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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
More Shakespeare Code ...
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1493  Friday, 9 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 08 Sep 2005 11:50:54 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

[2] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 08 Sep 2005 19:11:22 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code...

[3] 	From: 	V. K. Inman <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 08 Sep 2005 15:58:37 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

[4] 	From: 	Kathy Dent <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Sep 2005 00:46:59 +0100
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

[5] 	From: 	Martin Steward <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 22:23:52 +0100
	Subj: 	SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <
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Date: 		Thursday, 08 Sep 2005 11:50:54 -0400
Subject: 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

David Basch <
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 >Thus, it informs that Jessica is a thief...: "In such a
 >night / Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew"...."

As John remarks to the Jailor of Zeitgeistheim in "The Pilgrim's 
Regress", "Thank heaven! Now at last I know that you are talking nonsense."

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Thursday, 08 Sep 2005 19:11:22 +0000
Subject: 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code...

Robert Projansky writes, "You cannot remake the world with plays, and WS 
obviously knew that."

Yes, you can, and Shakespeare obviously knew that, as did the thundering 
Puritans (then and now), as do all revolutionary groups striking first 
at media centers.

Alan Jones claims both RICHARD II and JULIUS CAESAR show regicide to be 
"a crime out of which the justice of God or Fate can eventually bring a 
happy consequence..."

What happy consequence? and for whom?

David Basch argues "she [Portia] broke her father's covenant..."

The slippery Lady from Belmont may have superseded it, but how did she 
break it?

Puzzled,
Joe Egert

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		V. K. Inman <
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Date: 		Thursday, 08 Sep 2005 15:58:37 -0400
Subject: 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

Marcus Dahl writes:

 >Re: this statement from Peter Bridgman
 >
 >>England was a hellish police state during Elizabeth's reign.  That much
 >>Claire Asquith has got right.
 >
 >I just don't buy it sorry. And this whole re-visioning of literary
 >/social history according to the 'stripping of the altars' thesis is
 >just one more vogue in a long line of subjective historical theses. This
 >one just happens to be from a pro-Catholic perspective does it not?
 >
 >I do not agree with Asquith 100% but I do see 'hidden' codes in 
Shakespeare.

In my case no, I am not pro-Catholic.  I am a Presbyterian with a 
Seminary Education.  It did not take a lot of that education to see how 
Roman Catholic WS's thinking is.

--V. K. Inman

 >Steve Sohmer writes:
 >
 >Peter Bridgman really needs to read a bit of social history. The
 >religious settlement of 1559 became the original and archetype of
 >religious tolerance for the whole world.

And Jews and Catholics were tolerated after 1559??

--V. K. Inman

Alan Jones writes:

 >V.K.Inman says "{W]hether or not there were real hidden codes, prominent
 >Elizabethans such as Elizabeth herself believed there was a hidden code
 >in Richard II.  Elizabeth is reported as saying, "I'm Richard the II!"
 >
 >Elizabeth's comment was prompted by seeing Tower documents from
 >Richard's reign, months after the execution of Essex.  She may have been
 >jolted into thinking of Shakespeare's play (or perhaps a different one),
 >but there was, I think, no question of "a hidden code": the parallels
 >speak for themselves and are undisguised. "Code" suggests a deliberate
 >and half-concealed second meaning intended by Shakespeare - far too
 >risky, I'd have thought, even if he'd wanted to do it.

That is why the 'code,' for lack of a better word, is so thin-so that 
Shakespeare could deny it if questioned.  And, alas, this is also the 
reason no one will ever to be able to 'prove' the codes theories.  But 
tell me why one of Essex' men had the play performed?  Maybe because he 
saw something in the play that could be construed as a message even if 
it had not been intended?

--V. K. Inman

Kathy Dent wrote:  re: Elizabeth is reported as saying,

 >>"I'm Richard the II!" But alas our bard and friends were able
 >>to deny and talk their way out of trouble.
 >
 >I believe that Inman has conflated two separate incidents.  I would be
 >happy to be corrected, but surely there is no evidence to show that
 >Elizabeth was referring to Shakespeare's play when she said that.  It
 >was not a part of the events following the performance of the play on
 >the eve of the Essex rebellion, was it?

Yes, I did.  Elizabeth's statement actually came after the events.  But 
I don't know of any other reason Elizabeth would have made the statement 
if not referring to the Shakespeare play.

--V. K. Inman

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kathy Dent <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Sep 2005 00:46:59 +0100
Subject: 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

 >The interview was on the Today Programme on BBC R4 -
 >not sure which day, but within the last 7 days!

Happily, the Today programme keeps archives for more than seven days, so 
if anyone wants to hear this short interview it should be still 
available for a while at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ztuesday_20050830.shtml

Kathy Dent

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Martin Steward <
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Date: 		Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 22:23:52 +0100
Subject: More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: 	SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

Wasn't Elizabeth's famous remark - "I am Richard II, know ye not that" - 
made in response to Chamberlain's Men's 1601 production of Richard II, 
which was sponsored by the Essex faction? (J. G. Nichols, ed., The 
Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth III, p.552; E. K. 
Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage II, pp.326-327)


The real question is how it was that the Chamberlain's Men, far from 
being censured, ended up performing the play for the Queen on the night 
of Essex's execution - deposition scene and all!

Perhaps we should not underestimate the fine but cruel irony that this 
commission implies; but we should also bear in mind the privileged 
position theatre occupied thanks to its pervasive visibility and its now 
well-developed professional status - how much could one tinker with a 
well-known, properly-licensed play? In his official deposition to the 
authorities, Globe shareholder Augustine Phillips insisted that the 
company had protested to their seditious patrons that a play "so old and 
so long out of use" would not draw a profitable crowd, acquiescing only 
once they had secured 40 shillings "more then their ordinarie for it". 
(Augustine Phillips in E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage II, p.205)

"No one asked him to explain how they could stage, within twenty-four 
hours, a play that, according to his own deposition, was no longer in 
the repertoire", notes Peter Thomson skeptically. (Shakespeare's 
Professional Career, pp.142-144; also pp.125, 128-129, 136-142)

As Douglas Bruster suggests, the company may have "counted on the bonus 
payment to persuade the authorities" of "the theater's essential 
commercialism" - as opposed to its essential subversiveness. (Douglas 
Bruster, Drama and the Market in the Age of Shakespeare, pp.25-26; also 
S. Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: A Compact Documentary Life (1977 
ed.), pp.218-219)

It's also worth checking out E. M. Albright, "Shakespeare's Richard II 
and the Essex conspiracy", Publications of the Modern Language 
Association of America 42 (1927), pp.686-720; Ray Heffner, "Shakespeare, 
Hayward and Essex", Publications of the Modern Language Association of 
America 45 (1930), pp.754-780; and Andrew Gurr's introduction to his 
edition of King Richard II (Cambridge 1984), pp.9-10

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