The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0745  Friday, 30 March 2001

From:           Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 26 Mar 2001 16:48:27 -0800
Subject: 12.0708 Re: Weed Noted
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0708 Re: Weed Noted

>>> The question is, how did Shakespeare come to know so much
about this
>>> disease, unless he himself was a victim of it?
>> He might have been married to one who had it. :)
> This may sound merely clever, but I think it is also wise.  One
of the
> symptoms of this illness is that the one suffering-- or bouncing
off the
> walls with joyous energy-- believes that way the world looks in
> part of the cycle is the way the world is, and will be from now
on.  It
> is usually spouses, servants, friends, who notice the change and
> eventually the pattern of changes.
> Once it has been brought to the victim's attention, he may
become an
> observer and recorder of its effects in himself and others.
> Geralyn Horton, Playwright

MDD is thought to be genetic. One of the diagnostic tools is an
examination of the family history for evidence of it or related
behaviors (unexplained hospitalizations or vacations, extreme
eccentricities, suicide attempts) in other family members. Dr. Kay
Jamieson, a psychiatrist whose books are my main source of information
on MDD, says that often MDD sufferers are drawn to each other and marry
each other, thus making it almost a certainty that one or more children
or grandchildren will have it.

Whatever the external inspiration for Taming of the Shrew, I personally
think Petruchio is a manic-depressive. Where Kate's behavior causes most
men to run away, he is attracted to her because he recognizes his own
stresses in her behavior. (Both sets of behviors are classic MDD.) When
finally she realizes that her husband suffers from the same problem she
does, Kate gains a great sympathy for him and so is willing to sacrifice
her ego in a matter of very little real importance to her just to make
him happy. It's really a lovely play.  MDD folks may not be able to make
each other happy, but they really do understand each other  better than
anyone else.

There's an awful lot of madness in Shakespeare, and an awful lot of fear
of it.

     Stephanie Hughes

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