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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: April ::
Hotspur
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0274  Tuesday, 4 April 2006

[1] 	From: 	Martin Mueller <
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	Date: 	Monday, 3 Apr 2006 11:19:52 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0265 Hotspur

[2] 	From: 	Donald Bloom <
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	Date: 	Monday, 3 Apr 2006 15:19:53 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0265 Hotspur

[3] 	From: 	Marvin Bennet Krims <
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	Date: 	Monday, 3 Apr 2006 16:58:45 -0400
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0265 Hotspur


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Martin Mueller <
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Date: 		Monday, 3 Apr 2006 11:19:52 -0500
Subject: 17.0265 Hotspur
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0265 Hotspur

Hotspur is the child of quarrel and error. There are several external 
reasons for this. Shakespeare knew or knew of a contemporary Percy, who 
had a notoriously bad temper, was quite hard of hearing, and dabbled in 
science. Shakespeare's Hotspur has a very bad temper, has a speech 
defect, and also dabbles in science (in his testy exchanges with 
Glendower). Audiences might have been amused by that. More importantly, 
Hotspur is a kind of English Brutus, a noble but hopeless loser. Brutus 
is given to characteristic errors--something Shakespeare picked up from 
Plutarch. Hotspur too makes characteristic mistakes (A plague upon it, I 
have forgot my map).

The 'noble' Brutus is a model of decorum and self-control, though he is 
involved in a bitter quarrel with Cassius. Hotspur flies off at the 
handle even or especially if there is no occasion. Shakespeare liked 
such contrapuntal variations.

The connection between Brutus and Hotspur shows most obviously in the 
scene between Hotspur and Lady Percy, which is a parody before the 
event of the Brutus-Portia scene in Julius Caesar (or rather  Plutarch). 
But this particular and very obvious scenic connection points to many 
deeper connections between Hotspur and Brutus. More importantly, it 
points to a reading of English history in terms of a Roman 'grammar'.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Donald Bloom <
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Date: 		Monday, 3 Apr 2006 15:19:53 -0500
Subject: 17.0265 Hotspur
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0265 Hotspur

A lot of uncomplimentary words could be leveled at Sir Henry Percy: 
egotistical, narcissistic, immature, arrogant, self-indulgent. The only 
thing he takes seriously or considers important is . . . Sir Henry 
Percy. As Falstaff is infantile, Hotspur is juvenile.

This does not necessarily make him evil, but it does make him 
unreliable, at least off the battlefield. As with his plump antithesis, 
he has his attractive qualities, particularly in comparison to those 
conniving politicians, the king and his uncle.

He has some leadership skill, but no vision and no pity for the victims 
of his beloved war. His only real virtue is courage.

In the mythic story of Harry Monmouth, he is one of the extremes that 
has to be approached but not allowed to dominate the character (the king 
and Falstaff being the others).

It's a bravura acting part, of course, and to me the key is (as with 
Falstaff) to alternate or even mingle the good and bad sides: the true 
soldier and the self-satisfied jerk who was the quarterback of your high 
school football team.

Cheers,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Marvin Bennet Krims <
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Date: 		Monday, 3 Apr 2006 16:58:45 -0400
Subject: 17.0265 Hotspur
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0265 Hotspur

I am a psychoanalyst and published an essay in which I argued that 
Hotspur's belligerence was represented by Shakespeare as coming from his 
fear of his inner femininity. I would be glad to send it on if contacted 
or you can wait and read it in my forthcoming book applying 
psychoanalysis to Shakespeare's works.

Marvin Krims
	
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