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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: November ::
Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0742  Thursday, 1 November 2007

[1] 	From:	Alberto Cacicedo <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 30 Oct 2007 21:07:05 -0400
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[2] 	From:	Nicole Coonradt <
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	Date:	Wednesday, 31 Oct 2007 03:38:10 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[3] 	From:	Arthur Lindley <
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	Date:	Thursday, 1 Nov 2007 09:44:42 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Alberto Cacicedo <
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Date:		Tuesday, 30 Oct 2007 21:07:05 -0400
Subject: 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

I don't think all speeches delivered by a lone character have the same 
valence. What do you all think about Henry V's prayer before the battle 
of Agincourt in 4.1.? Is any prayer a soliloquy, or does prayer imply an 
interlocutor? Or Puck's "What fools these mortals be"-- soliloquy or 
exuberance, like a child crying out "Oh boy!" when she gets an ice cream 
cone? Hamlet's soliloquies strike me as being self-dramatizing, not so 
much that he's stepping in and out of the play, as R. A. Cantrell says 
(although there seems to me some of that as well), but rather that he's 
observing himself as actor--most evidently in the "What a rogue and 
peasant slave" speech, but in others as well. Then there's Richard III's 
opening soliloquy, which seems to me addressed directly to the audience, 
as if we were his interlocutors. The same seems to me true of Hal's 
wonderful speech at the end of 1.2 in _H IV,  part 1_--the "I know you 
all" speech, where the meaning of "you" strikes me as highly ambiguous 
("you" = Falstaff, Poins, and the others; "you" = the audience, wasting 
time in the theater as much as Falstall et al. are wasting time in the 
tavern). Bottom's soliloquy when he wakes up on the morning after the 
night before does seem to me to serve in the way that Carol Morley says, 
presenting "the character unmediated by the need to perform to any other 
on stage intruders."  Nonetheless, almost every time I come across a 
soliloquy I ask myself what the character wants me to think about him or 
her--thought bubbles with a purpose, so to speak.

Al Cacicedo

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Nicole Coonradt <
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Date:		Wednesday, 31 Oct 2007 03:38:10 +0000
Subject: 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

RE: RA Cantrell's post today: can you explain further, please? I'm not 
sure what you mean when you say Hamlet "deliver[s] his soliloquies 
directly to those who have shared his view of the action." I don't have 
a problem with that when we actually do share his view; however, in the 
scene I mentioned by way of example, it is Hamlet who has not shared 
*our* views, ergo we are privy to knowledge denied him. In light of 
that, what does your comment mean in terms of the thread? Is there an 
example of a different moment you can cite to illustrate what you mean?

Thanks!

Best,
Nicole

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Arthur Lindley <
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Date:		Thursday, 1 Nov 2007 09:44:42 +0000
Subject: 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0730 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

I suspect that what this student has been told about the truth of 
soliloquies can be traced back to Bertrand Evans who taught a version of 
the proposition in his Shakespeare classes at Berkeley in the '60s and 
used it in his two best-known books: *Shakespeare's Tragic Practice* and 
*Sh's Comic Practice.* Evans was particularly interested in situations 
of deception and thus in the ways soliloquy could be used to communicate 
matters of fact to allow the audience-in most cases-to share the point 
of view of the deceiver. If Iago professes love of Othello in dialogue 
and hatred in soliloquy, the latter is 'true'. That does not, of course, 
imply that Iago understands his feelings and motives or Othello's 
character. Antony tells us what he can't tell his followers: that his 
return to Egypt is motivated at least as much be fear of Octavius as by 
love of Cleopatra. How consistently he understands this point is very 
much open to question, of course.

Arthur Lindley

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