The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0200  Wednesday, 24 April 2013


From:        David Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         April 23, 2013 9:21:59 PM EDT

Subject:     Greenblatt’s Freedom


In Shakespeare’s Freedom (42) Stephen Greenblatt quotes these lines:


O me, what eyes hath love put in my head,

Which have no correspondence with true sight!

Or if they have, where is my judgement fled,

That censures falsely what they see aright? (Sonnet 148)


Greenblatt explains: “To censure falsely is to regard as beautiful what ‘true sight’ knows is ugly, and therefore to contradict the testimony of the eyes”.


I think Greenblatt is mistaken. The last two lines could be paraphrased: Or if the eyes of love have correspondence with true sight, my judgment falsely censures my love for being unbeautiful. The oddness of saying that “censure falsely” means “regard as beautiful” might warn us off this interpretation, though perhaps an attraction to the esoteric can override the warning.


I wonder if others agree. 


Best wishes, 

David Bishop


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