of art to another 
person will be ultimately unsuccessful unless (for instance) that 
argument centers over the type of brush used - camel hair or whatever. 
There is clearly a right and wrong answer to this. Not necessarily to 
the issue at hand. In My Opinion, of course.

Jim Blackie

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 11:09:49 -0400
Subject: 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

 >it appears that M Yawney is telling us he has not actually
 >looked at the evidence

The "evidence" is the texts of Shakespeare's play and poems.  All else 
is commentary.  It is a gross insult to say that a member of this List 
has not read the works.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 06 Sep 2005 11:26:11 -0400
Subject: 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

 >Surely, Larry Weiss cannot be suggesting that just because
 >evidence is looked for, it becomes suspect or invalid. If that
 >were so, it would then follow that practically all evidence
 >presented in court, by both defence and prosecution, should
 >be thrown out!

Not necessarily inadmissible, but definitely suspect.  That is why it is 
not only legitimate but essential to point out the prejudices and 
preconceptions of witnesses.

In this case, there is a fundamental epistemological objection.  Chan, 
Basch and Amit do not offer evidence.  As I said in my other post, the 
only evidence is the texts themselves.  What these commentators offer 
are bizarre interpretations culled from carefully selected passages 
while ignoring a great many other contradictory passages.  Of course, 
nothing else can be expected when superstition substitutes for cognition.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Basch <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 07 Sep 2005 09:54:18 -0400
Subject: 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1472 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Kenneth Chan finds my alleged allusion to Ecclesiastes ("The wisdom of 
the poor is despised") in the episode concerning the wisdom of "poor" 
Horatio ("You will lose this wager, my lord.") that was dismissed by 
Hamlet to be "rather contrived" and a stretch of the imagination. I 
don't know what he means by this since nothing could be more straight 
forward. I would also remind him that there are dozens of such 
parallels. Were there only one such occurrence, I would agree that this 
would be insubstantial or happenstance but twenty or more such parallels 
amounts to a pattern that ought not to be lightly dismissed.

Also, notwithstanding Kenneth Chan's assertion to the contrary, 
Shakespeare did do an excellent job in dramatizing Ecclesiastes. He 
created a play integrating within it the words and meaning of 
Ecclesiastes through creating a whole imaginative kingdom in which these 
are enacted as these impinge on characters that he created. The 
characters are so realistically drawn that the parallels to Ecclesiastes 
emerge authentically out of their motivations and the events of the 
play. Familiarity with Ecclesiastes would fully confirm these observations.

And since Ecclesiastes is one of the jewels of the Biblical heritage 
with its brilliant insight on man, the play Hamlet is hardly the less if 
it taps into that never bottoming well of wisdom.

David Basch

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