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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: April ::
Solid Flesh Once More
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0208  Saturday, 5 April 2008

[1] 	From:	David Bishop <
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	Date:	Friday, 4 Apr 2008 03:01:25 -0400
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.02037 Solid Flesh Once More

[2] 	From:	Joseph Egert <
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	Date:	Friday, 4 Apr 2008 14:50:32 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.02034 Solid Flesh Once More


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		David Bishop <
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Date:		Friday, 4 Apr 2008 03:01:25 -0400
Subject: 19.02037 Solid Flesh Once More
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.02037 Solid Flesh Once More

Terence Hawkes responds to my question about the meaning of having a 
meaning with some ambiguity. The counterposed crows, flying off to sleep 
in the rooky wood, and night's black agents rousing like dreams--maybe 
the dreams of crows--to take their prey, seem both to come at Macbeth's 
call for "seeling night" like an early promise of success. "So prithee 
go with me" whispers the pun, and signals the tension: you can't prey 
and pray. To lose the ability to pray is a terrible isolation, a loss of 
refuge, a casting out. You must have some sense of what Macbeth's 
religion means to apprehend his feeling. Yet everyone must feel the ill 
in murdering one's fellows, along with the impulse of self-protection: 
religion expresses a clarified aspect of more primordial depths.

Macbeth's answered prayer for night, like Lady Macbeth's, blinds the 
vision which if it saw would have to pity, and hides the bloody deed as 
it hides the crows who vanish, though it's hard to see why forlornly, 
into the wood. Forlornly alone among the alien rooks? I'd say all the 
black birds are blending into the darkness as night falls. It's Macbeth 
who's forlorn, under his resolution. Dark on dark presages darkness, and 
a dark night of the soul.

What exactly is the ambiguity here that somehow "informs our notion of 
the play's tragedy"? And why are the crows irrelevant? Irrelevance is a 
relative term. Finding relevance in atmospheric detail can be 
considering too curiously, as I think Harold Goddard does, for example, 
when he discovers extensive thematic relevance in the shapes Hamlet 
points to in the clouds. Those atmospheric crows, blending into the 
background as night falls, give nightfall an ominous moral flavor, as 
they memorably set the physical scene. But maybe there's an irrelevant 
ambiguity I'm missing.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Joseph Egert <
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Date:		Friday, 4 Apr 2008 14:50:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 19.02034 Solid Flesh Once More
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.02034 Solid Flesh Once More

David Bishop writes:

 >Surely, not to be entirely Theoretical, you [Steve Roth]
 >make that distinction, which involves recognizing the possibility
 >that what I, or you, say is going on in the play could be significantly,
 >if not absolutely, off the mark."

That "mark" being Shakespeare's intent. No?

Joe Egert

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