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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: July ::
Question: Appropriate Quotation
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0440  Thursday, 24 July 2008

[1] From:   Sylvia Morris <
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     Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 09:48:45 +0100
     Subt:   RE: SHK 19.0428 Question: Appropriate Quotation

[2] From:   Joseph Egert <
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     Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 14:35:02 -0700 (PDT)
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0419 Question: Appropriate Quotation


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Sylvia Morris <
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Date:       Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 09:48:45 +0100
Subject: 19.0428 Question: Appropriate Quotation
Comment:    RE: SHK 19.0428 Question: Appropriate Quotation

Take a look at all of Richard's speech in Henry VI Part 3, Act 3 Scene 2.

It's a brilliant speech, over 70 lines long, but in particular

"Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile,
And cry "Content" to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions"

Sylvia Morris
Head of Shakespeare Collections
Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Joseph Egert <
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Date:       Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 14:35:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 19.0419 Question: Appropriate Quotation
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0419 Question: Appropriate Quotation

Phyllis Gorfain asks:

 >A colleague in politics sent me this inquiry. Can anyone help with an
 >appropriate quotation?
 >
 >"Is there a quote that captures the idea of speaking kind words while
 >thrusting in the knife -- that is, empty rhetoric combined with
 >aggression? Perhaps from one of the political plays?"

How about these?

   --BRUTUS: Good words are better than bad strokes, Octavius.
     ANTONY: In your bad strokes, Brutus, you give good words.
                    Witness the hole you made in Caesar's heart,
                    Crying 'Long live! hail, Caesar! [JC, V:1]

         (JE: The priestly parricide or pre-Christian Son offers up the Father 
in sacrifice to save
          Roman-ity)

   --RICHARD: So smooth he daubed his vice with show of virtue
                     That his apparent open guilt omitted--[R3,  III:5]

   --RICHARD: But then I sigh and, with a piece of scripture,
                     Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
                     And thus I clothe my naked villainy
                     With odd old ends stol'n from holy writ,
                     And seem a saint, when most I play the devil. [R3,  I:3]

   --RICHARD: To say the truth, so Judas kissed his master,
                      And cried, 'All hail!' when as he meant all harm. [1H6,  V:7]

               (JE: As did the Sisters Weird on greeting Macbeth.)

   --PAROLES: He would lie, sir, with such volubility
                       that you would think truth were a fool. [AW,  IV:3]

   --CLAUDIO: O, what authority and show of truth
                     Can cunning sin cover itself withal!  [ADO,  IV:1]

   --ANTONIO: The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
                      An evil soul producing holy witness
                      Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
                      A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
                      O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!  [MofV,  I:3]

           (JE: Who is the rotten apple with goodly outside in this play?)

   --BASSANIO: So may the outward shows be least themselves;
                        The world is still deceived with ornament.
                        In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
                        But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
                        Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
                        What damned error, but some sober brow
                        Will bless it, and approve it with a text,
                        Hiding the grossness with fair ornament? [MofV, III:2]

            (JE: Whose gracious voice obscures the show of evil in court?)

   --BASSANIO: ...In a word,
                       The seeming truth which cunning times put on/
                       To entrap the wisest. [MofV,  III:2]

   --TROILUS: Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart;
                    Th'effect doth operate another way. [T&C,  V:3]

   --ALBANY/EDGAR: Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. [LEAR,  V:3]

        (JE: Is Shakespeare here contrasting Cordelia's opening response to Lear 
with that of her
               sisters?)

   --IAGO: Men should be what they seem,
               Or, those that be not, would they might seem none! [OTH,  III:3]

   --BANQUO: But 'tis strange;
                     And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
                     The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
                     Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
                     In deepest consequence. [MAC,  I:3]

   --MACBETH: I pull in resolution, and begin
                      To doubt th'Equivocation of the fiend
                      That lies like truth. [MAC,   V:5]

I've restricted my examples, for the most part, to insincere speech. There are 
many more that explore the gap between substance and show, which encompass but 
do not specify speech.

The arch-dissimulator is, of course, Shakespeare himself, who paints his word 
pageants to keep in false gaze those whose "eye pries not to th'interior." It is 
his master metaphor.

Regards,
Joe Egert

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