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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: November ::
MV Casket Choices
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0975  Wednesday, 1 November 2006

[1] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 31 Oct 2006 21:59:54 +0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0967 MV Casket Choices

[2] 	From: 	Paul Hebron <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 1 Nov 2006 09:55:39 -0700
	Subj: 	MV Casket Choices....


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 31 Oct 2006 21:59:54 +0000
Subject: 17.0967 MV Casket Choices
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0967 MV Casket Choices

On the silver casket discrepancy "Take what wife you will...", John 
Drakakis writes:

 >Interesting point, but the injunction to which Arragon agrees is
 >that he will "never in my life / To woo a maid in marriage" and
 >that if he fails he will "Immediately [to] leave you and begone.
 >I take the emphasis on the act of 'wooing' to be crucial here. The
 >same thing happens with Morocco earlier who is enjoined: "if you
 >choose wrong, / Never to speak to lady afterward / In way of
 >marriage;" (2.1.40-2). Is not the emphasis here upon 'romantic' 
courtship?...

In a play where life and death hinge on fine distinctions, JD's point is 
well taken.

Might Halliwell be right in designating the oath as Portia's own spoken 
addendum (and not part of her father's original will) to intimidate 
those suitors she finds unappealing? I don't recall her explicitly 
saddling Bassanio with it, only Morocco and Arragon. One more part of a 
rigged trial?

Just wondering,
Joe Egert

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Paul Hebron <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 1 Nov 2006 09:55:39 -0700
Subject: 	MV Casket Choices....

"Take what wife that will to bed,
  I will ever be your head."

It's always seemed to me that the key word in this unwanted message is 
"ever".  In other words, if you have picked this casket as your choice, 
it's clear evidence that you will always prove yourself to be a 
fool...... regardless of who you would choose to woo and marry.

In this instance, Aragon has chosen Portia to pursue.  But the silver 
casket's devastating disclosure is painting a more general, less literal 
picture about taking a "wife to bed".  If you have chosen me, the focus 
of your affections is less important than the obvious point, which is 
that you will always prove yourself to be an idiot.....no matter whom 
you might take as wife.

And Aragon would certainly seem to prove the point.......

-- Paul Hebron

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