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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Notion of Time
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1568  Tuesday, 20 September 2005

From: 		Marcia Eppich-Harris <
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Date: 		Monday, 19 Sep 2005 08:33:28 -0700
Subject: 16.1553 Notion of Time
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1553 Notion of Time

Edna Boris asked about suggestions of a play to teach on the "concept of 
time."

In 1 Henry 4, the word "time" occurs approximately 50 times. I'm not 
sure how that stacks up to other plays, but it seems like an awful lot 
of times to mention the word "time" to me. The reason I noticed this is 
because one of my teachers at Marquette University had us trace the 
concept of time in 1 Henry 4, and it turned out to be a very interesting 
and enlightening exercise. With all that is going on in that play, time 
is of the essence in many, many ways. I would say that if there could be 
only one play that could be taught in a class based on the concept of 
time, this is the one I would choose, especially since Prince Hal is 
caught in such a liminal space during this play between the binaries of 
madcap prince and capable king. How Prince Hal spends his time in this 
play is essential, and it seems like everyone else in the play knows it 
from how much "time" is brought up. Check it out.

Also, I would say that this play might be one that students hadn't had 
contact with in high school (unlike Romeo and Juliet), so it would be an 
opportunity to introduce them to an entirely different play and genre. 
Also, I think your instinct to go with a history play is right because 
of history's interest and association with time. I think the Richard II 
line about time wasting him is good for your concept, but you could 
touch on a little back story about Richard II if you teach 1 Henry 4, 
mention the line, and them move on to the tightly conceived concept of 
time that packages 1 Henry 4 so well. It's a very well-constructed play, 
1 Henry 4, and I think it would serve your purposes wonderfully.

Best of luck!
Marcia Eppich-Harris

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