2006

Chorus in R&J

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0759  Friday, 1 September 2006

[1] 	From: 	Hugh Grady <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 12:48:09 -0400
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

[2] 	From: 	Brad Berens <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 11:20:17 -0700
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

[3] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 15:07:27 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

[4] 	From: 	Janet Costa <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 18:38:31 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

[5] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 22:24:08 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hugh Grady <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 12:48:09 -0400
Subject: 17.0751 Chorus in R&J
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

I have recently been working with the text of R & J and found myself 
surprised that there is a chorus opening the second act besides the more 
memorable Prologue. I just didn't remember noticing it before. It's a 
sonnet as well. I ended up quoting from it because it contains lines 
bringing attention to the gender role differences between the two lovers:

		And she as much in love, her means much less
                 To meet her now beloved anywhere.

It strikes me as akin to the Chorus of Henry V-narrating and 
evaluating-more "epic" that "dramatic" really, not much like the chorus 
of an Attic tragedy or comedy, if only because so much shorter.

Hugh Grady

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Brad Berens <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 11:20:17 -0700
Subject: 17.0751 Chorus in R&J
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

For Susan St. John...

Susan, I'm not sure if I agree with it, but Susan Snyder's "The Comic 
Matrix of Shakespeare's Tragedies:  Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, 
and King Lear" (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1979) 
has some good stuff on what Shakespeare is doing with the Chorus in R&J. 
  And this paragraph from Maureen Quilligan's " The Language of 
Allegory: Defining the Genre" (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979) 
also might prove useful:

"Romeo and Juliet. . . has a perfectly traditional comic plot until 
Mercutio's death, at which point the play does a stunning generic 
turnaround.  In the first fray no one is killed so that the scene could 
be played as cartoon; if Capulet and Montague are old enough, their 
standoff could be seen comically.  Mercutio at least thinks he inhabits 
a comic world, until, of course, he is mortally wounded.  He, along with 
the romantic business between Romeo and Juliet, has been the main source 
of comic signals.  It is possible that Shakespeare was forced into 
providing the Prologue to warn the audience of this impending reversal 
of genre; without it there would be only weak signals for the audience 
to place themselves in the context of tragedy, and Mercutio's death 
might have come as a too-sudden reversal of generic context.  That most 
of Shakespeare's other prologues also address breaches of dramatic 
decorum in one form or another suggests the true purpose of the one in 
Romeo and Juliet."  (17)

As for the Henriad, it might also be worth exploring how Rumor in 
2HenryIV differs from the Chorus in Henry 5.

Hope this helps.

All best,
Brad Berens

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 15:07:27 -0400
Subject: 17.0751 Chorus in R&J
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

I would have thought that Gower in Pericles is a closer analogue to the 
classical Greek chorus than even the chorus in HenV.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Janet Costa <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 18:38:31 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 17.0751 Chorus in R&J
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

Susan St. John writes:

"I realize that wikipedia is not the most prestigious or reliable of 
resources, but the idea confused and intrigued me.  The only thing I can 
find that they could possibly mean is the Prologue speech."

There is a "Chorus" sonnet that opens Act 2: "Now old desire doth in his 
deathbed lie..."

In my work on the play, I theorized that the Chorus was there to cover 
some stage business as the scene changes from the Capulet party to 
Romeo's scaling the garden walls and the subsequent love scene. In a 
sense, it could have served as a traditional Greek chorus.

Janet Costa

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 22:24:08 -0400
Subject: 17.0751 Chorus in R&J
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

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

 >I have run across a wikipedia.com article about the Greek Chorus that
 >states "Use of the chorus can be seen not only in ancient Greek 
tragedies,
 >but also in more recent works such as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet,
 >the musical/film Little Shop of Horrors and Leonard Bernstein's one-act
 >opera Trouble in Tahiti."
 >
 >I realize that wikipedia is not the most prestigious or reliable of 
resources,
 >but the idea confused and intrigued me.  The only thing I can find that
 >they could possibly mean is the Prologue speech.

Don't forget the I-II interstitial.

 >I am wondering if anyone here would agree that that speech serves a 
similar
 >purpose to the chorus in a Greek tragedy.  I would have thought the 
chorus
 >in Henry V would have been a more appropriate example.  As I teach both
 >Greek and Shakespeare plays in my theatre program, as well as musical
 >theatre, I would love to draw some correlations, but the R&J link had
 >never occurred to me.

Shakespeare /calls/ it a Chorus, and I cannot really see any great 
difference between R&J's Chorus and H5's Chorus, or, for that matter, 
H4II's Rumour or WT's Time. (Pericles' Gower and 2NK's Prologue/Epilogue 
act more in the way of the Prologue and Epilogue of the Restoration.) 
They all lack participation in the action, which somewhat limits their 
resemblance to the Greek model. A similar problem affects the "Greek 
Choruses" in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Allegro" and the episode "All 
the Old Familiar Faces" of the old TV series "The Name of the Game".

Better modern examples would be the character of M'Donald in Dunlap's 
"Andr


Wikipedia

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0758  Friday, 1 September 2006

From: 		Ike Rodman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 10:19:59 -0700
Subject: SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J
Comment: 	Wikipedia, from SHK 17.0751 Chorus in R&J

Susan St. John mentioned, "I realize that wikipedia is not the most 
prestigious or reliable of
resources."

SHAKSPEReans wondering about the reliability of general reference works 
may find it interesting that an article in the journal _Nature_ 
concerning a comparison of science articles in Wikipedia and Britannica 
concluded, "among 42 entries tested, the difference in accuracy was not 
particularly great: the average science entry in Wikipedia contained 
around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three" (Jim Giles et al., 
"Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go head to head," Nature 438, 
900-901 (15 December 2005), 
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/full/438900a.html).

Britannica later disputed points made in the article, and _Nature_ 
responded point by point.

Ike Rodman

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"The Shakespeare Wars"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0757  Friday, 1 September 2006

From: 		John F. Andrews <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 31 Aug 2006 17:27:39 -0400
Subject: 	"The Shakespeare Wars"

Ron Rosenbaum Reports on "The Shakespeare Wars"

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, at 7:00 p.m.

500 17TH STREET NW (Corcoran Gallery of Art)

Members, $15; Others, $20

On theater vs. film, he is startling. On Shylock, he is fierce. On 
Harold Bloom, he is pugnacious. Anyone who read the New Yorker article 
he published two years ago about the scholarly issues that now divide 
editors of Hamlet, King Lear, and other classics will know that Ron 
Rosenbaum takes Shakespeare personally and offers an unforgettable way 
of rethinking the greatest works of the human imagination. Focusing on 
cutting-edge controversies about the source of the poet's enchantment, 
his astonishing use of a language he made uniquely his own, Mr. 
Rosenbaum spent seven years pursuing key partisans in today's debates, 
from the high tables at Oxford to a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in a Deep 
South strip mall. Witty and provocative, Mr. Rosenbaum "comes to us in 
new waves of revelation," according to Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet 
Laureate. His best-selling Explaining Hitler has been translated into 
ten languages. He writes a column for the New York Observer, and his 
reflections have appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, and The 
Atlantic. In a dialogue that will serve as prelude to Shakespeare in 
Washington 2007, a city-wide festival that is being coordinated by the 
Kennedy Center, Mr. Rosenbaum will talk with John F. Andrews, Executive 
Director of ESU Washington and President of the Shakespeare Guild.

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_______________________________________________________________
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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