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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: July ::
Doubt
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0704  Monday, 31 July 2006

[1] 	From: 	Charles Weinstein <
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	Date: 	Fri, 28 Jul 2006 18:30:19 -0400
	Subj: 	Doubt

[2] 	From: 	Hardy M. Cook <
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	Date: 	Monday, July 31, 2006
	Subj: 	Re: Doubt


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Charles Weinstein <
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Date: 		Fri, 28 Jul 2006 18:30:19 -0400
Subject: 	Doubt

Hardy Cook, echoing David Lindley, writes:

"But there is no doubt that Shakespeare wrote for boy (or male) actors, 
and that this must have, to some degree, conditioned the way he composed 
his female roles.

There is NO doubt."

No?  I think that Shakespeare was uncompromising in the creation of his 
characters, that he expected his actors to keep up with him, that he was 
pleased when they could, and that he didn't change his writing one iota 
when they couldn't.  I also think that his female characters are most 
emphatically NOT boys in dresses.  So there.

--Charles Weinstein

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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 >
Date: 		Monday, July 31, 2006
Subject: 	Re: Doubt

Charles Weinstein writes of me, echoing David Lindley:

 >>"But there is no doubt that Shakespeare wrote for boy (or male) actors,
 >>and that this must have, to some degree, conditioned the way he
 >>composed his female roles.
 >>
 >>There is NO doubt."
 >
 >No?  I think that Shakespeare was uncompromising in the creation of
 >his characters, that he expected his actors to keep up with him, that 
 >he was pleased when they could, and that he didn't change his writing 
 >one iota when they couldn't.  I also think that his female characters 
 >are most emphatically NOT boys in dresses.  So there.

I was trying to end a thread not begin another, yet I am compelled to 
respond to Charles Weinstein before I end this for good.

Now, I don't know what "Shakespeare was uncompromising in the creation 
of his characters" means. If it means that Shakespeare created 
characters, male and female, that are so memorable that the plays in 
which they appear are still performed and discussed four hundred years 
after their creations, then we have no argument.

However, I have no idea what evidence Charles has for making these 
assertions:

1. "he expected his actors to keep up with him,"

2. "he was pleased when they could, and"

3. "he didn't change his writing one iota when they couldn't."

Short of having a time machine or channeling Shakespeare, I cannot 
understand how Charles can make these statements with such 
uncompromising assurance.

Finally, Charles with emphasis maintains, "I also think that his female 
characters are most emphatically NOT boys in dresses." I agree: 
Shakespeare female characters are, just that, female characters, but the 
reality is that Shakespeare's female characters were played by males, 
who by every indication possessed varying degrees of accomplishment in 
their performances so much so that eye witnesses to the plays referred 
to the characters using female pronouns. I would add that the evidence 
suggests that Shakespeare was an accomplished playwright who wrote for 
the conditions under which his plays were performed, including the FACT 
that his female characters were enacted by male actors.

Now, what is it that I wrote above that prompted Charles Weinstein's "So 
there"?

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