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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: October ::
Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0722  Monday, 22 October 2007

[1] 	From:	Billy Houck <
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	Date:	Sunday, 21 Oct 2007 13:16:21 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[2] 	From:	Paul E. Doniger <
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	Date:	Sunday, 21 Oct 2007 15:34:32 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[3] 	From:	Nicole Coonradt <
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	Date:	Monday, 22 Oct 2007 05:03:28 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

[4] 	From:	Arthur Lindley <
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	Date:	Monday, 22 Oct 2007 09:21:21 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Billy Houck <
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Date:		Sunday, 21 Oct 2007 13:16:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

The soliloquies that are written as asides are almost always truthful, 
especially those of Iago and Richard III.

Billy Houck

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:		Sunday, 21 Oct 2007 15:34:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

Cheryl, I suspect that your friend's professor is assuming too much. It 
seems to me that there are quite a few "dishonest" soliloquies if you 
consider that some characters may not be honest with themselves. I've 
often questioned Iago's truthfulness in his soliloquies. Does he really 
believe, for example, that Othello has slipped in between the sheets 
with Emilia? I have my doubts. Perhaps he is simply being disingenuous 
with himself, or perhaps he's trying to justify his behaviors. Is that 
untruthfulness?

Paul E. Doniger

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Nicole Coonradt <
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Date:		Monday, 22 Oct 2007 05:03:28 +0000
Subject: 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

<<She tells me the professor said by definition, a soliloquy is truthful.>
<<Is this thought of necessary truthfulness widely held?>

Well, I think that this "truthful[ness]" of the soliloquy for the 
professor may mean that the speaker is being honest about his/her 
thoughts and feelings because "by definition" the character is speaking 
to him/herself? Maybe your friend should ask the professor what was 
meant by this "definition." I'd be careful about this.

Soliloquy is thought verbalized so that the audience knows what the 
character is thinking. I don't know of any definitions that say 
"soliloquy = truth," ergo, whether *what* the person speaks is "truth" 
is a different thing. That would be to say, by extension, that "thought 
= truth," wouldn't it? Would the Bard do that? Is he ever overt and 
obvious about anything even if that equation were true? In the "To be or 
not to be?" speech, I think the most we can take as "truthful" is that 
Hamlet is very honestly wrestling with the issues he discusses via words 
that verbalize his pensive melancholy. And, actually, wouldn't it be 
entirely possible for someone to be internally self-deceptive and 
un-truthful about something? I'm sure many people, whether they speak to 
themselves out loud or in their heads, are not necessarily "truthful" 
100% of the time.

I just thought of a good example to demonstrate my position. See 
Hamlet's soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 3 when he decides against killing 
Claudius while the king is kneeling "at prayer." The lines from 
3.3.72-96 only reveal Hamlet's reaction to what he thinks is happening. 
As an audience, we have just had the privilege of hearing Claudius 
remark about his inability to pray because he is unwilling to act by 
giving up his queen and his crown and so we know that part of what 
Hamlet says is most certainly not true. Hamlet says he will not "take 
[Claudius] in the purging of his soul, / When he is fit and seasoned for 
his passage" (3.3.85-6). While this represents the "truthful" reaction 
on the part of Hamlet, it is not the "truth" of what is really happening 
with Claudius.

Will be curious to see what other members have to say about the 
soliloquy as defined by your friend's professor.

Best,
Nicole Coonradt

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Arthur Lindley <
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Date:		Monday, 22 Oct 2007 09:21:21 +0000
Subject: 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0714 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie

Short answer: No. Slightly longer answer: Virtually every soliloquy 
Macbeth has consists of rationalization and self-deception. Antony has 
one short soliloquy; it consists of fooling himself about why he is 
going to ditch his wife and run back to Egypt. The proposition is 'true' 
only if it means that we're supposed to think that this is what the 
character is thinking. In that form, of course, it's also meaningless.

Arthur Lindley

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