Reply
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Our own judgement?

[ Edited ]
That's perhaps part of our difference. I do read the critics, or at least some of them, but in the end, I make up my own mind.

We none of us, in adulthood, come to Shakespeare or any classic literature without some degree of 'education' about them, from our schooldays onward. And each play we see gives a different interpretation based on some learned academic or critic's understanding. With the classics there are also different historical interpretations to keep up with, often brought about because something new about an author's life or writing has been discovered So to say that we make up our own minds is incorrect - our minds have long ago been conditioned to one thing or another. I too trust my own judgement in the end because I have also informed myself by both reading closely and appreciating the views of a number of academics/critics. I acknowledge those who have spent a lifetime studying a particular author and recognise that they, or an amalgam of 'theys', are likely to know much more than I do. On these boards I am also grateful to our learned Moderators, who are here because they have studied the author in hand, so I respect their judgement too. For me to put my own conclusions over and above all these 'learned others' would, I feel, be conceited. Even though I have read Shakespeare all my life and have seen very many memorable performances, in Stratford and in London, of most of the plays by the leading actors/actresses/producers/directors of the day (over 62 years!) I respect and feel I can benefit from the views of these 'learned others'.

Not to mention that you can read almost anything you want to from a critic, so it's a matter of which critics do you decide to agree with...

Yes, I never agree with Bloom about anything! Just as we all choose what newspaper to read, which television programme to believe or which political party to vote for. All these things influence our judgement and eventually, over a lifetime, we become the people we are with opinions/judgements which are an amalgam of our upbringing, culture and what we have read, heard or seen. C'est la vie.




Everyman wrote:
I prefer to stick with the interpretations given by worthy critics and academics over the centuries

That's perhaps part of our difference. I do read the critics, or at least some of them, but in the end, I make up my own mind. Not to mention that you can read almost anything you want to from a critic, so it's a matter of which critics do you decide to agree with/

I prefer to consider what the critics might have to say, but in the end to trust my own judgment.

As Margaret Fell wrote on hearing George Fox speak some four centuries ago:

And so he (George Fox) went on and said, How that Christ was the Light of the world, and lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and that by this Light they might be gathered to God, etc. And I stood up in my pew and I wondered at his doctrine, for I had never heard such before. And then he went on, and opened the Scriptures, and said, 'The Scriptures were the prophets' words and Christ's and the apostles' words, and what they spoke they enjoyed and possessed and [they] had it from the Lord'. And said, 'what had any to do with the scriptures, but as they came to the Spirit that gave them forth. You will say, Christ says this, and the apostles say this; but what can you say? Are you a child of Light and have you walked in the Light, and what you speak is it inwardly from God?' This opened me so that it cut me to the heart; and I saw clearly that we were all wrong. So I sat me down in my pew again and I cried bitterly. And I cried in my spirit to the Lord, 'We are all thieves, we are all thieves, we have taken the Scriptures in words and know nothing of them in ourselves'.

You will say Frye says this, and Bloom says that, but what can you say?

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-13-200710:56 PM

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Our own judgement?

to say that we make up our own minds is incorrect - our minds have long ago been conditioned to one thing or another.

Obviously every thought we have is based on inputs from somewhere; naked came we into the world.

But nonetheless there is a vast difference between saying that something must be true because a number of critics say it is so, and reading various opinions but trusting your own judgment and treating what the critics say as input, not as authority.

We must beware of the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority. Just because a number of critics may agree on a point doesn't make it true. We have to examine the facts themselves, using critical comments as a resource, but decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.

Often enough the critics will agree on A now, but will soon enough agree on not-A, and then before too much longer come back to A again. After all, if you had listened to the critics in the century after Shakespeare's death you would have thought him a mediocre writer at best. And if the anti-DWM scholars get their way, those times will probably return. Already a number of universities will graduate seniors who have never been required to read a single page of Shakespeare.

So I'm not particularly impressed by a viewpoint just because some critics say it. I'm impressed by what intelligent and thoughtful readers say when their views are backed up by references to the text.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Meaning of 'Critics'

[ Edited ]
Just because a number of critics may agree on a point doesn't make it true. We have to examine the facts themselves, using critical comments as a resource, but decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.

I agree and this is precisely what most educated people do.

I'm impressed by what intelligent and thoughtful readers say when their views are backed up by references to the text.

I agree but it is also useful if readers can back up what they say by references from books or the internet etc. After all, this is what students are required to do and is why wide ranging reading lists are given at college (and were given by BNU). Academics/Critics are intelligent and thoughtful readers too.

Actually, I rather baulk at the word 'Critic' in these discussions because the word tends to have negative associations. (I prefer Scholar or Academic.) The Greek meaning 'one who discerns' or a 'person who offers reasoned judgement or analysis' is the one I prefer. Discussion of 'critics' has tended to get mixed up with Critical Theory and Literary Theory, the former (a la Kant and Marx) being more about changing society and the latter espousing Joseph Addison's notion of a critic as 'one who helps understand and interpret literary works': "A true critic ought to dwell rather upon excellencies than imperfections, to discover the concealed beauties of a writer, and communicate to the world such things as are worth their observation." This notion of criticism, which I espouse,goes back to Aristotle's Poetics as a theory of literature but these contrasting notions are not ones to be discussed here.


(?? Already a number of universities will graduate seniors who have never been required to read a single page of Shakespeare. Do you mean seniors taking Literature or Engineering and other non-lit subjects?)




Everyman wrote:
to say that we make up our own minds is incorrect - our minds have long ago been conditioned to one thing or another.

Obviously every thought we have is based on inputs from somewhere; naked came we into the world...But nonetheless there is a vast difference between saying that something must be true because a number of critics say it is so, and reading various opinions but trusting your own judgment and treating what the critics say as input, not as authority...We must beware of the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority. Just because a number of critics may agree on a point doesn't make it true. We have to examine the facts themselves, using critical comments as a resource, but decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree....Often enough the critics will agree on A now, but will soon enough agree on not-A, and then before too much longer come back to A again. After all, if you had listened to the critics in the century after Shakespeare's death you would have thought him a mediocre writer at best. And if the anti-DWM scholars get their way, those times will probably return. Already a number of universities will graduate seniors who have never been required to read a single page of Shakespeare...So I'm not particularly impressed by a viewpoint just because some critics say it. I'm impressed by what intelligent and thoughtful readers say when their views are backed up by references to the text.

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-14-200706:42 AM

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: aristotle and SHSP

I agree Ziki, It would be good to have Libby's perspective, especially as she may be bringing a more modern point of view of the Greek classics. (Or may not of course, which is equally valid.)



ziki wrote:


LibbyLane wrote: Aristotle says that "poetry is a more philosophical and more serious thing than history; poetry tends to speak of universals, history of particulars."

I have pages and pages of notes on this if anyone wants to be bored with more detail. I won't go into it now. :-)




Whenever you feel like it please post what you find relevant, and tell why, definitely. This is what makes the discussions rich, we discover connections we wouldn't otherwise think of.

ziki


Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Act I: (Possible spoiler) Did it really happen?

Lizzie Ann wrote:-
I think Shakespeare is probably trying to strongly accentuate the difference between reality and fantasy. Perhaps, even to make us wonder if what happened in the woods really happened?

Yes, Lizzie Ann, and this is further summed up by Puck in his final speech to the audience in Act V, wherein he suggests that all may have been a Dream (my italics):-

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,

Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.









LizzieAnn wrote:
As others have said, I think the court is the reality - being grounded & earthbound. The woods represent the unreality - the magical, the fantasy, the dream. I think Shakespeare is probably trying to strongly accentuate the difference between reality and fantasy. Perhaps, even to make us wonder if what happened in the woods really happened?

We see several that there are several conflicts among the charactres in the first scene at Theseus' palace:

    • Between Egeus and his daughter Hermia

    • Between Hermia and Demetrius

    • Between Egeus and Lysander

    • Between Lysander and Demetrius

    • Between Helena and Demetrius

    • Between Helena and both Hermia & Lysander


There are also conflicts at Quince's house in scene 2:

    • Between Quince and Flute - who does not want to play a female

    • Between Quince and Bottom - who wants to play all the parts


Quince wants to move the rehearsal to the woods to avoid crowds gathering at their rehearsal. Then people would learn the content of the play (and it would no longer be a great surprise) as well as bothering the rehearsal (perhaps by giving advice and critiques).


Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Court versus the Woods

Great analysis Samantilles - thanks.




samantilles wrote:
In addition to the comparision of Theseus's Court to the Forest as reality vs fantasy, I also see a direct comparision to the Laws of Man versus the Laws of Nature. Demitrius claims his right to Hermia based on his rank in society, a man-made and respected rank. Lysander claims his rank is just as good as Demitrius, and to top it off, he actually is in love with Hermia. But natural attraction has no worth in the law of man, only that of the rights of the patriarch, Hermia's father, Egeus. The Law of Man is determined to overrule the natrual attraction between Lysander and Hermia in the Court, and so the lovers must leave the court of man to pursue their love. The forest does not fall under the jurisdiction of man, and so the forces of love are the only law required. In the forest, a man is not determined by his rank in the city, nor a daughter required to adhere to the wishes of her father. All artificial worthiness is shed from the men. When the four enter the forests, which will reign supreme: the natural attractions of the lovers or the law of man?


Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The forest a perfect place for a lovers' tryst?

Yes, the audiences would have been steep in Greek Mythology, Arthurian legends etc. These were the days of storytellers, before books were widely available or affordable. It is also significant methinks that the story of Pyramus and Thisbe comes from Ovid's Metamorphoses which also suggests change and 'a transformation by magic or sorcery' so is another hint to the audience. In Greek legend the berries of the white mulberry bush turned red when its roots were bathed in the blood of the lovers. Mulberries are not native to England and are considered an exotic tree as they came from China. It was first described in gardening books of the 16th century and Syon House in Brentford near London has a mulberry tree dating back to 1548, which may have been known to Shakespeare and to his London audience.





samantilles wrote:
I also find it interesting that the play the masters are to put on, the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, is also about a couple forced to leave the city because their love is forbidden and flee to the forest to meet up once again, only this time tragically as their spilled blood (their deaths not unlike Romeo and Juliet) seeps into a mulberry bush. Shakespeare is hinting at the idea that the forest, nature, is inherently romantic, more romantic than perhaps the stone of the city?

(going off on a tangent here...) Could it also be compared perhaps if blood was spilt on the stone of the court that it runs and spoils the stone, stains it, and physical labor must wash it away, whereas the mulberry bush incorporates it into its living force. Love changed it, but still it thrives. The stone gains nothing from blood being spilt on it...

On a side note, I found this telling of the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe very helpful to get a deeper insight to the story... I expect the watchers of the play in Shakespeare's time would have been much more familiar with the mythologies alluded to (Theseus/Hippolyta and now Pyramus/Thisbe) then perhaps we in the modern age are.

Pyramus and Thisbe


Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Our own judgement?


Choisya wrote:
Just because a number of critics may agree on a point doesn't make it true. We have to examine the facts themselves, using critical comments as a resource, but decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.

I agree and this is precisely what most educated people do.

I'm impressed by what intelligent and thoughtful readers say when their views are backed up by references to the text.

I agree but it is also useful if readers can back up what they say by references from books or the internet etc. After all, this is what students are required to do. Academics/Critics are intelligent and thoughtful readers too.









Thank you Choisya and Everyman for your wise comments. At times your banter was tedious but I was able to draw valuable information from them. I will try to remember to site the verse when necessary and I have been reading the critics of which some are entirely above my head. Some of what the "experts" comment on will stick and sometimes my emotions will lead me in another direction. But the ability to share thoughts about these wonderful plays from the warm cozy confines of my home is a wonderful way to learn and gather insights I would not have gotten anywhere else. So thanks to B&N for this wonderful venue.

Carmen
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Carmenere-lady: Our own judgement.

Thankyou Carmenere-lady, that is kind. However, I do not mean to imply that comments here without back-up are not worthwhile, because they certainly are. It is just that the original BNU site did put up critical reading matter and Links and that added to the 'studious' side of reading books here which many people seemed to appreciate. I see that on another Board Ziki called for some related reading and the Lit Editor put some up. Perhaps Cheryl could call for some here?




Carmenere_lady wrote:

Choisya wrote:
Just because a number of critics may agree on a point doesn't make it true. We have to examine the facts themselves, using critical comments as a resource, but decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.

I agree and this is precisely what most educated people do.

I'm impressed by what intelligent and thoughtful readers say when their views are backed up by references to the text.

I agree but it is also useful if readers can back up what they say by references from books or the internet etc. After all, this is what students are required to do. Academics/Critics are intelligent and thoughtful readers too.









Thank you Choisya and Everyman for your wise comments. At times your banter was tedious but I was able to draw valuable information from them. I will try to remember to site the verse when necessary and I have been reading the critics of which some are entirely above my head. Some of what the "experts" comment on will stick and sometimes my emotions will lead me in another direction. But the ability to share thoughts about these wonderful plays from the warm cozy confines of my home is a wonderful way to learn and gather insights I would not have gotten anywhere else. So thanks to B&N for this wonderful venue.

Carmen


Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Meaning of 'Critics'


Choisya wrote:
Just because a number of critics may agree on a point doesn't make it true. We have to examine the facts themselves, using critical comments as a resource, but decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.

I agree and this is precisely what most educated people do.

I'm impressed by what intelligent and thoughtful readers say when their views are backed up by references to the text.

I agree but it is also useful if readers can back up what they say by references from books or the internet etc.

I'm glad that we're agreed. Critical analyses can be useful to direct us to looking at certain things that we can then think about for ourselves. But comments like "I prefer to stick with the interpretations given by worthy critics and academics over the centuries" are of limited value unless supported by the individual's arguments backed up by the text. Otherwise, it's just a case of the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.

I'm glad that we have reached agreement on this, and look forward to more discussions which are based on our own close reading of the text rather than simply suggesting that because one or more critics have expressed an opinion, it must be correct.

After all, the audiences in Shakespeare's day had to watch and understand the play without the "benefit" of a single critical opinion. If they could do it, we can do it!
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Our own judgement?


Carmenere_lady wrote:
I have been reading the critics of which some are entirely above my head.


Take heart!

Just remember, those who saw Shakespeare's productions in his own day seem to have understood and appreciated him just fine. They never took a single high school or college course in Shakespeare, never read a single academic scholar's analysis of his plays, never suffered through a single deconstructionist or feminist or Marxist or whateverist study of his works.

They just went and watched and enjoyed and applauded and made him the most popular playwright of his era (and perhaps of all time -- have any playwrights since then garnered the live audiences that Shakespeare did?).

So to the extent that you find a critic's comments understandable and constructive and helpful in enabling you to enjoy the plays more, good-o. But if they aren't understandable and constructive and helpful, put them down and go back to reading the play for yourself. They're all ancillary to your own reading and understanding and enjoying.

Always keep in mind: The Play's the Thing!
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: The Play's The Thing

I still prefer to back up what text I refer to or quote with the opinions of others more learned than myself because IMO it adds to the discussion:smileyhappy: I also like to read similar references put forward by others. I did this at school and college and like to do it now. I always read the Programme Notes avidly when I attend a performance too - what else are they there for. Additionally, a 'close reading of the text' needs to be accompanied by an understanding of the staging of the play and the era in which it was staged. It is, after all, a play we are reading. If you do not like my posts because they may include the opinions of others, it will be best for you not to read them. That's absolutely OK with me.

Also, rowdy Elizabethan audiences were surrounded by 'critics' - their fellow men, taunting, calling out, making suggestions, no doubt discussing the last play/production they saw etc. Both as 'groundlings' and in the taverns afterwards, by all accounts, there was a great deal of critical discussion, some learned, some not. They were not as genteel about playgoing as we are today - although there is some pretty ungenteel behaviour and discussions from groundlings at The Globe today and in the taverns afterwards, although I eschew those:smileyhappy:




Everyman wrote:

Choisya wrote:
Just because a number of critics may agree on a point doesn't make it true. We have to examine the facts themselves, using critical comments as a resource, but decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.

I agree and this is precisely what most educated people do.

I'm impressed by what intelligent and thoughtful readers say when their views are backed up by references to the text.

I agree but it is also useful if readers can back up what they say by references from books or the internet etc.

I'm glad that we're agreed. Critical analyses can be useful to direct us to looking at certain things that we can then think about for ourselves. But comments like "I prefer to stick with the interpretations given by worthy critics and academics over the centuries" are of limited value unless supported by the individual's arguments backed up by the text. Otherwise, it's just a case of the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.

I'm glad that we have reached agreement on this, and look forward to more discussions which are based on our own close reading of the text rather than simply suggesting that because one or more critics have expressed an opinion, it must be correct.

After all, the audiences in Shakespeare's day had to watch and understand the play without the "benefit" of a single critical opinion. If they could do it, we can do it!


Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Our own judgement?

They just went and watched and enjoyed and applauded and made him the most popular playwright of his era..

Oh Everyman! They jolly well did not just watch and applaud - we know that they made a great deal of critical as well as appreciative noise (threw things even). Theatregoing was much more like pantomime in those times with lots of audience interaction. It was Shakespeare's 'playing to the gallery' by the use of asides, monologues, topical references etc etc which helped him to gain a huge popular audience. And I have no doubt that there were women in the audience who had something to say from the 'feminist' point of view and disgruntled artisans who would see references to what we would now call a 'Marxist' point of view. And as I have said elsewhere, there was plenty of 'deconstruction' in the taverns afterwards, by all accounts.

I would be interested to know from Carmenere-lady and others here if they have ever read Shakespeare or MND before and if not, could they understand him without seeing any notes of explanation at all? Everyone I have ever known has either used Notes (annotations) or been given information by a teacher to understand Shakespeare in the beginning. I am sure this applied to you too, Everyman, albeit long, long, long ago:smileyhappy:





Everyman wrote:

Carmenere_lady wrote:
I have been reading the critics of which some are entirely above my head.


Take heart!

Just remember, those who saw Shakespeare's productions in his own day seem to have understood and appreciated him just fine. They never took a single high school or college course in Shakespeare, never read a single academic scholar's analysis of his plays, never suffered through a single deconstructionist or feminist or Marxist or whateverist study of his works.

They just went and watched and enjoyed and applauded and made him the most popular playwright of his era (and perhaps of all time -- have any playwrights since then garnered the live audiences that Shakespeare did?).

So to the extent that you find a critic's comments understandable and constructive and helpful in enabling you to enjoy the plays more, good-o. But if they aren't understandable and constructive and helpful, put them down and go back to reading the play for yourself. They're all ancillary to your own reading and understanding and enjoying.

Always keep in mind: The Play's the Thing!


Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Act I: (Spoiler) The Court at the end.

[ Edited ]
According to my Notes the fairies only enter the Palace when all the humans are in bed asleep and this, IMO, makes them IN the Palace but not OF it, therefore Chery's delineation twix stability and reason and magic and madness is kept. Puck's speech at the end infers it may have all been a dream anyway and therefore no-one was anywhere:smileyhappy: As we have read elsewhere, the stage direction would move seamlessly from palace to forest to palace, with very few props and only the words and costumes to indicate the changes. Cheryls comments would be interesting on all this.

As for 'true love' I am not sure that Shakespeare is saying anything about that at all because so much of the play is a debunking of love. Shakespeare seems to be telling us that sexual attraction is not only subjective and irrational but liable at times to take absurd and perverse forms. And it sure does in this play! (You know what an old cynic I am.:smileyvery-happy:)



Everyman wrote:


cheryl_shell wrote:
The two locales are very different, not only in terms of what takes place, but in what each represents. The court is the place of law, stability and reason; the woods, on the other hand, is the place of magic, metamorphosis and madness.

And yet, on finishing reading the play, I am reminded that for the return to court, the fairies are not left behind, but at the end of the play, after the lovers are all in bed and presumably asleep, the fairies also come into the court, not just Oberon and Titania but "all their train." Every elf and fairy sprite is put under orders to "through this house each fairy stray...every fairy take his gait, / and each several chamber bless, /through this palace, with sweet peace.."

Doesn't this bring into question the clear delineation between forest and court that we have been suggesting? Why does Shakespeare add this element, which really could have been left out without affecting the action of the play at all? Is he saying that the court is only a place of law, and that if you want true love you have to introduce the fairy element? But the parties have already been properly reconciled and joined, so why is that necessary?

And isn't it interesting that the last word in the play is given to Puck, presumably speaking from within the place since there is no stage direction to indicate that the location of the play moves from the castle, which is the scene of the final act?

The court/forest division no longer seems as clear to me as it once did.

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-14-200702:33 PM

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Our own judgement?

And I have no doubt that there were women in the audience who had something to say from the 'feminist' point of view and disgruntled artisans who would see references to what we would now call a 'Marxist' point of view.

Somehow it doesn't it surprise me that you would have no doubt of that.

As to notes, certainly notes that explain unfamiliar words or usages are useful, and what historical events were happening at the time. The language has changed over the years, and of course it's useful to know what the words and phrases meant to his audience, just as most of us need, for example, to read Beowulf in translation rather than as written. And most American readers, at least, haven't studied the histories of those periods, so notes about the lineage of the various kings or the history of England's relationship with Brittany, for example, which S's audience would have know, is helpful background.

That's a totally different thing from scholarly commentary on what the play means and how readers should interpret or understand it.

But of course you're aware of the difference, and didn't mean to conflate the two.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: (Off topic) Everyman: Plays as plays

Because I always look at the plays as plays I invariably do look at what the play means and how it can be interpreted. From the point of view of production and direction this is very interesting to me and it gives me an insight into the performances I then go to see. Scholarly commentary is very useful from this point of view because scholars study what has gone before, what is valid, old new, etc. In the past all this helped me to produce little local shows, do costumes and backgrounds etc. My father was a co-Director of a local repertory company when I was in my teens and I took a great interest in the production side of the theatre. Most productions on the national stage pay homage to productions which have gone before - how such and such a director interpreted a particular speech or scene, what Shakespeare (or whoever) meant etc. Indeed there have been many theatrical productions I have seen where looking at the technicalities of production has saved me from the utter boredom of indifferent acting. From when I first went to work in London in the 60s I went to two theatre performances a week, sometimes more if I could sneak away and fit in a matinee. Over 30 years that amounted to an awful lot of performances that weren't up to my exacting standards:smileyhappy:. Now, alas, it not only costs a fortune to go to the London Theatre but the train fares are extortionate too:smileysad:




Everyman wrote:
And I have no doubt that there were women in the audience who had something to say from the 'feminist' point of view and disgruntled artisans who would see references to what we would now call a 'Marxist' point of view.

Somehow it doesn't it surprise me that you would have no doubt of that.

As to notes, certainly notes that explain unfamiliar words or usages are useful, and what historical events were happening at the time. The language has changed over the years, and of course it's useful to know what the words and phrases meant to his audience, just as most of us need, for example, to read Beowulf in translation rather than as written. And most American readers, at least, haven't studied the histories of those periods, so notes about the lineage of the various kings or the history of England's relationship with Brittany, for example, which S's audience would have know, is helpful background.

That's a totally different thing from scholarly commentary on what the play means and how readers should interpret or understand it.

But of course you're aware of the difference, and didn't mean to conflate the two.


Frequent Contributor
mef6395
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Act I: (Spoiler) The Court at the end.

>As for 'true love' I am not sure that Shakespeare is saying anything about that at all because so much of the play is a debunking of love. Shakespeare seems to be telling us that sexual attraction is not only subjective and irrational but liable at times to take absurd and perverse forms. And it sure does in this play!


I would like to believe that Shakespeare wanted "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to be about love and not just sexual attraction ... that love could be complicated and complex and topsy-turvy; but if it is true it will conquer most odds and differences, and will triumph in the end!
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

For Choisya: Performances (off-topic)

That's 3,000+!


Choisya wrote:
From when I first went to work in London in the 60s I went to two theatre performances a week, sometimes more if I could sneak away and fit in a matinee. Over 30 years that amounted to an awful lot of performances that weren't up to my exacting standards:smileyhappy:.
Frequent Contributor
alfprof212
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Shakespeare's portrayal of women

[ Edited ]
Upon reviewing my previous message on this topic, I began to look back into my mental history/knowledge of Shakespeare's female characters. It seems that there might have been a pattern in his portrayal of women...to contrast two female characters in certain plays. I have seen this in plays like MND (Titania and Hippolyta vs. Hermia and Helena), Othello (Emilia vs. Desdemona), and Hamlet (Ophelia vs. Gertrude, though that one is not as distinct, I admit). In my opinion, it seems that Shakespeare uses character foils to show two different sides of femininity - strong, opinionated and certainly feminine vs. shallow, silly and "girly." (SIDE-BAR: These are my opinions of these characters after reading and/or teaching these plays, but I am open to other interpretations.) This is stream-of-consciousness flowing from my exhausted brain, so I'm not sure where it's going. If anyone else has an idea, I would love for someone to "finish my thoughts," as it were. Have fun with that one! :smileyhappy:

Message Edited by alfprof212 on 02-15-200710:18 AM

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: For Choisya: Performances (off-topic)

Probably - I've certainly got a very large box full of old theare programmes!:smileyhappy:




pmath wrote:
That's 3,000+!


Choisya wrote:
From when I first went to work in London in the 60s I went to two theatre performances a week, sometimes more if I could sneak away and fit in a matinee. Over 30 years that amounted to an awful lot of performances that weren't up to my exacting standards:smileyhappy:.



Top Kudoed Authors
Users Online
Currently online:40 members 317 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: