The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1019  Thursday, 6 May 2004

From:           Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 6 May 2004 08:25:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 15.1007 Coriolanus 4.5
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1007 Coriolanus 4.5

There is a lot to think through in Martin Steward's reply. I would like
to key in on this passage:

 >The situation in Antium gestures towards that in the Jacobean court as
 >well: as one of the Servingmen complains, Aufidius "makes a mistress of"
 >Martius, "But the bottom of the news is, our general is cut i' th'
 >middle, and but one half of what he was yesterday; for the other has
 >half by the entreaty and grant of the whole table" (IV.v.191-200).
 >Aufidius is "cut i' th' middle" not only politically, in terms of
 >divided loyalties and the challenge to his leadership, but also
 >essentially, in that he has abjured femiminity (his wife and the ideal
 >of sexual regeneration as a political principle) in favour of a perverse
 >masculinity (Martius and all-out war as anal rape). James's homosexual
 >dalliances and negelect of his family similarly cut him in half, because
 >his wife and son were not properly under his control and mounted an
 >"unnatural" assault upon his government's policies. The aptness of the
 >Servingman's "bottom" image should perhaps pass without further comment.

I'm not sure that Aufidius has abjured femininity; perhaps he has become
feminine: "cut i' th' middle."

Professor Steward gives source references for the material given above
the passage quoted I've quoted (Leggatt, Kernan, and others). Please let
us know if the remainder of your posting, on the servingmen, is your own
because I would like to read further on them. I am most grateful.

Jack Heller
Huntington College

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