The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1548 Saturday, 17 September 2005
Date: Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 15:43:38 -0400
Subject: 16.1508 More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: Re: SHK 16.1508 More Shakespeare Code ...
>Did the audience that first saw Arthur
>Miller's play "The Crucible" think it was
>written in a code"?
>I do not think that they did. They understood
>that it was an allegory about a current political
>issue dressed up as the hysteria over witch trials
>that took place centuries earlier.
"Allegory" is a grand word to use for a /significatio/ that can be
expressed in a short sentence -- and no more.
>If you believe that the English audience that first
>viewed Hamlet believed it was all about the Danish
>Kingdom and had no relevance to the Elizabethan Court
>then your education is seriously impaired.
Framed thus, that is scarcely deniable, but it is also next door to
meaningless, inasmuch as one also cannot affirm, e.g., that /Hamlet/ has
"no relevance to" the court of Ramses II -- or to the court of George W.
Bush, for that matter.
Nevertheless, when reduced to particulars, this line of argument always
seems to end in some claim to the effect that "Hamlet" is little more
than a massively ornate and expensive envelope in which is to be
delivered some such message as, "Toward the end of his life, William
Cecil was an old man." It offends one's sense of artistic parsimony.
Of course, being myself an autodidact, no doubt I speak as a fool.
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