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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: December ::
Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0833  Thursday, 13 December 2007

[1] 	From:	Joseph Egert <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 11:27:41 -0800 (PST)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

[2] 	From:	Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 16:54:48 -0500
	Subj:	RE: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

[3] 	From:	Scott Shepherd <
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	Date:	Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007 10:24:23 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Joseph Egert <
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Date:		Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 11:27:41 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

Ed Taft writes:

 >Joe Egert asks: "Can one truly seek to deceive oneself
 >at a conscious level?" I think that the answer is yes, Joe.
 >
 >Have you read Harry Berger on the failure to acknowledge
 >in _King Lear_?

In essence, Berger argues that humans cannot know what they know if they 
file away in the back of their minds what they fear to examine about 
themselves or others.

But Ed, are they filing it away consciously?

Joe

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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 >
Date:		Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 16:54:48 -0500
Subject: 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?
Comment:	RE: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

Berger, Harry. _Making Trifles of Terrors-Redistributing Complicities in 
Shakespeare_. Stanford: Stanford U Press, 1997.

The essay in question is "_King Lear_: The Lear Family Romance."

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Scott Shepherd <
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Date:		Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007 10:24:23 -0500
Subject: 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

Astonishingly, it turns out that almost all the characters in Hamlet may 
have been coached by Polonius at one time or another:

     All that lives must die,
     Passing through nature to eternity.

     The chariest maid is prodigal enough
     If she unmask her beauty to the moon.

     The canker galls the infants of the spring
     Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
     And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
     Contagious blastments are most imminent.

     Best safety lies in fear.
     Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.

     The very substance of the ambitious is but the shadow of a dream.

     Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

     Diseases desperate grown
     By desperate appliance are relieved
     Or not at all.

     So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
     It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.

     When sorrows come, they come not single spies
     But in battalions.

And R & G may have received some general instructions for their 
conversation with the King in 3.3.

Also, it is hard to believe that Hamlet, who is so quick to perceive the 
significance of Ophelia's single couplet, does not notice that Polonius 
is the author of the entire dialogue between the Player King and Queen 
in The Mousetrap!

Most alarming is when Hamlet himself shows signs of coaching:

     To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pick'd out of 
ten thousand.
     There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
     Use every man after his desserts, and who shall scape whipping?
     There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.

Curiously Polonius himself, probably to avoid giving himself away, 
remains uncharacteristically restrained in his own aphoristic 
utterances. Outside of the famous "precepts" speech, I could find only 
three, and they aren't even very good ones:

     I do know
     When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
     Lends the tongue vows.

     Brevity is the soul of wit
     And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes

     'Tis too much prov'd, that with devotion's visage
     And pious action, we do sugar o'er
     The devil himself.

As for the precepts speech itself, it *is* fairly satisfying in this 
regard, but I'm surprised that none of it rhymes. In fact, unless you 
count the aphorisms spoken by others, Polonius only rhymes once in the 
whole play, on a weird line that hardly makes any sense!

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