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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: March ::
Leah's Ring

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0113  Thursday, 11 March 2010

[1]  From:      Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
     Date:      March 6, 2010 12:13:02 AM EST
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0102  Leah's Ring 

[2]  From:      JD Markel < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
     Date:      March 9, 2010 5:42:05 PM EST
     Subj:      Leah's Ring 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:         March 6, 2010 12:13:02 AM EST
Subject: 21.0102  Leah's Ring
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0102  Leah's Ring

William Godshalk wrote:

>Leah is not Shylock's wife. She's only a few words on the page
>until a reader, director, actor gives her a back story.
>
>How many back stories can we give her? She was Shylock's betrothed
>but died in a plague before they could be wed. She gave him the
>ring on her death bed. No, she was his Italian lover who was forced
>into a convent by her family to keep her from marrying him. The ring
>was given as a memento of their love that was not to be. No, he met
>her during carnival. They were both masked. They danced all night.
>As morning broke, she slipped a ring on his finger, and whispered
>her name in his ear. Actually her name was Rhea, but she had a
>slight speech impediment. She disappeared down a dark alley.
>
>Silly? You bet.

Yes, Bill, it's very silly. But surely Shakespeare expected his audience to give some content to "I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor." It would be difficult to imagine that he did not envision that the audience would assume that Leah was a old love, wife or not (but most logically a deceased wife), and that the ring carried some sentimental value for Shylock in addition to its material worth.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         JD Markel < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:         March 9, 2010 5:42:05 PM EST
Subject:      Leah's Ring 

"How many back stories can we give her?"

She was unattractive, unlike her sister.

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