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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: July ::
Questions on TMOV
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1258  Friday, 29 July 2005

[1]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jul 2005 12:59:57 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1249 Questions on TMOV

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jul 2005 13:06:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1249 Questions on TMOV

[3]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jul 2005 20:02:44 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1249 Questions on TMOV


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Jul 2005 12:59:57 -0400
Subject: 16.1249 Questions on TMOV
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1249 Questions on TMOV

Does this sound rather like a homework assignment......?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Jul 2005 13:06:34 -0400
Subject: 16.1249 Questions on TMOV
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1249 Questions on TMOV

 >"Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses,
 >affections, passions?"
 >
 >What is meant by each of them? Why does he use these human features and
 >not others?

One may question whether the attributes are exclusively human.  Aren't
they shared with animals as well?

But let that pass.  I have previously commented on what may be the joke
in this speech, albeit the humor will likely escape a modern audience.
It was a commonplace in World War II era films to have a Nazi officer
lament that he is disliked or distrusted notwithstanding his normal
sensibilities.  He protested that he has a refined taste for food, wine,
music, women, art, etc., but he is still held in low regard and just
can't understand why.  Ernst Lubitsch included a scene like this in "To
Be Or Not To Be," in which he also included Shylock's "Hath not a Jew
eyes" speech, or references to it, three separate times (although he
substituted "we" for "Jew").

Is it not at least plausible that Shylock's speech reflects the same
joke?  Shylock insists that he possesses characteristics which make him
human, but no one denied his humanity.  He was reviled for his lack of
humaneness.

Try reciting the speech with the word "Nazi" replacing "Jew" and you
will see my point.  (And don't quibble that it ruins the meter.)

 >Is there any connection with this fact and the Conquest of America?

No.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Jul 2005 20:02:44 +0100
Subject: 16.1249 Questions on TMOV
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1249 Questions on TMOV

 >Hath not a Jew hands, organs ...

I think there might be a pun on "organs" here.

WS knew the Bassano family of royal musicians, who were Jews.  Emilia
Lanier, nee Bassano, was quite possibly Shakespeare's Dark Lady, and
Emilia's mother Margaret Johnson was the aunt of Robert Johnson,
Shakespeare's musical collaborator.

cf Sonnet 128 ...
How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blessed than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

Peter Bridgman

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