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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: November ::
Heroes
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0647  Thursday, 13 November 2008

[1] From:   Arthur Lindley <
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     Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 2008 09:34:06 +0000
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0640 Heroes

[2] From:   Donald Bloom <
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     Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 2008 08:12:02 -0600
     Subt:   RE: SHK 19.0640 Heroes

[3] From:   Steve Roth <
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     Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 2008 16:53:58 -0700
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0640 Heroes


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Arthur Lindley <
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Date:       Monday, 10 Nov 2008 09:34:06 +0000
Subject: 19.0640 Heroes
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0640 Heroes

Given the striking inadequacy of the summary of the action that Horatio delivers 
and the fact that, unlike us, he does not have access to Hamlet's soliloquies, I 
think he's liable to be more anti-bard than bard.

Arthur

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Donald Bloom <
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Date:       Monday, 10 Nov 2008 08:12:02 -0600
Subject: 19.0640 Heroes
Comment:    RE: SHK 19.0640 Heroes

Julia Griffin writes, "The Bishop of Carlisle in Richard II is a hero. He stays 
loyal to Richard till the end, involves himself in no treacherous plots, and 
speaks truth to
Bolingbroke in power."

I could quibble with all of this, but the middle point is particularly 
questionable. At the end of Act IV, Aumerle asks the bishop and the abbot of 
Westminster, "You high-born clergymen, / is there no plot to rid the realm of 
this pernicious blot?" The abbot responds, "My lord, / Before I freely speak my 
mind herein, / You shall not only take the sacrament / To bury mine intents, but 
also to effect / Whatever I shall happen to devise. / I see your brows are full 
of discontent, / Your hearts of sorrow and your eyes of tears: Come home with me 
to supper ; and I'll lay  / A plot shall show us all a merry day."

The plural "hearts," we assume, means that he is referring to both the bishop 
and the young duke. The bishop does not demur.

In V, ii, we (along with his father, the duke of York) discover that Aumerle is 
one of a dozen that have "ta'en the sacrament, /  And interchangeably set down 
their hands / To kill the king at Oxford." Presumably the dozen includes 
Carlisle owing to his connection to the abbot and Aumerle.

He is not mentioned specifically, when Bolingbroke, having learned of the plot 
from his uncle York, orders the duke to gather "several powers" to track them 
down, but in the last scene, he is brought alive to Bolingbroke and sent to a 
monastery rather than the block. That may indicate that he is not so guilty as 
Oxford, Salisbury, Blunt, Kent, Brocas, Sir Bennet Seely, and the abbot, but the 
play does not say so.

His speech to Bolingbroke about the sanctity of kingship may be courageous, but 
he does seem to be an assassin, albeit an unsuccessful one.

don

p.s. I find, by the way, in the array of definitions of the heroic, confirmation 
of my original point that we have lost a common idea of what it consists of.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Steve Roth <
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Date:       Tuesday, 11 Nov 2008 16:53:58 -0700
Subject: 19.0640 Heroes
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0640 Heroes

David Evett on Horatio:

 >Hamlet has assigned him a job that the prince seems
 >to think he has resources to handle:
 >to be Homer, not Achilles, not the hero, but the bard

Or perhaps we should say that Shakespeare has had Hamlet assign Horatio the role 
of Shakespeare-but the writer and chronicler, not the "actor." (And like 
Shakespeare the history writer, poor Horatio is sadly short on objective facts 
about what actually happened.)

Hero? Not to my eyes. Just a hale fellow well-met.

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