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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: August ::
Redheads
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0542  Monday, 20 August 2007

[1] 	From: 		Peter Groves <
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	Date: 		Friday, 17 Aug 2007 22:29:49 +1000
	Subj: 		RE: SHK 18.0537 Redheads

[2] 	From: 		David Basch <
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	Date: 		Friday, 17 Aug 2007 10:04:35 -0400
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0537 Redheads

[3] 	From: 		Nicole Coonradt <
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	Date: 		Friday, 17 Aug 2007 14:47:04 +0000
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0537 Redheads

[4] 	From: 		Tom Rutter <
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	Date: 		Monday, 20 Aug 2007 09:57:14 +0100
	Subj: 		RE: SHK 18.0537 Redheads

[5] 	From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 		Monday, 20 Aug 2007 10:29:02 +0100
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0532 Redheads


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Groves <
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Date: 		Friday, 17 Aug 2007 22:29:49 +1000
Subject: 18.0537 Redheads
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0537 Redheads

Enobarbus is, of course, properly Aheno-barbus or Copper-beard.

Peter Groves
Monash University

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Basch <
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Date: 		Friday, 17 Aug 2007 10:04:35 -0400
Subject: 18.0537 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0537 Redheads

Mary Rosenberg reads something intrinsically sinister about hair color 
as the view of Elizabethans based on Celia's comment about Orlando's 
hair in As You Like It, when Rosalind in a down mood says to Celia:

       ROSALIND        His very hair is of the dissembling colour.

Celia, ever empathetic, then comments in supporting agreement in an 
image that calls up allusions to betrayal, mirroring Rosalind's fears. 
She says:

       CELIA   Something browner than Judas's marry, his kisses are
                   Judas's own children.

But the lines that follow in the play do not support the assertions of 
intrinsic badness in hair color as Rosalind takes back her intemperate 
remark and pronounces what Orlando's hair looks like as "excellent" and 
his disparaged kisses as most holy. Here are the lines in context:

     ROSALIND        His very hair is of the dissembling colour.

     CELIA   Something browner than Judas's marry, his kisses are
             Judas's own children.

     ROSALIND        I' faith, his hair is of a good colour.

     CELIA   An excellent colour: your chestnut was ever the only colour.

     ROSALIND        And his kissing is as full of sanctity as the touch
                             of holy bread.

As to the subject of "Redheads" in general, my only comment is that 
Elizabethans seem to have had a knee jerk reaction about the evil-ness 
of Jews, a condition that supposedly showed itself like a badge in what 
Jews looked like-Jews that they had never seen. Hence Shylock was given 
a red wig and big nose to make this sentiment most apparent.

It is only later when commentators truly take account of the character 
of Shylock as revealed by his lines in the play and the context of those 
lines that we get a more humanized sense of him in theatrical 
performances. It is then that he can be regarded sympathetically as a 
father and widower who is grievously betrayed by his only daughter and 
faces a hostile community indifferent to his pain and delighting in 
rubbing it in.

That the "red wig" is not Shakespeare's characterization of Shylock is 
made abundantly clear when Portia arrives at the Venetian court and has 
to ask "Which is the Jew and which the merchant?" Obviously, Shylock has 
no distinguishing horns.

David Basch

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Nicole Coonradt <
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Date: 		Friday, 17 Aug 2007 14:47:04 +0000
Subject: 18.0537 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0537 Redheads

RE the current discussion on "Gingers":  Per the myriad posts yesterday, 
if the Bard did use red hair on characters to suggest evil, what are we 
to make of this curious detail in light of the fact that both Henry VIII 
and Elizabeth I were Gingers????  All the portraits I've ever seen 
depict them thusly.  Come to think of it, most of the images of Anne 
Boleyn show her as a redhead as well.  Hmmmm.

--Nicole Coonradt

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Tom Rutter <
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Date: 		Monday, 20 Aug 2007 09:57:14 +0100
Subject: 18.0537 Redheads
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0537 Redheads

With respect to Mary Rosenberg's point about Enobarbus as Judas at 
Antony's feast: Banquo's ghost with its 'gory locks' is another redhead 
at the feast, isn't it? - here, admittedly, the Judas parallel doesn't 
really work, but the visual image could have created some odd associations.

Tom Rutter

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Monday, 20 Aug 2007 10:29:02 +0100
Subject: 18.0532 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0532 Redheads

Since Queen Elizabeth wore bright ginger wigs, there's a possibility 
that the old mystery play tradition of villains wearing red wigs took on 
a subversive function on the Elizabethan stage.

ROSALIND     His very hair is of the disembling colour.
CELIA            Something browner than Judas's.  Marry, his kisses are 
Judas's own children.

Peter Bridgman

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