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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: November ::
Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0777  Saturday, 24 November 2007

[1] 	From:	Aaron Azlant <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 13:25:39 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[2] 	From:	Carol Morley <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 18:45:31 +0000
	Subj:	RE: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[3] 	From:	Larry Weiss <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 14:14:25 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[4] 	From:	John Briggs <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 20:59:38 -0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[5] 	From:	John W. Kennedy <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 23:10:26 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[6] 	From:	David Evett <
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	Date:	Sunday, 18 Nov 2007 22:53:04 -0500
	Subj:	Subject: Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Aaron Azlant <
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Date:		Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 13:25:39 -0500
Subject: 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

Whatever else the soliloquies are, they are also an opportunity for 
Shakespeare to present information directly to his audience in a way 
that is frequently more explicit than character dialog.

This is not to say, however, that this information isn't frequently 
problematic-see, for example, William Empson's "Up-dating Revenge 
Tragedy"; among other things, Empson does an excellent job tracing how 
each of Hamlet's soliloquies is inappropriate to the plot context that 
it is introduced into, both in terms of what is discussed and what is not.

For instance, why is the "to be or not to be" speech delivered after the 
ghost's visit would seem to give Hamlet some purpose, why is Ophelia not 
discussed despite the focus on her relationship with Hamlet over the 
previous few scenes, why does Hamlet refer to death as a metaphoric 
country that no traveler has ever returned from despite the fact of the 
ghost's visit, etc. Additionally, why does Hamlet's "how all occasions 
do inform against me" speech assume that he has the "means" to act even 
though he is being shipped off to England by force?

I don't know if the soliloquies offer the chance for characters to lie 
outright, but they certainly are a frequent opportunity for Shakespeare 
to misdirect.

Best,
Aaron Azlant

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Carol Morley <
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Date:		Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 18:45:31 +0000
Subject: 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	RE: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

A hen's incisor for Larry:

In Heminge's Fatal Contract, the wicked queen's right-hand Eunuch isn't 
all he/she/it seems, keeping up the misdirection right till Act V.

(Will this little teaser make my edition a pre-Christmas smash after all? )

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Larry Weiss <
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Date:		Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 14:14:25 -0500
Subject: 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

 >Does anyone believe that Othello has done Iago's office
 >between his sheets?
 >
 >Rather, isn't Iago indulging in self-deception and/or rationalization?

Perhaps  Iago is wrong about the facts, but he does not misrepresent his 
misguided state of mind.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		John Briggs <
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Date:		Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 20:59:38 -0000
Subject: 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

Steve Sohmer wrote:

 >Shakespeare's Chorus(es) address the audience, his soliloquisers don't.

In "Henry V", Shakespeare (possibly unwittingly) presents us with the 
concept of an unreliable Chorus :-)

John Briggs

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		John W. Kennedy <
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Date:		Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 23:10:26 -0500
Subject: 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

Steve Sohmer <
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 >

 >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.

I cannot for the life of me see why. Is anyone maintaining that a 
soliloquy is addressed to the audience by the actor? I don't see that. A 
soliloquy is rather addressed to the audience by the character. Is that 
illogical? Yes. That's why it's called "breaking" the fourth wall. It's 
a convention, like the distinction between thought bubbles and speech 
balloons in comics.

John W. Kennedy

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		David Evett <
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Date:		Sunday, 18 Nov 2007 22:53:04 -0500
Subject: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Subject: Re: SHK 18.0766 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

 >Characters are only permitted to speak to the audience
 >after the play ends, e.g. 2H4, AYLI, TEM.

All characters speaking from the stage, after whatever the convention is 
that signals the beginning of the performance has been carried out, are 
speaking to the audience. The question is whether there is a further 
convention conveyed by the manner of that speaking that signals to the 
audience that the address is as it were unmediated--not ricocheting to 
them off that character's own monitoring consciousness or another 
character or a real or implied mirror (as in the opening soliloquy of R3 
in the Loncraine film) or some supervising diety. And who is to 
determine when that second convention will be enacted--who will give 
permission, to repeat Steve Sohmer's term? All of us who go often to the 
theater have repeatedly seen such moments, in performances of 
Shakespeare plays and others, sometimes in forms as egregious as when a 
character sits in an audience member's lap and plays with a lock of the 
audience member's hair or beard. Hamlet's advice to the players strongly 
implies that such moments occurred in the Elizabethan playhouse. Who is 
Sohmer, then, or anybody, to know so confidently that playwrights 
themselves have not tacitly given such permissions? I have certainly 
experienced the unmediated address of a good many Iagos and Edmunds and 
Richard Gloucesters as expressing as much or more dramatic truth 
(whatever that means) as those other versions of those personages who 
scrupulously observed the nominal barrier between stage and auditorium.

David Evett

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