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William Shakespeare

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  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Orinoco, to me, is just a bunch of Nobel Savage wankery. I understand its cultural importance, but meh.

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  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    I would LOVE to see a production of R&J done exploring the view that Roz and others have layed out.

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  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    I would LOVE to see a production of R&J done exploring the view that Roz and others have layed out.

    it's difficult to really do that. I mean, you could in a small theatre space if you relied on the body language of the actors to pull it off. But it's all in there already. It just takes a moment to stop, reread the passage without the overly flowing 'romantic' tinge, and then go 'holy crap'.

    My prof loved to remind us of how the gender roles were reversed between Romeo and Juliet. Or perceived to be reversed at least. Romeo is so feminine in his wishy washy ways. So in love and mooning over this one or that one. so complacent simply to gaze upon a flower and so ridiculously unprepared for anything other than a life of love and beauty. Juliet, on the other hand, is fully aware of her situation, her station, and her duty. She has grown more 'adult' faster than Romeo. Sure, she falls in 'love' quickly, but she doesn't pussyfoot around with it. She's in love, he's in love, let's go get married. Juliet grabs the reins of the relationship, she uses her intelligence and inner strength to not only convince Romeo to marry her, but to also conceive the plan to get them away together. She is the strength of the relationship, Romeo is the weakness.

    God I love Shakespeare.

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  • BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Registered User regular
    Reformation drama! A glorious celebration of the death of Puritan bullshit!

    Are you talking Restoration drama? As that's the period I connect with unabashed celebration of the Puritan's getting stuffed.

    Of course I actually know very little about it, outside of the poetry of Wilmot and Etherege's plays.

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  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Reformation drama! A glorious celebration of the death of Puritan bullshit!

    Are you talking Restoration drama? As that's the period I connect with unabashed celebration of the Puritan's getting stuffed.

    Of course I actually know very little about it, outside of the poetry of Wilmot and Etherege's plays.

    Yes, it is Restoration, isn't it? Silly me.

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  • RozRoz Let the Storm follow Nap TimeRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    I would LOVE to see a production of R&J done exploring the view that Roz and others have layed out.

    it's difficult to really do that. I mean, you could in a small theatre space if you relied on the body language of the actors to pull it off. But it's all in there already. It just takes a moment to stop, reread the passage without the overly flowing 'romantic' tinge, and then go 'holy crap'.

    My prof loved to remind us of how the gender roles were reversed between Romeo and Juliet. Or perceived to be reversed at least. Romeo is so feminine in his wishy washy ways. So in love and mooning over this one or that one. so complacent simply to gaze upon a flower and so ridiculously unprepared for anything other than a life of love and beauty. Juliet, on the other hand, is fully aware of her situation, her station, and her duty. She has grown more 'adult' faster than Romeo. Sure, she falls in 'love' quickly, but she doesn't pussyfoot around with it. She's in love, he's in love, let's go get married. Juliet grabs the reins of the relationship, she uses her intelligence and inner strength to not only convince Romeo to marry her, but to also conceive the plan to get them away together. She is the strength of the relationship, Romeo is the weakness.

    God I love Shakespeare.

    Me too :)

    Really, the truly amazing thing about Shakespeare are the epiphanies. The mind-blowing, earth-shattering, world-view altering epiphanies. Whether it's a pun, or a joke, a turn of phrase, a metaphor, or brilliantly done character (or character interaction), it's like stumbling into a gold mine and realizing that it's wider and deeper than anything you've ever read or seen. I almost considered a career in academia, if only to let me debate Shakespeare with students every day for the rest of my adult life. I was so tempted; but alas, I am a greedy and materialistic creature, and seeing as how I am posting on this site - you can easily gather that I enjoy playing video games and I like making large sums of money to continue that habit.


    @JihadJesus It is possible, but difficult. You have to find an extremely convincing Mercucio, and then you need to break the 4th wall a bit and have his dialogue directed at the audience. Don't even get me started on Mercucio, I wrote my end of semester thesis on that character as he is - by far - the most important character in that play. The trick is having the actor play Mercucio as though Mercucio knows he is in a play. Once you realize that is very, very close to the character in the text - your mind will be blown.

    Roz on
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    Mercucio's death scene is always the one that makes me break into small tears. even in the 90's Leo & claire movie. I cried at his death, it struck me to the very core of my self for some reason.

    I remember enjoying Lear, but then not as much as I loved Henry V. particularly The speech for St Crispin's day.

    Oh the chills.

    Now I'm going to have to bring my Shakespeare books back here to kiwiland in august. Just so I can read them.

    And yeah, Restoration Drama. My bad on that one.

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  • BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    And yeah, Restoration Drama. My bad on that one.

    As I've said, I've only been exposed to a bit of Restoration era stuff, but I've loved pretty much everything I've read.

    Whilst this thread is about the Bard, I have to post a little sample from my favorite Restoration poet, John Wilmot (and I even knew about him before seeing the Johnny Depp driven The Libertine).

    Warning, 17th century NSFW words ahead:
    Spoiler:

    And to be somewhat on topic, my favorites of old Will tend to run askew to many. Coriolanus and Merchant of Venice being two plays that I love, that not many seem to hold in that high of an esteem. Personally I find the lack of monologue and/or soliloquy of Coriolanus to be fascinating, as it robs the viewer of explicit knowledge of the characters motivations and allows one to truly form their own opinion of the man (anywhere from silent, brooding heroic figure, to pompous ego maniacal douchebag).

    Merchant I find fascinating as a study in the way Shakespeare used historical context and contemporary views to build his characters. Considering that the only exposure to Jewish people he could have had would have been the few traveling merchants that tempted fate to trade in London (as Jews were exiled in 1290, and not allowed to legally come back till the protectorate of Cromwell), he really had to create things purely from imagination/hearsay. While there are some clear homages in Shylock's behavior to the very unflattering actions/motives of Marlowe's Barabas, at the same time he is given great depth and mystery and argues an amazing case for himself in the farcical "trial" scenes (Act III, Scene I of course being the biggy) and comes off as far more human than other Jewish characters in contemporary drama of the time.

    BlackDragon480 on
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  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    Merchant of Venice was a difficult one for me. Not to read or get into, but emotionally. particularly because it's listed and treated as one of the Comedies when it's anything but. Well, for me. But at the time that I was reading Merchant, I was feeling very very connected to my Jewishness, more so than i am currently or rather on a different level, and it was extremely disturbing.

    And just because the Jews were exiled doesn't mean that they left. Granted, they were so deep in hiding that Will probably never had any interaction whatsoever that he was aware of, but we were still there. We're pervasive like that.

    My Little Corner of the World || I am ravelried! || My Steam!
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  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    We were watching the Tennant/Stewart RSC version of Hamlet last night. Such a good version. The performances really bring out the language of the play.

  • valhalla130valhalla130 Od's blood Sailing a longshipRegistered User regular
    I'm not exactly sure what you guys mean by Shakespeare adaptations, but my favorite (what-I-believe-to-be) Shakespeare adaptation is The Forbidden Planet.

  • belligerentbelligerent Registered User regular
    There are two types of adaptations, ones that adapt the setting (R&J, Ethan Hawk's Hamlet) and one that adapts the theme or general plot (O, Scotland, PA, 10 things I hate about you, etc).

  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones Registered User regular
    Reformation drama! A glorious celebration of the death of Puritan bullshit!

    Are you talking Restoration drama? As that's the period I connect with unabashed celebration of the Puritan's getting stuffed.

    Of course I actually know very little about it, outside of the poetry of Wilmot and Etherege's plays.

    Yes, it is Restoration, isn't it? Silly me.

    And then after The Country Wife, things kind of got toned down a bit. Reading through it, man, Wycherley got away with quite a bit.

    Shakespeare is awesome. Real awesome.

  • RozRoz Let the Storm follow Nap TimeRegistered User regular
    BobCesca wrote: »
    We were watching the Tennant/Stewart RSC version of Hamlet last night. Such a good version. The performances really bring out the language of the play.

    Hamlet is his best play, not close.

  • MuzzmuzzMuzzmuzz Registered User regular
    Is there a way for non-Americans to watch the Tennant/Stewart Hamlet? I tried to watch in on the PBS website, but alas, due to being a Canuck, I could not view it. My inner geek says "OMG, the Doctor and Jean-Luc preform Shakespeare!" But my inner Literature fanatic says "Patrick Stewart and David Tennant preform my favourite Play!"

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I don't think there's a legal way, but if you look around long enough you might find a way.

    Honestly, it's worth the chump change it costs to get off itunes or amazon. That and Patrick Stewart's Macbeth. They're both so good.

    I was pretty sad that we had to watch Hawke's Hamlet instead of Tennant's in my Adaptation class this semester. I was even more disappointed once I actually saw it. : /

    AManFromEarth on
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  • RozRoz Let the Storm follow Nap TimeRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I don't think there's a legal way, but if you look around long enough you might find a way.

    Honestly, it's worth the chump change it costs to get off itunes or amazon. That and Patrick Stewart's Macbeth. They're both so good.

    I was pretty sad that we had to watch Hawke's Hamlet instead of Tennant's in my Adaptation class this semester. I was even more disappointed once I actually saw it. : /

    Did you write your thesis on why Hawke's Hamlet is inferior to Stewart's? That's probably a pretty damn good paper.

    Roz on
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Roz wrote: »
    I don't think there's a legal way, but if you look around long enough you might find a way.

    Honestly, it's worth the chump change it costs to get off itunes or amazon. That and Patrick Stewart's Macbeth. They're both so good.

    I was pretty sad that we had to watch Hawke's Hamlet instead of Tennant's in my Adaptation class this semester. I was even more disappointed once I actually saw it. : /

    Did you write your thesis on why Hawke's Hamlet is inferior to Stewart's? That's probably a pretty damn good paper.

    I didn't, I wrote about how adaptations can alter one's perception of the original. I don't think it was that good of a paper and your suggestion sounds much better.

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  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    Othello is definitely my favorite of his plays. Iago is just an incredible villain.

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  • RozRoz Let the Storm follow Nap TimeRegistered User regular
    Roz wrote: »
    I don't think there's a legal way, but if you look around long enough you might find a way.

    Honestly, it's worth the chump change it costs to get off itunes or amazon. That and Patrick Stewart's Macbeth. They're both so good.

    I was pretty sad that we had to watch Hawke's Hamlet instead of Tennant's in my Adaptation class this semester. I was even more disappointed once I actually saw it. : /

    Did you write your thesis on why Hawke's Hamlet is inferior to Stewart's? That's probably a pretty damn good paper.

    I didn't, I wrote about how adaptations can alter one's perception of the original. I don't think it was that good of a paper and your suggestion sounds much better.

    Then you could have used Bloom's criticism of Hamlet to analyze different elements of the acting and delivery to get insights into how each of the actors view Hamlet; contrasting that with your view of the play. Man, I'm sorely tempted to just write this paper for fun. (Though I've never seen either film, so research time!)

    For all of you interested in some of the best criticism of Shakespeare out there, I highly recommend Harold Bloom's Shakespeare: The invention of the human. It is an enjoyable read, and his insights and analysis reveal some of the true genius of Shakespeare's prose.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Bloom's a bit gushy for my tastes.

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  • RozRoz Let the Storm follow Nap TimeRegistered User regular
    Bloom's a bit gushy for my tastes.

    Ok, first, holy crap you respond so damn fast, it scares me a little :O

    Second, both Nietzsche and Milton have excellent analysis, though it's much harder to follow and is more philosophical in nature. Johnson isn't my favorite, but he's decent.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    I am everywhere you want to be, Roz.

    I've read the critiques. There actually wasn't much germane to what I wanted to talk about. It was just not my best essay. The class was kinda useless, too, which didn't help my drive to write the essay.

    I wrote a much better one about Brecht and Miller last semester.

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  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Incidentally, the RSC First Folio hardbound edition is ridiculously cheap on Amazon.

  • Anarchy Rules!Anarchy Rules! Registered User regular
    I have a bit of a soft spot for Twelfth Night - it was the first Shakespeare play that I properly understood why the bard is so well regarded.

    Coincidently, the BBC is just beginning a season about William Shakespeare:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/shakespeare/

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Also,

    p00qj6tc.jpg?nodefault=true

    Day One.

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  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Oh OH!

    I just read, for that big Shakespeare festival thing going on in London now and leading up to the Olympics this summer, one of the first performances is going to be done entirely in Maori. Sonnet 18 it looks like. Or maybe Troilus and Cresida.

    I'm looking for the exact information (the WSF website is being cranky with me right now) but in the meantime, have Sonnet 18 in Maori



    EDIT::

    Here's the text:
    Spoiler:



    And it is Troilus and Cressida to be performed in Maori.

    lonelyahava on
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  • TaramoorTaramoor Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    gjaustin wrote: »
    Othello is definitely my favorite of his plays. Iago is just an incredible villain.

    My favorite thing about Iago is that you don't really know why the hell he does it.

    The text was posted, but still.



    Solid gold awesome.

    Taramoor on
  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Not once. Not a few times. Oft.

    And then Aaron's last words are:
    If one good deed in all my life I did,
    I do repent it from my very soul.

    wandering on
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  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Merchant of Venice was a difficult one for me. Not to read or get into, but emotionally. particularly because it's listed and treated as one of the Comedies when it's anything but. Well, for me. But at the time that I was reading Merchant, I was feeling very very connected to my Jewishness, more so than i am currently or rather on a different level, and it was extremely disturbing.

    And just because the Jews were exiled doesn't mean that they left. Granted, they were so deep in hiding that Will probably never had any interaction whatsoever that he was aware of, but we were still there. We're pervasive like that.

    Have you seem the MoV that Al Pacino did?

    It is... not played as a comedy.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379889/

  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    Some people think The Merchant of Venice isn't really anti-Semitic, but...c'mon. Shylock, like a lot of great villains, is kind of sympathetic and kind of awesome, but he's also an evil Jewish boogeyman and his comeuppance is "haha, you are no longer a Jew. I turn you into a Christian! Neer neer!"

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    The standard BA-level reading of Merchant of Venice is that it was progressive for its time.

    I haven't read enough primary texts to know how true that is, but it's what you get taught at college, along with Romeo being an idiot, Twelfth Night being all about gender, Prospero being an author-insert etc etc

    poshniallo on
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  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    I always think it's a measure of Shakespeare's genius that even while writing a bad guy who is part/mostly a racist caricature like Shylock, giving him money-grubbing low comedy scenes and putting a real ferocity behind his villainy and hatred towards christians, he also pops in one of the most amazing pleas for understanding and compassion between cultures and religions ever put into words. Shylock is a villain, no question, and a lot of TMoV is anti-semitic. But since Shakespeare was a genius we also get the "Hath not a Jew" speech, which transfixes prejudice expertly. It is a play of its time and way, way ahead of its time.

  • BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Registered User regular
    wandering wrote: »
    Some people think The Merchant of Venice isn't really anti-Semitic, but...c'mon. Shylock, like a lot of great villains, is kind of sympathetic and kind of awesome, but he's also an evil Jewish boogeyman and his comeuppance is "haha, you are no longer a Jew. I turn you into a Christian! Neer neer!"

    Yes, especially when put in the context of when it is written, it is anti-semitic, but nowhere near the level of Marlowe's Jew of Malta, in which Barabas is nothing but a one-note stereotype. Shylock has a lot more going on and depending on how the actors and director are wanting to portray it, his motivations for making the harsh deal w/ Antonio actually do have weight and are not simply that Shylock is an angry Jew looking to stick it to a Christian.

    Instead Shylock is someone that puts great stock in the law of the land, but said law is eventually used against him, and his choice to give into the forced conversion can be seen as him wanting to leave something to his daughter, even though she pretty much disowns him by converting and wanting to marry Lorenzo.

    Like Bogart said, it's a play of it's time, but the language and directions in it also make it far ahead of its time, in so far as it's treatment of Jewish characters is concerned.

    V1m's mention of the Pacino version is a good one. Far from the best acted version of it I've seen, the directorial cues and how they play Shylock is a great example of using what's there to make a very good case for him being motivated by more than mere greed, avarice, and anti-Christian fervor.

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  • Brian888Brian888 Registered User
    wandering wrote: »
    Some people think The Merchant of Venice isn't really anti-Semitic, but...c'mon. Shylock, like a lot of great villains, is kind of sympathetic and kind of awesome, but he's also an evil Jewish boogeyman and his comeuppance is "haha, you are no longer a Jew. I turn you into a Christian! Neer neer!"

    Let us discuss MoV.

    Is Shylock specifically a "Jewish" villain, a la Barabas in Marlowe's "Jew of Malta"? I contend that he is not. A few points, to back that up.

    1.) Yes, Shylock suggests the bond of "a pound of flesh" to Antonio when Antonio comes to him for a loan. Shylock states that this is done out of a desire for friendship with Antonio, despite the fact that Antonio has been publicly cruel and degrading to Shylock in the past due to Shylock being a Jew and a moneylender. The thing is, Shylock is probably being 100% honest here. Remember, Antonio expected "thrice three times" the amount of the loan to come in from his overseas investments, and apparently so did everyone else. There is no indication anywhere that Shylock ever really expected to collect the bond from Antonio, and so threw in what really does amount to a ridiculous bond in order to try to smooth things over with Antonio. The real indicator of this, of course, is that when Jessica takes Shylock's money and runs away from home with a Christian (Lorenzo, I believe, one of the spectacularly useless and hypocritical Venetian young men that haunt this play), Shylock doesn't think about the bond, not even when he hears that Antonio's ships have all foundered. His "friend" Tubal (who is really one of the hidden bad guys in the play, in that he plays Shylock like a harp for no apparent reason beyond cruelty) has to remind him of all these facts.

    2.) The suggestion that Shylock's position in the courtroom scene in opposition to Portia's position is somehow an allegory for cruel, legalistic Judaism versus compassionate, merciful Christianity doesn't appear to be born out either historically or within the context of this and other plays. Are Shylock's demands in the courtroom just and virtuous under Judaic law? Not by any interpretation of Judaism I've ever heard of. Perhaps that interpretation is possible if you're an unlettered sixteenth century English farmer who has never met a Jew, but every other indication in Shakespeare's works indicate that he was much more cosmopolitan than that. Shylock's so far gone into the idea of revenge by that point that his actions are monstrous by pretty much any cultural standard. And by the way, while Portia's speech about mercy is a masterwork of beauty and grace, it is (a) hardly only applicable to Christianity, and (b) very nicely rejoindered by the actions of the Christians once they have Shylock on the ropes; their "mercy" to him is barely worthy of the name, and for audience members who had lived through the religious strife of the prior decades when the various monarchs had torn the country between Catholicism and Protestantism, forced conversion would likely have been a little uncomfortable. Besides, the idea of "unlimited mercy" being a Christian virtue is nicely undercut by the later play "Measure for Measure," in which Isabella tries Portia's argument on the Vienna city magistrate Angelo while pleading for her brother's life, only to be told that Angelo best shows mercy when he shows mercy to those he doesn't know by keeping Vienna's laws enforced. Both of them are very Christian.

    3.) It has been observed in the scholarship on this play that the presence of three rings (Shylock's ring which Jessica stole plus the two wedding bands) and the presence of the three religions of the Book (one of the suitors Portia turns away is a presumably-Muslim Moor, which incidentally is a nice little vignette demonstrating Portia's racism) suggests a tie to the tale of the three rings in Boccaccio's "Decameron," which I happen to believe to be true. If that is the case, Shakespeare is at least in part suggesting in this tale that while only one of the three religions is probably true, we have no way of knowing which one that is, and owe it to ourselves and each other to behave as if they're all true. I believe this is why the Moor gives us the sense of somehow being the most noble of Portia's suitors (yes, even moreso than Bassanio, who doesn't have many qualities to recommend him apart from apparently being handsome), and why Shylock's descent into barbarism is so affecting; he begins the play a witty (if otherwise sober) man willing to give a fair break to those who have offended him, and ends up a broken person. Barabas, whose villainy was entirely a caricature of Judaism, is not nearly so successful a character. Shylock is a man who goes awry, not a "Jew" who goes awry, which I believe is Shakespeare's point.

  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    Shylock's first aside is, if memory serves, "I hate him for he is a Christian". He goes on at length to detail reasons why he hates Antonio and why he's bad for Shylock's business. The argument that he's trying to make friends by agreeing to lend Antonio the money isn't borne out by the text of the scene in which it happens.

    He is very much a Jewish villain and conforms to several stereotypical ideas about Jews. But that's not all he is.

  • Brian888Brian888 Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Bogart wrote: »
    Shylock's first aside is, if memory serves, "I hate him for he is a Christian". He goes on at length to detail reasons why he hates Antonio and why he's bad for Shylock's business. The argument that he's trying to make friends by agreeing to lend Antonio the money isn't borne out by the text of the scene in which it happens.

    He is very much a Jewish villain and conforms to several stereotypical ideas about Jews. But that's not all he is.

    "I hate him for he is a Christian" doesn't make Shylock a "Jewish" villain like Barabas. It makes Shylock a dick, just like the Christians in the play who are dicks for hating Shylock because he's a Jew (you'll look in vain for one really, honestly good person in the whole play; Venice apparently sucks). And yes, Shylock absolutely is trying to smooth things over with Antonio. He doesn't have to lend Antonio money, and he certainly doesn't have to set the "pound of flesh" term for the bond that nobody really takes seriously until later in the play (again, even Shylock has to be reminded about it by Tubal). In fact, he sets that term, IIRC, IN LIEU OF charging interest on the loan. Shylock lends money to Antonio effectively at no interest, with every expecation by everyone involved that Antonio will handily be able to pay it back, and the only really credible explanation for that is the one Shylock gives; he wants to make peace with Antonio. He may hate Antonio, and Antonio may hate him, but at least there won't be spitting on the Rialto.

    Is Shylock gleefully poisoning Christian wells or sacrificing Christian infants? No. He descends into madness because his daughter rejects her people and her faith, runs off with a Christian, and takes a ton of money from him in the process, not to mention the ring that his dead wife gave to him (which Jessica sells for a monkey, according to Tubal). He's not a proactive villain like Barabas, he's a man who is broken by circumstances and lashes out in the only way he perceives possible, which is a human fault and not a stock Jewish villain trait.

    Brian888 on
  • valhalla130valhalla130 Od's blood Sailing a longshipRegistered User regular
    Only at PA would there be a cogent, thought-provoking thread about William Shakespeare. I definitely need to read more of his plays.

  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    Shylock complains that Antonio is bad for his stereotypically Jewish business, he moans more about his lost money than about his daughter, etc. Why does he have to poison wells or sacrifice infants to be a Jewish villain?

    You can argue that Shylock doesn't really mean to take the pound of flesh from Antonio and that it's all a coincidence that he gets the chance, but I think that's reading the play with a 20th century mindset bent on avoiding things that are very plainly in the text. The most compelling reason for putting that condition in there is the thought that hey, maybe if he doesn't pay up I'll be able to gut him. It's a sneaky plan to kill Antonio, even if it has very little chance of succeeding and even if Shylock doesn't make it entirely seriously, it's still his suggestion and it's still a trap. He even tells Antonio that he'd never even think of collecting on the bond because hey that'd be crazy and he's not a bad guy, actively lulling him into signing.

    And after a quick look at the play I can't find any line from Tubal in which he reminds Shylock about the bond (though I'm looking at a script online, so I can't be certain it's accurate). Shylock has a confrontation with two of Antonio's friends about the bond before Tubal shows up, and tells them he will take Antonio's flesh 'to bait fish withal'. Tubal rocks up and tells Shylock that Antonio's ships are catching rocks like it's going out of style, and Shylock's overjoyed.

  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    Regarding teaching Shakespeare in high school . . . I don't think most high school students have the life-experiences under their belt to really appreciate Shakespeare, except the slapstick and sex puns.

    Shakespeare's plays are loaded with sex puns of course, but unfortunately a lot of them are no longer comprehensible to modern audiences without a lot of explanation. Like Hamlet telling Polonius not to let his daughter walk in the sun, which was a roundabout way of suggesting that she was pregnant. (The common belief was that maggots spontaneously generated from meat when left in the sun, so Hamlet is sarcastically suggesting a form of life has "spontaneously generated" within Ophelia too.)

    Or this sonnet:

    Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy 'Will,'
    And 'Will' to boot, and 'Will' in overplus;
    More than enough am I that vex thee still,
    To thy sweet will making addition thus.
    Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious,
    Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?
    Shall will in others seem right gracious,
    And in my will no fair acceptance shine?
    The sea all water, yet receives rain still
    And in abundance addeth to his store;
    So thou, being rich in 'Will,' add to thy 'Will'
    One will of mine, to make thy large 'Will' more.
    Let no unkind, no fair beseechers kill;
    Think all but one, and me in that one 'Will.'

    It makes a lot more sense once you know that "will", in addition to being Shakespeare's first name, was also slang for genitalia.

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