2009

Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0344  Monday, 29 June 2009

[1] From:   Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Wednesday, 24 Jun 2009 22:35:17 -0500
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0337 Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically

[2] From:   Felix de Villiers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 25 Jun 2009 09:45:33 +0200
     Subj:   Hamlet and Ophelia, Typology


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 24 Jun 2009 22:35:17 -0500
Subject: 20.0337 Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0337 Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically

About typological readings of Ophelia (and other things): It helps to 
remember that the literal meaning of 'allegory' is 'saying other' and 
that it was a technique of reading before it became a technique of 
writing. You take the 'other-saying' route when, for whatever reason you 
don't like what the text appears to be saying on the face of it.

You can read anything allegorically or 'typologically' and, given the 
initial problem allegory was meant to solve -- i.e. that you want the 
text to say something else -- there is no end of it. There are, of 
course, ways of writing allegorically, but once you're in the habit of 
reading allegorically there is no easy way of drawing a line between 
what you would like for the text to mean and what you think the author 
intended.

There are a variety of ways in which one could put Hamlet/Ophelia, 
Othello/Desdemona, and Red Cross/Una in the same paragraph and learn 
from the comparison. What you see clearly (or I see clearly) is that 
Spenser writes very explicitly in a figurative framework and that 
Shakespeare does not. You learn something from looking at Shakespearean 
situations 'as if' they were figurative, as long as you are aware of the 
difference.

I remember Northrop Frye referring to Roy Battenhouse as the 'peeping 
Thomist'. I learned a lot from Battenhouse in a graduate seminar at 
Indiana many years ago, but often the things you learn from a teacher 
are not the things he meant to teach. What I took away was that some 
connections are more tenuous than others and that to force them is to 
destroy them. 'Allegory' is a technique of making a text mean something 
else. The trick is to know when and where to stop.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Felix de Villiers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 25 Jun 2009 09:45:33 +0200
Subject:    Hamlet and Ophelia, Typology

Concerning typologies, I have a revolutionary statement to make: Ophelia 
is Ophelia. Undoubtedly types exist in Shakespeare: the fool, the 
villain, the tragic hero. Is Hamlet not, among other things an 
apotheosis of the type of the fool? Like our editor, I felt 
uncomfortable with this theme from the beginning. In the end the 
typologies can be just about anything that pops into our heads: Ophelia 
as Divine Wisdom, the Virgin Mary, Laertes as the Messiah, and so on. In 
my last comment (18/06/09), I went along with this game, but really with 
the intention of undermining it and going more deeply into the play. 
With the richness of detail and characterisation in his plays, 
Shakespeare himself undermines the allegories that may be hovering as 
abstractions above his theatre. I can imagine his caustic reaction if 
someone had asked him whether Ophelia represented the Virgin Mary. I 
know that there have been plays with heavily allegorical figures in 
them, but Shakespeare humanises these out of recognition.

"To me, I humbly confess, 'allegory', rightly or wrongly, means 
nuisance," wrote Sir Leslie Stephens, Virginia Woolf's father, in an 
essay on Tennyson. "The meaning which it sticks on to a poem is 
precisely what the poem cannot properly mean. (-) But when the 
personages, instead of obeying the laws of their own world, are 
converted into allegory, they lose their dream (fictional FdV) reality 
without gaining the reality of ordinary life. The arbitrariness 
especially ceases to be delightful when we suspect that the real 
creatures of the fancy have become the puppets of a judicious moralist."

Apparently Tennyson was asked whether the three Queens that appear on 
the lake in the Morte d'Arthur were not Faith, Hope and Charity. He 
replied that they were and were not; that they might well be the three 
Virtues or the three Graces, but added that there was nothing in his 
poem that might not be explained without any mystery or allegory 
whatever.- When Ophelia is described as the Virgin Mary, she loses her 
fascination, she loses herself.

My citations of Leslie Stephens come from an old schoolbook of mine:
Tennyson, Oxford University Press, London, 1967

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

The Hounds of Theseus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0343  Monday, 29 June 2009

From:       Scot Zarela <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 24 Jun 2009 17:02:21 -0400
Subject: 20.0336 The Hounds of Theseus
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0336 The Hounds of Theseus

JD Markel writes: "If there is anything in nature less musical than a 
pack of hounds, I do not know it."

Mr. Markel is no hunter, then.

Scot

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

Allusions Websites

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0341  Monday, 29 June 2009

From:       Annie Martirosyan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Sunday, 28 Jun 2009 11:34:00 +0500
Subject:    Allusions Websites

Can anyone, please, point out websites where I can find illustrations of 
usages of allusions from Shakespeare. More precisely, I am exploring his 
word-formation and want to see to what extent the patterns are reflected 
in modern English in the sense of occasionalisms or allusive 
paraphrases, like the article "I'll unsay it again" by Ed Koch 
(http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-6557138.html)

Thank you.
Annie

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

TEMPEST Weblog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0342  Monday, 29 June 2009

From:       The Independent Eye <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 24 Jun 2009 12:18:56 -0700
Subject:    TEMPEST Weblog

Friends-

Update on our TEMPEST weblog:  http://www.independenteye.org/news/index.html

The blog includes storyboards, photos, analyses of character and text 
from the past 37 weeks of pre-production, as well as reflections on the 
process of putting this complex thing together. We're just now going 
into rehearsal for a September 18th opening, with a five-week run at 
Sonoma County Repertory in Sebastopol, CA, followed by a tour.

It's a live theatrical animation, five actors with puppets, masks, 
video, and a new sound score, very much focused on the Shakespearean 
text in its bizarre mix of reality and metaphor. As I work, I find it's 
tending toward a relatively "straight" directorial style, but it feels 
as if the emotional *truth* of the story is emerging with fresh vision.

We welcome posted comments and questions. No production is remotely 
definitive, but I hope the ongoing blog can be a valuable resource 
record of one theatre's creative struggle to bring this magnificent play 
to birth.

Peace & joy-

Conrad Bishop
The Independent Eye, Ltd.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

"Done" in Macbeth

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0340  Monday, 29 June 2009

From:       Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 29 Jun 2009 23:14:58 +1200
Subject:    "Done" in Macbeth

Dear Colleagues,

I've been trying without success lately to track down a critical 
discussion I recall but cannot place of nuances among the three 
repetitions of "done" in the famous lines of Macbeth's that "If it were 
done when 'tis done then 'twere well/ It were done quickly." This may be 
so familiar as not to be localizable, or I may simply not have found the 
right commentary yet. I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Best wishes,
Tom

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.