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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: June ::
The Big Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0540  Wednesday, 7 June 2006

[1] 	From: 	Bob Grumman <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 6 Jun 2006 14:00:17 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0534 The Big Question

[2] 	From: 	Tony Burton <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 6 Jun 2006 15:13:44 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0534 The Big Question

[3] 	From: 	Dan Decker <
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	Date: 	Tue, 6 Jun 2006 17:28:52 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0534 The Big Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Grumman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 6 Jun 2006 14:00:17 -0400
Subject: 17.0534 The Big Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0534 The Big Question

Well, to me Mr. Swilley is just reciting standardly useless relativism: 
a poet is anything anyone wants to say he is.  I fear I'll continue to 
distinguish moralists from poets, though--and believe that terms should 
be defined in such a way as to differentiate whatever is being defined 
from what it is not.  But I won't be defending my view in this thread again.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Tony Burton <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 6 Jun 2006 15:13:44 -0400
Subject: 17.0534 The Big Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0534 The Big Question

I'd like to propose that we make a distinction between a writer whose 
work is deeply moral and one who is a moralist.  I find something 
inescapably didactic and shallow in the notion of a Moralist.  Like 
those joke tellers who, at the completion of their jokes, elbow you in 
the ribs saying "Get it?" and then make sure you get the point, the 
Moral, by announcing what the story should have succeeded in doing if it 
was worth telling at all.  And though the Moral is sure to be 
unambiguous, it will probably also be much less entertaining than the 
original and, disconcertingly, not quite what you would have stated if 
given the time to think  over the story for yourself.

Shakespeare's art is that his stories don't deliver or require any poke 
in the ribs, allowing what you "get" to be very different from what I 
"get." He seems simply to show (without announcing his personal point of 
view) How, in morally charged situations, Things Work.  Sometimes the 
vision conforms neatly and accessibly to this or that tenet of some 
religious orthodoxy; sometimes it seems to reflect our latest 
understandings of human nature, or Social Justice, or some such, surely 
because all of them have some minimum kernel of truth at the heart of 
their teachings.  And maybe this is why Shakespeare is adopted as 
spokesman and clasped to the bosoms of so many one-issue types, who find 
in him a confirmation of their own selective interests and too often 
jealously resist his being adopted and claimed by other one-issue 
readers with different points of departure.

Shakespeare's seemingly universal capacity to understand and dramatize 
the human condition brings insights which are, like the Golden Rule, 
infinitely expandable in their application.  His best work involves the 
deepest morality, but let us never call him moralistic.

Tony

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Dan Decker <
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Date: 		Tue, 6 Jun 2006 17:28:52 EDT
Subject: 17.0534 The Big Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0534 The Big Question

And so I saw the play and was simply entertained by it. Whether the 
author did or didn't intend to moralize was of no matter to me as I 
looked upon the play in that regard as I do a piece of music or a fine 
porcelain or a lovely spring day, wherein I can discern not the 
slightest bit of moralizing whether there or not but manage to enjoy the 
experience nonetheless.

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