Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: February ::
Heroes
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0080  Wednesday, 25 February 2009

[1]  From:   JD Markel <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
      Date:   Friday, 20 Feb 2009 19:33:29 -0800 (PST)
      Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0074 Heroes

[2]  From:   John W Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
      Date:   Friday, 20 Feb 2009 22:52:32 -0500
      Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0074 Heroes

[3]  From:   Conrad Cook <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
      Date:   Sunday, 22 Feb 2009 03:02:39 -0500
      Subj:   Heroes


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:      JD Markel <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:      Friday, 20 Feb 2009 19:33:29 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 20.0074 Heroes
Comment:   Re: SHK 20.0074 Heroes

"A 357 magnum is not a deadly weapon if you load it with blanks instead 
of live rounds."

Unfortunately, untrue. Actors Brandon Lee and John Erik Hexum could 
attest to that, had they lived. A prop weapon, like any weapon, should 
always be pointed in a safe direction, whatever one imagines about its 
safety or lack of dangerousness.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:      John W Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:      Friday, 20 Feb 2009 22:52:32 -0500
Subject: 20.0074 Heroes
Comment:   Re: SHK 20.0074 Heroes

Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

 >Claudius is the king of Denmark, but in fact he is a
 >murderer and usurper, which renders his rule illegal.
 >
 >Oh, was that the Viking law? Indeed, was it English law
 >(if so, does it apply to Henry VII and his successors)?

Henry VII did not poison Richard III by stealth.

Donald Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

 >>Conrad Cook writes: "Well, let's be accurate. Fencing foils are not
 >>deadly weapons, provided that the bate has not been removed or
 >>poison applied.
 >>
 >>Not wanting to quibble, but the "provided" in that sentence makes my
 >>point.
 >
 >A 357 magnum is not a deadly weapon if you load it with blanks
 >instead of live rounds.

This is, strictly speaking, off-topic, but . . . oh yes it bloody well 
is. A paper wad moving at more than the speed of sound will smash right 
through bone.

 >But if someone should sneak in a real one --

Or just do it by plain dumb-assery.

 >I still get cold chills about that.

I have a young friend who was one of the several people whose 
unmalicious, but undisciplined actions led to the Wild West City 
incident a few years ago. I suspect he'll be having nightmares for fifty 
years to come.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:      Conrad Cook <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:      Sunday, 22 Feb 2009 03:02:39 -0500
Subject:   Heroes

Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >wrote:

 >Claudius is the king of Denmark, but in fact he is a
 >murderer and usurper, which renders his rule illegal.
 >
 >Oh, was that the Viking law? Indeed, was it English law (if so, does it
 >apply to Henry VII and his successors)?

You may be right, although I doubt that a nation would fully accept a 
king who had too openly committed treason against his predecessor, open 
rebellion aside. But Shakespeare is more interested in drama than 
technical accuracy (as we also find elsewhere), and Claudius makes clear 
he fears scandal and he fears his secret murder becoming known: he dares 
not put the strong law on Hamlet; he frets disproportionately about 
Ophelia's mad talk breeding scandal; he flees the Mousetrap.

 >Laertes was chosen by the people to be king, but he
 >forfeited that kingship in return for Claudius's promise
 >of revenge.
 >
 >It was not a democracy.

But Laertes, like Claudius, has entered the world of what one can get 
away with. And his insurrection is successful. He does not claim the 
kingship because he is not ambitious, and because his goal is purely 
revenge.

 >Hamlet is the hereditary king, but has had trouble in
 >claiming the throne.
 >
 >Nor was it hereditary. As Shakespeare knew, and said in the play two or
 >three times, the Danish crown was elective, with the choice falling on
 >an assembly of nobles.

Yeah, that's interesting. Hamlet says that Claudius popped in between 
the election and his hopes: it may be that, by marrying Gertrude, 
Claudius short-circuited the electoral process. King by marriage. -- By 
a shady, not-entirely-legitimate marriage, by Hamlet's account. And he's 
not exactly a sovereign king, either: he names Gertrude "jointress," 
which implies they share authority equally.

In contrast, Hamlet begins by openly defying Claudius, only to obey his 
mother. It becomes, therefore, open to question whether he has obeyed 
Claudius after all, and thereby acknowledged his authority -- Claudius 
claims he has. Throughout the play, Hamlet puts on the royal "we" more 
and more conspicuously, until at the end he is swapping authentic orders 
from an illegitimate king with forged orders from the legitimate heir.

People have a tendency, when confronted with an ambiguous situation, to 
simplify it too quickly. But Claudius's claim on kingship is *deeply* 
ambiguous, because it is suitable to Shakespeare's dramatic purposes to 
cast the legitimacy of Claudius's rule into doubt.

Certainly, I think I have grounds to stand by my earlier claim, that all 
three members of the three-way duel are kings who fall short of kingship.

Donald Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >wrote:

 >Conrad Cook writes: "Well, let's be accurate. Fencing foils are not
 >deadly weapons, provided that the bate has not been removed or poison
 >applied.
 >
 >Not wanting to quibble, but the "provided" in that sentence makes my 
point.
 >
 >A 357 magnum is not a deadly weapon if you load it with blanks instead
 >of live rounds. But if someone should sneak in a real one --
 >
 >I still get cold chills about that.

My understanding was that you found fault with Hamlet's decision to 
accept a duel with Laertes using deadly weapons. And there are good 
grounds to fault him that decision. My point is that fencing foils are 
really very safe. Tampering with them in this fashion is not like 
putting a live round in a gun which ought to have blanks, but rather 
like cutting the brake lines on a car.

Conrad

[Editor's Note: I think it is about time for this thread to end. -HMC]

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.