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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: November ::
Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0766  Tuesday, 13 November 2007

[1] 	From:	Nicole Coonradt <
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	Date:	Friday, 09 Nov 2007 15:21:20 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[2] 	From:	Steve Sohmer <
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	Date:	Friday, 9 Nov 2007 10:51:38 EST
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[3] 	From:	Larry Weiss <
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	Date:	Friday, 09 Nov 2007 11:55:16 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Nicole Coonradt <
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Date:		Friday, 09 Nov 2007 15:21:20 +0000
Subject: 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

RE Lynn Brenner's comments today:

 >But that doesn't mean the characters aren't telling us the truth as they
 >perceive it. This is merely a question of theatrical convention. In this
 >case, the convention is that characters may lie to other characters, but
 >when speaking directly to us, they say what they see as the truth-or to
 >put it another way ("thought bubbles") what they'd like to think is the
 >truth.

I think this takes us back to square one. What I suspect is that there 
may have been either a miscommunication or a misunderstanding about what 
the professor told the student. Insofar as this address to the audience 
represents some kind of truth or reality *to the speaker* of the 
soliloquy, I think that's a safe assumption, but we still have to 
realize that we are often in the position of special knowledge as the 
audience. There are times when we are privy to information that the 
speaker of the soliloquy is not. I go back to my Hamlet/Claudius example 
from an earlier post in this thread.

How could we know if a character knowingly lied to us in soliloquy (did 
someone mention Iago earlier?)? If the soliloquy puts us into a 
character's head, I'm not sure how this could work. Eager to hear if 
anyone comes up with an example of this "I-am-deceiving-the-audience" 
moment.

Best,
Nicole Coonradt

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Steve Sohmer <
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Date:		Friday, 9 Nov 2007 10:51:38 EST
Subject: 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

Lynne Brynner asked if anyone can "cite instances in which a character 
knowingly lies to us, i.e. is shown to have been consciously misleading 
us in a  soliloquy?"

Does anyone believe that Othello has done Iago's office between his sheets?

Rather, isn't Iago indulging in self-deception and/or rationalization?

This moment supports (perhaps proves) that soliloquies were monologues 
interieurs not addressed to the audience.

Marlowe's Maltese speaks to the audience. That device, which seems so 
post-Freudian and moderne to us, would have seemed dated to Elizabethan 
  actors and audiences recently freed from the preachy conventions of 
the morality plays.

But that was Marlowe's point; he was writing a mock morality.

Shakespeare's Chorus(es) address the audience, his soliloquisers  don't. 
Consider the function of Chorus in R&J in contrast to the play's 
soliloquies. If I'm not mistaken, when Chorus is employed in a play he 
is always the first speaker, i.e. he speaks before the play begins and 
thereby remains a non-character. Characters are only permitted to speak 
to the audience after the play ends, e.g. 2H4, AYLI, TEM.

Rylance's Hamlet wasn't really speaking to the audience at all, but to 
generations of scholars and commentators who have upbraided Hamlet as a 
  temporizer.

Then again, I've always believed that the opening line of JC, the very 
first line of dialogue spoken at the original Globe, was addressed to 
the  audience.

Hope this helps,
Steve

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Larry Weiss <
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Date:		Friday, 09 Nov 2007 11:55:16 -0500
Subject: 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0757 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

 >Can anyone cite instances in which a character knowingly lies
 >to us-i.e., is shown to have been consciously misleading us in a 
soliloquy?

Not only are misleading soliloquies as rare as hens' teeth, there is an 
extreme paucity of deceptive plot development in the Canon. As much as 
the characters deceive each other, the audience is not usually fooled. 
The only exception I can think of is Hermione's non-death; and even that 
might not be a good example if those who think that WS originally 
intended for Hermione to die and then revised the ending are correct. 
The closest other instance of this sort of thing is the revelation that 
the Abbess in C/E is actually Egeon's wife; but that is just a surprise, 
not a misdirection.

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