2005

New and Improved Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1110  Saturday, 18 June 2005

[1]     From:   Stephen C. Rose <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 09:51:00 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1102 New and Improved Lear

[2]     From:   Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 11:51:58 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1102 New and Improved Lear

[3]     From:   D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 13:09:12 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.1102 New and Improved Lear

[4]     From:   David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 17 Jun 2005 18:09:43 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1102 New and Improved Lear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen C. Rose <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 09:51:00 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1102 New and Improved Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1102 New and Improved Lear

I think WS deconstructed honor with Falstaff's immortal speech in H41.
Cordelia, recondite as she may be, is cut from Falstaffian cloth. Best, S

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 11:51:58 -0500
Subject: 16.1102 New and Improved Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1102 New and Improved Lear

The lively discussion of Cordelia's flaws may benefit from looking at
the figure of Antigone as an indirect but powerful source. It is often
pointed out that the Gloucester subplot in Lear comes from the story of
the Paphlagonian king in Sidney's Arcadia. It is less often pointed out
that this story with its combination of a blind king and a loyal
daughter is a transposition of the Oedipus story and  would have been
seen as such by contemporary readers. Once you see that you also see
that Shakespeare focuses on the salient combination of fierce loyalty
and intransigence that is the essence of Antigone and conceives of
Cordelia as a new kind of Antigone. Martha Nussbaum's discussion in her
Fragility of Goodness of the what and how of Antigone's position would
be an excellent guide to the paradoxes of Cordelia

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 13:09:12 -0500
Subject: 16.1102 New and Improved Lear
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.1102 New and Improved Lear

Cordelia would seem to have two choices: tell lies in order to flatter
her father with a lot of phony dutifulness; or tell the truth.

In the moral theology of David Basch telling the truth in these
circumstances violates the Fifth Commandment. I find this unlikely, but
am neither a rabbinical scholar nor a professional theologian. Does
anyone know any of such persons who could be persuaded to offer an
expert opinion on the subject?

(By the way, my screenplay on the Book of Leviticus explores these
matters in some detail. The scene dealing with hunchbacks, dwarves and
men with crushed testicles not drawing near to offer sacrifices is a
cinematic masterpiece.)

Cheers,
don


[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 17 Jun 2005 18:09:43 -0400
Subject: 16.1102 New and Improved Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1102 New and Improved Lear

Leave it to Shakespeare to create dramatic situations that feature
clashing values. To say that Cordelia, by not honoring her father,
contributes to her fate is not to say that she was totally responsible
for her fate.

As the play is perused, it becomes evident that we have not only values
pitted against each other but also personalities. Cordelia is such that
she cannot bend. She is not one who can step aside from an oncoming
sixteen wheel truck when she has the traffic lights in her favor. It is
the truck driver that must yield since she won't. But the vain and
powerful truck driver thinks he is too important doing government work
to desist and that she ought to step aside. Others have pointed out that
if it were Desdemona in Cordelia's place, there would be no play.

What is astounding is how the controversy simmers in the minds of
audiences. Frank Whigham and John-Paul Spiro, in the spirit of Cordelia,
insist that it is her father that must yield to her high principled
stand on the nature of her love duties to father and husband and that it
is he that must lick his wounds when his favorite daughter shames him, a
powerful king, in public. I do hope Frank is not confronted with such
issues between himself and his parents or children since I suspect that
things will go badly the way they did for Cordelia.

And, by the way, Lear did not deal "corruptly," as Frank insists. He was
not evilly corrupt but was humanly flawed in character. He was vain and
wanted to be honored by his favorite daughter and was cut to the quick
when she grievously disappointed him. Obviously, Cordelia failed Lear's
love test, but so did Lear fail Cordelia's love test.

As the play unfolds, both father and daughter realize their mistake.
When Lear is united with Cordelia after she rescues him, Lear is
astounded that his daughter loves him even after what he has done,
saying that she has "cause" to hate him and but yet doesn't. Lear
realizes his mistake. Frank would probably pop up at this time to berate
Lear and tell him what a jerk he was for not knowing better, but not
Cordelia. Cordelia says, "no cause." Can it be she realizes her mistake
in not honoring her father and admits her mistake in not handling the
test better? I would note here that honoring of parents seems to have
universal acclaim among diverse cultures aside from its affirmation in
the Bible, an intuitive recognition of how life enhancing it is as a
principle.

What should she have done? She could have been diplomatic, as the King
of France tried to be, but then she would not be Cordelia, standing on
principle no matter what. When Mary Tyler Moore is faced with such a
principled situation before Lou Grant her boss, she at first stands firm
and then breaks down in weeping to everyone's laugh as she shows her
vulnerability and recognition that if she persisted she would lose the
job she loved and would be pounding the pavement.

By standing fast, would Cordelia have been honoring her father in the
breach? That idea needs to be scanned. She would have shown her vain
father to be an utter fool, shamed him in public. For Lear to have
accepted that humiliation out of love for his daughter would have
required that proud Lear not be proud Lear. She didn't honor him but
rather she honored her principle. The King of France recognized her
mistake and tried to warn Lear that her words are not completely
adequate in explaining the causes behind her statements. If Lear had
been him, there would be no story.

Interestingly, the Bible considers honoring parents as a high principle,
a principle so valuable that it is deemed powerful enough to gain reward
in this life by lengthening life on earth. In the play, and often
elsewhere, it is an underrated principle. Cordelia (and Frank and
John-Paul) think other things are more important, especially when the
parent behaves like an ass. Talmudic wisdom instructs that we take a
deeper view of such things and recommends adherence to even what seem
minor Biblical commandments since one never knows what may really be
behind them. This point is illustrated numerous times through stories
and parables that show how in the breach of a "minor" commandment
surprisingly dire results follow. One of these stories is about a man
who publicly shames a person he dislikes, breaking a Talmudic law that
asserts that it is a grievous sin to do so, an inference from Biblical
laws. As the story proceeds, the act of shaming provokes reaction and
counter reaction and leads to the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, all
from the failure to honor a colleague.

David Basch

_______________________________________________________________
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Anti-Semitism

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1109  Saturday, 18 June 2005

[1]     From:   Joachim Martillo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 13:19:50 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1101 Anti-Semitism

[2]     From:   Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 13:53:46 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1101 Anti-Semitism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joachim Martillo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 13:19:50 EDT
Subject: 16.1101 Anti-Semitism
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1101 Anti-Semitism

I have some real qualms about the terminology of this discussion.

There is an underlying assumption in this discussion that there is one
single phenomenon of anti-Semitism.  Since I began to do business in
Israel in 1993, I have come to question this idea and believe it belongs
more to the realm of political and social mythology.

Religious myths of 16th and 17th England, where there were no Jews, do
not have much in common with the biological determinist nonsense of
modern Central and Eastern European extremist organic nationalists and
ethnic fundamentalists.

16th and 17th century English Protestants were probably aware of the
Catholic accusation of Judaization, and more to the point part of the
joke in Merchant of Venice is the lack of difference in the behavior of
the Jewish unbeliever and the ethically superior believing Christians.

The mythological references in the last scene were ironic, and literate
Elizabethans would have understood them.

Shakespeare may well have written the play on two levels --

one for the crude less educated penny audience that watched from the
ground and that would see in the play some of the traditional
anti-Jewish mythology and

another for the more sophisticated audience in the boxes that would
understand the lampooning of hypocrisy of the religious (an issue at the
beginning of the 17th century), and also the meditation on some of the
social developments (contracts become as potentially a dangerous weapon
as swords).

Shakespeare also apparently did not have much patience for the person
who tried to justify his maliciousness on past victimizations.

Joachim Martillo

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 13:53:46 -0400
Subject: 16.1101 Anti-Semitism
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1101 Anti-Semitism

I am a bit surprised that no one has mentioned Hermenn Sinsheimer's,
Shylock: The History of a Character, a book that has its own fascinating
history.

Fran Teague
http://www.english.uga.edu/~fteague

_______________________________________________________________
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
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Job

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1107  Saturday, 18 June 2005

[1]     From:   Michael Luskin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 11:42:28 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1097 Job

[2]     From:   John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 13:37:27 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1097 Job

[3]     From:   Peter Bridgman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 21:22:44 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1097 Job

[4]     From:   Bob Lapides <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 21:39:58 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1097 Job

[5]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, June 18, 2005
        Subj:   Designations


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Luskin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 11:42:28 EDT
Subject: 16.1097 Job
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1097 Job

I believe that the standard Jewish interpretation of Job is that it is
not meant to be understood.  His friends take standard, almost two
dimensional, didactic positions, and are almost crying to be discussed.
They are set ups.  The unsatisfying climax of the book comes when G-d
asks Job, essentially, who are you to ask questions, when I made the
world?  This is extrapolated to explain the holocaust, and everything
else that is bad, since there are only two possibilities: that G-d
doesn't care, or is powerless to do something about a given problem, OR
that it happened for a reason that is not revealed.

I don't know anything about the history of the book of Job, and the end
is so short that I doubt if textual analysis could prove that it was a
later tack on, though it seems it must have been.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 13:37:27 -0400
Subject: 16.1097 Job
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1097 Job

John Reed <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

 >["Job"] might have gone through a phase where it was a play; a regular
play,
 >like a Greek play.

Improbable. There is no known history of drama in the OT period, and
"Job" doesn't seem at all Hellenistic.

 >There is one point where a
 >speech seems to be given to the wrong character; it's not that the
 >"prefix" (the designation) is wrong, it is ambiguous.  But the common
 >interpretation doesn't look right.  It's the part that goes, "Then the
 >Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said..." (38:1). Which lord
 >is it?  Is it the Lord God, or is it the lord Satan?

Unsupportable in the Hebrew text, which reads YHWH.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 21:22:44 +0100
Subject: 16.1097 Job
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1097 Job

John Reed writes ...

 >The feeling I got was that there was more
 >than one author/copyist involved in producing Job (before me, I mean).
 >The story as we have it is some kind of composite, and the ending looks
 >wrong: it's too sentimental, and too, well, orthodox.  For some reason I
 >have the feeling that's not what really happened.

I suggest John Reed invests in a bible that discusses such matters.  The
following is taken from the Introduction to Job in the Catholic NJB ...

"It has been argued that the speeches of Yahweh, ch. 38-41, did not
belong to the original poem.  The argument is, however, based on a
misunderstanding of the book's meaning.  It is true that ch. 38-41
ignore all the preceding debate as well as Job's own plight, by
transferring the discussion from the human plane to the divine; but it
is for this very reason that these speeches of Yahweh provide what, in
the author's eyes, is the only solution to the problem, namely the
mysterious nature of the ways of God. ...  The arrangement of ch. 24-27
is also not entirely satisfactory; the carelessness of copyists, or
editorial readjustments, may be the explanation here.

The arguments against the authenticity of the speeches of Elihu, ch.
32-37, are weightier.  Elihu appears abruptly and unannounced and
Yahweh, who speaks next, ignores him completely.  This is all the more
strange in that Elihu anticipates the words of Yahweh, even giving the
impression that his purpose is to supplement them.  Moreover, he repeats
to no purpose what the three friends have already said.  Lastly, the
vocabulary and style are different and the Aramaisms much more numerous
than elsewhere.  It seems, therefore, that these chapters have been
added to the book by another author".

Peter Bridgman

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Lapides <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 21:39:58 EDT
Subject: 16.1097 Job
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1097 Job

John Reed's reading of Job is a Christian one, even if he thinks it had
more than one (human) author. But one doesn't have to be David Basch to
insist that whoever wrote Job was Jewish and could not have had the
Christian idea of Satan in mind. In Hebrew, "Satan" meant no more than
"adversary."  The Christian idea of Satan as a rival to God or as a
fallen angel or a source of evil was not developed until many centuries
after this book was written. Nor, of course, did the writer of Job have
Christian ideas about the nature of God and Heaven. God is not nice in
this book.

Bob Lapides

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, June 18, 2005
Subject:        Designations

Maybe I'm being overly pedantic.

[I just watched both the BBC and Branagh LLL last week and feel
Holofernes-like. Of course, I also incorrectly corrected Matthew
Baynham's "Shakespeare maths worksheet" to "Shakespeare math worksheet"
- thanks to Kathy Dent for noting my mistake - apologies to Matthew.]

Anyway, it seems to me that the designations Old and New Testament are
rather parochial and that careful academic writers generally use the
terms Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

_______________________________________________________________
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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Productions of Pericles

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1108  Saturday, 18 June 2005

[1]     From:   Michaeel Luskin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 11:50:14 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1100 Productions of Pericles

[2]     From:   Markus Marti <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 22:38:57 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1100 Productions of Pericles


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michaeel Luskin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 11:50:14 EDT
Subject: 16.1100 Productions of Pericles
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1100 Productions of Pericles

There was a production of Pericles this winter in Washington, DC, and it
was supposedly excellent.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Markus Marti <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 22:38:57 +0200
Subject: 16.1100 Productions of Pericles
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1100 Productions of Pericles

May I interrupt this discussion by telling you that a good friend of
mine has just published "Pericles, Prince of Tyre" in a bilingual
edition (English-German)?

The books in our bilingual edition are always up to date what English or
American criticism is concerned. Unfortunately, the English or American
critics do not notice this, because they do not speak, read or
understand German. For those who do:

William Shakespeare, Pericles, Prince of Tyre/Pericles, F


Discussion Board for the Sonnets

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1106  Saturday, 18 June 2005

From:           Stefan Andreas Sture <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 2005 21:12:43 +0200
Subject: 16.1083 Discussion Board for the Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1083 Discussion Board for the Sonnets

I'm happy to say that a few people have joined in, but more people would
make it even better. Don't hesitate to join us at Discuss Shakespeare's
Sonnets http://www.quicktopic.com/31/H/4tmfaY2kjZd You don't have to
register to be posting and you don't have to directly respond to
previous postings. I have not set this up to get people to discuss with
me, but as a place for every one with an interest in the sonnets to meet
and discuss. I know there are some of you on this list.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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