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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
"hindered me a million"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0205  Thursday, 23 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 22 Mar 2006 12:12:24 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0198 "hindered me a million"

[2] 	From: 	Florence Amit <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 22 Mar 2006 14:11:18 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	"hindered me a million"

[3] 	From: 	Hardy M. Cook <
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	Date: 	Thursday, March 23, 2006
	Subj: 	For the Record


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Mar 2006 12:12:24 -0500
Subject: 17.0198 "hindered me a million"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0198 "hindered me a million"

Why do we need to take this literally?  Both the temporal and monetary 
interpretations are hyperbolic -- there is no way Antonio could have 
hindered 500,000 transactions or deprived Shylock of 500,000 ducats 
given the scarcity of ducats implied in the play.  Shylock is saying 
that Antonio is "a royal pain in the arse who has cost me a shitload of 
money."

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Florence Amit <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Mar 2006 14:11:18 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 	"hindered me a million"

Dear forum,

Excuse the word transfer that probably the automatic speller inserted 
when I was not looking.  I meant to say ...having achieved an 
understanding. . . . And not the word archived.

I take this opportunity to examine the passage.

First there is the ironic but true "to bait a fish - withal" or more 
correctly "with all". Shylock is telling us that Antonio is the lure by 
which he may gain the attention of the acquisitive "fish" - (Christian 
imagery) -the eminent person who presides over the court of Venice.

Then he returns to his words of confrontation that are needed to set up 
the ploy. "It will feed my revenge"

However since revenge is neither what motivates Shylock nor what is 
natural to him he grabs at a rationalization for this would be 
"revenge".  He talks about the injuries that he has suffered - which are 
very little on account of Antonio and very much the result of the 
inquisition's policy to pauperize the Jews. Indeed besides being put 
into a Ghetto they were to be limited to selling used clothes. Despite 
his distain ordinarily Antonio would hardly be noticed. The name of the 
game was survival.

At the same time as I have shown you, Shakespeare includes Hebrew 
transliterations for those who may benefit from them. It is his final 
sanction for the true identity and purpose of the protagonist. Whenever 
there is a contradiction of this kind I have learned to look for the 
Hebrew. It will be there.

Never the less even before adversaries - Salario and Solanio, Shylock 
cannot help being mentor and moralist when he says his famous words 
"Hath Not a Jew eyes?"  Etc. But then again he may not allow himself to 
stray from his avowed purpose. He returns to his incitement. "Revenge" 
he says will be learned from (the majority culture) the Christians. (It 
is not the practice of a persecuted minority.)

Florence Amit

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Thursday, March 23, 2006
Subject: 	For the Record

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

When SHAKSPER came back online after the server crash, I announced that 
I was taking a new editorial stance: "I welcome the diversity of 
members, but I want to regain the academic focus of the early days of 
the list. The only way that I can see that this is possible is for me to 
become active as moderator and only post messages that I believe are of 
interest to the academic community. In posting messages only of interest 
to the academic community, I am not proposing to restrict the membership 
of SHAKSPER or to eliminate significant questions and comments from 
actors, directors, or any member of SHAKSPER. The source of the post is 
not the issue; the issue will be its relevance to the broad scope of 
academic interests in Shakespeare studies." I quickly added that "I know 
that there are some who feel that the list has had little genuine 
academic content at all. I know that many will be deeply disappointed by 
my decision and see it as elitist and divisive. I know that some will 
feel that I will not be exclusive enough; and others that I am being too 
draconian. I also know that I cannot please all of the people all of the 
time."

For the past six weeks, I have been doing my best to follow the policy 
stated above. And all that I can claim for sure that I have achieved in 
this time is that I have not pleased all of the members all of the time.

For the record though, I do NOT believe that William Shakespeare of 
Stratford-upon-Avon and author of the plays and poems attributed to him 
had the knowledge of Hebrew that a couple of members of this list 
believe he had. Neither do I believe that Shakespeare imbedded Hebrew 
transliterations or elaborate secret codes into his writing. In this 
regard, I believe my position is in agreement with the overwhelming 
majority of the community of academic Shakespeare scholars.

Nevertheless, many find in Shakespeare's works what they are looking 
for, scholars and non-scholars alike, and I will occasionally publish 
those findings even though I deeply object to them.

Preemptively yours,
Hardy M. Cook, Editor

PS: I agree completely with Larry Weiss that there is absolutely no 
reason to take the "hindered me a million" statement literally and that 
the tendency to do so is the source of much misdirected energy expressed 
here.

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