2006

Deceitful Plays

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0076  Sunday, 26 February 2006

[1] 	From: 	Arthur Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Tuesday, 21 Feb 2006 00:19:46 +0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0062 Deceitful Plays

[2] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, 20 Feb 2006 13:51:41 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0062 Deceitful Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Arthur Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Feb 2006 00:19:46 +0800
Subject: 17.0062 Deceitful Plays
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0062 Deceitful Plays

I don't know if any of the participants in this thread have mentioned 
it, but Bertrand Evans -- my undergraduate Shakespeare teacher at 
Berkeley -- wrote a couple of books dealing with deceit in Shakespeare, 
including deception of the audience.  The best known is Shakespeare's 
Tragic Practice (Oxford, 1980, if I'm not mistaken).  It's well worth 
consulting.

Regards,
Arthur Lindley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 13:51:41 -0500
Subject: 17.0062 Deceitful Plays
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0062 Deceitful Plays

 >"Early in HAMLET, Claudius chastises the inky-garbed Prince
 >for his unmanly grief as 'a fault to nature...whose common theme/Is
 >death of fathers.../From the first corse till he that died today...' Did
 >the first corpse Abel die a natural death? Does anyone in this tragedy,
 >parent or child, die a natural death? Is this Shakespeare's way of slyly
 >reminding us that unnatural manslaughter comes naturally to Fallen Man?"

Perhaps, but let us remember that this is not the only time WS makes the 
same point about ostentatious grief for a dead father.  At the beginning 
of AW/EW, the Countess admonishes Helena about the very thing: "No more 
of this, Helena.  Go to, no more!  lest it be rather thought you affect 
a sorrow than to have."  Shortly thereafter, Helena admits in soliloquy 
that she is not in fact grieving for her father.

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Re-reading Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0075  Sunday, 26 February 2006

[1] 	From: 	M Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, 20 Feb 2006 09:05:35 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0063 Re-reading Hamlet

[2] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, 20 Feb 2006 23:09:10 +0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0063 Re-reading Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		M Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 09:05:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 17.0063 Re-reading Hamlet
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0063 Re-reading Hamlet

Jim Blackie <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>wrote:

 >What is going on? Are we now re-inventing these
 >plays as we go along?
 >Are we doomed to re-interpret the original text to
 >align with our newest
 >obsessions with hidden agendas and conspiracy
 >theories? Have we suddenly
 >all become very clever in our new-found
 >21st-century, penetrating
 >understanding? Or are we perhaps guilty of the same
 >hubris and
 >self-delusion that gave us the discovery of pyramids
 >on Mars?

What is "going on" is the same process that Shakespeare himself took 
part in.

Authors are taking old stories, twisting them, adapting them, altering 
them to fit with their own interests and obsessions and to suit the 
peculiarities of the media they are working in and the tastes of their 
audience.

This was neither "hubris" nor "self-delusion" when Shakespeare did it, 
and it is not now when today's playwrights and screenwriters adapt old 
stories. This is simply a process that has been going on since the 
ancient Greeks and will continue. Nothing is wrong with that.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 23:09:10 +0000
Subject: 17.0063 Re-reading Hamlet
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0063 Re-reading Hamlet

Jim Blackie protests: "can't we just let the plays speak for themselves?"

They do, Jim, only with forked tongue to more than one audience.

Joe Egert

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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
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A Wedding Ring Question

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0073  Sunday, 26 February 2006

[1] 	From: 	Donald Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, 20 Feb 2006 10:00:56 -0600
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question

[2] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, 20 Feb 2006 14:39:37 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question

[3] 	From: 	Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, 20 Feb 2006 16:27:42 -0500 (EST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question

[4] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Friday, 24 Feb 2006 19:43:44 +0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0041 A Wedding Ring Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Donald Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 10:00:56 -0600
Subject: 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question

Let me second John Briggs's very sensible response:

 >"Don't get too excited - Shakespeare was no doubt aware that in many
 >European countries it was the custom for bride and bridegroom to present
 >each other mutually with rings as a pledge of fidelity (the origin of
 >the modern custom, mostly unknown in England until the late twentieth
 >century."

The bestowal of rings-like other marriage rituals-has varied a great 
deal from century to century, region to region, and class to class. I 
was sure I had seen other references, but could only find one (double 
ring ceremonies in 14th century Italy). In my own defense, I only had 
time for a cursory look at very limited resources. If it's important I 
could try harder (finals are over for another term).

We have, however, a very complex issue here:

1) Whether the ring business in MOV is supposed to represent a formal 
marital ceremony or merely a loving exchange between two parts of a 
united couple. (I would say the latter)

2) What the common custom was in 16th Century England (regardless of the 
Book of Common Prayer).

3) What the common custom was in 16th Century Venice.

Unless this matter is very important, I'd leave it alone. Looks like a 
Slough of Despond (or gator-infested swamp) to me.

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 14:39:37 -0500
Subject: 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question

Anyone interested in the history and customs of wedding rings (and 
betrothal rings) would do well to get a copy of "Wedding Rings" by Osnat 
Gad , published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang.  This charming little book 
is chock full of fascinating facts, beautiful pictures and appropriate 
literary quotations, including from WS.

In the interest of full disclosure, the author is my wife.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 16:27:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0055 A Wedding Ring Question

I am grateful for the replies to my wedding ring inquiry. It makes me 
think of an idea for a book. I have a collection by Philip Schaff of the 
creedal statements of Christendom compiled through the twentieth 
century.  Perhaps a similar work is available Christian rituals across 
time-baptism services, wedding services, the Eucharist from a variety of 
Christian traditions. I find the 1559 Book of Common Prayer very useful 
in my research, but I would like to be able to easily compare its 
services with other contemporaneous practices.

Jack Heller

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 24 Feb 2006 19:43:44 +0000
Subject: 17.0041 A Wedding Ring Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0041 A Wedding Ring Question

Jack Heller raises an interesting issue in the subarration of Portia, 
Nerissa, Leah, and Jessica by their respective betrothed. As already 
noted, in the England of the period the ring gift was ordinarily 
one-way, man-to-woman, reflecting the Biblical dominance of the male.

Henry Swinburne in his 17th C. TREATISE OF SPOUSALS identifies the Old 
Testament's Tubal Cain as the ring's originator. Tubal fashioned an 
iron/adamant ring for his son to use as spousal lure, on Adam's advice. 
In the MERCHANT Tubal's namesake is the first to alert the forlorn 
Shylock of Jessica's disposal of her mother Leah's ring. Also of 
interest, Portia's ring is a "golden hoop" (linking it to the golden 
casket of false appearances) and not the durable iron/adamant ring of 
Tubal Cain, symbolic of the marriage union's permanence.. Swinburne 
fondly recounts the days of old when rings were restricted to the 
nobility or were unmistakable signs of betrothal or marriage. He 
grumbles at the youth of his own day, every "skipping Jack" and 
"flirting Jill", donning ring and jewel, wed or unwed.

The formula for submission of body and wealth Portia uses to accompany 
her initial ring gift to Bassanio is unmistakably one of formal 
betrothal or even marriage, the church service being confirmatory. Yet 
in offering him the ring, she has assumed the dominant male role, thus 
belying her very words. Contemporary tracts never wearied of warning 
young men like Bassanio against marrying up, to women of greater wealth 
and power like Portia. The inevitable tensions would not bode well for 
marital harmony. Bassanio et al are almost puppets in her hands. He 
breaks the strings and gives way the ring, thus defying her (Old 
Testament?) "commandment." Also of interest, at play's end Portia, using 
Antonio as a mediator, does not directly place the ring on Bassanio's 
fourth finger. Such mediation may be seen as weakening and undermining 
the ring's validation and sanctification of the union.

Portia may even be seen as an early prototype for Prospero. Clearly she 
is somehow mystically involved in bringing Antonio's three lost ships 
home "safely to road." Anagogically, in Christian terms, I see these 
three ships as the voyaging souls of Bassanio, Antonio, and even 
Shylock, all undergoing perils that test and ultimately force them to 
symbolically lose "life and living", only to be reborn (Portia as 
midwife) to a new spiritual life of antinomian Christian grace. Portia, 
the ultimate RingMaster has brought these lost souls home, safely to Rood.

Joe Egert

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
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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 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Shakespeare Sitcom Question

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0074  Sunday, 26 February 2006

[1] 	From: 	Hugh Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, 20 Feb 2006 10:10:57 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0056 Shakespeare Sitcom Question

[2] 	From: 	Richard Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Monday, 20 Feb 2006 11:47:05 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0056 Shakespeare Sitcom Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hugh Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 10:10:57 -0500
Subject: 17.0056 Shakespeare Sitcom Question
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0056 Shakespeare Sitcom Question

Besides the Head of the Class about a Shakespeare Competition, there is 
one episode about Charlie mounting a "pop culture-influenced Hamlet." 
The class bashes his ideas but then defends him when some reviews of his 
very-off Broadway production criticize it. They learn that 
interpretation is important to keep classics alive.

Hugh

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Richard Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 11:47:05 -0500
Subject: 17.0056 Shakespeare Sitcom Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0056 Shakespeare Sitcom Question

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

 >One more: Family Guy has an episode where Brian teaches R&J to
 >his remedial English class--I believe it's in season 3.
 >
 >Kelly

Family Guy
"Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High"
Season 4, episode 2.  May 8, 2005. Fox. 30 mins.  Animated cartoon.
A controversial series for its politically incorrect jokes. When Chris's 
teacher wins the lottery and quits Brian, the family's talking dog, 
fills in as substitute but is moved to another class for troubled kids 
and teaches them to aspire to low-level jobs.  Brian starts to ask the 
class what literature they 've read and gets into a discussion of Romeo 
and Juliet:  "Okay, let me try and make this a little easier. If 
Shakespeare were writing today it might sound more like this: Yo, Romeo, 
where you at, okay? Tell your daddy if he don't like us together then 
that's just too bad because this Juliet ain't waitin' around for some 
'ool in tights named Romeo. You know what I'm sayin'?' And Romeo might 
sound like this: "Do you believe the words "that are comin' out of her 
mouth?'" Later in class, Brian says he "should just try a whole new 
approach. . . . Oh, let's see the kid with the hearing aid from Barney 
do this. Aw ' right, aw 'right. So's I'm chillin' in Verona when my 
homie busts out with, 'Yo Romeo, check out that bee-yatch Juliet in the 
window.' Problem is, Juliet's peeps are like East Coast rappers and my 
posse's representin' West-si-eede! Just like my boys Tupac and Biggie."

Also, Boston Public is a melodrama, not a sit-com.

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Handsome Richard III?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0072  Sunday, 26 February 2006

From: 		Ruth Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 20 Feb 2006 11:04:10 -0500
Subject: 17.0061 Handsome Richard III?
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0061 Handsome Richard III?

I recall that the actor portraying "The Elephant Man" was a very 
handsome young man who, through a slight skewing of his body, managed to 
portray the physical deformity and inner beauty of the character at the 
same time. It was much more effective than John Hurt's film portrayal 
under a ton of ugly make-up.

If Richard's real deformity is his character, a handsome actor would 
underscore just how dangerous an attractive figure hiding an evil soul 
can be.

Ruth Ross

_______________________________________________________________
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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