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JONATHAN GIL HARRIS PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH ASHOKA UNIVERSITY 12 JUNE, 2014 Listening to Shakespeare and His Foreigners.

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Presentation on theme: "JONATHAN GIL HARRIS PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH ASHOKA UNIVERSITY 12 JUNE, 2014 Listening to Shakespeare and His Foreigners."— Presentation transcript:

1 JONATHAN GIL HARRIS PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH ASHOKA UNIVERSITY 12 JUNE, 2014 Listening to Shakespeare and His Foreigners

2 Listening to Shakespeare

3 SHAKES-SEEING Ours is a very visually oriented age. We often read visual information better than we read text.

4 SHAKES-SEEING Ours is a very visually oriented age. We often read visual information better than we read text. Perhaps that is why, when confronted with the difficulty of Shakespeare’s language, we want to “see” him to make sense of him.

5 SHAKES-SEEING Our desire to “see” in order to make sense of Shakespeare is apparent in how we imagine his characters’ differences in terms of their physical appearances.

6 SHAKES-SEEING Our desire to “see” in order to make sense of Shakespeare is apparent in how we imagine his characters’ differences in terms of their physical appearances. In particular, we tend to imagine characters from different backgrounds – whether ethnic or religious – simply as looking different, as if identity were literally skin deep

7 SHAKES-SEEING

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9 SHAKES-HEARING But Shakespeare presents difference at the level not just of the visible, but also of the audible. After all, the people who came to his plays were not spectators but audiences.

10 Prose versus Poetry BRUTUS Romans, countrymen, and lovers, hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his. MARK ANTONY Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them, The good is often interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you that Caesar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answered it.

11 Prose versus Poetry BRUTUS Romans, countrymen, and lovers, hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his. Brutus’s speech is in PROSE Sounds more like EVERYDAY SPEECH The sentences don’t have a RHYTHM So they are less memorable MARK ANTONY Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them, The good is often interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you that Caesar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answered it.

12 Prose versus Poetry BRUTUS Romans, countrymen, and lovers, hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his. Brutus’s speech is in PROSE Sounds more like EVERYDAY SPEECH The sentences don’t have a RHYTHM So they are less memorable MARK ANTONY Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them, The good is often interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you that Caesar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answered it. Mark Antony’s speech is in POETRY Each line is shaped to a specific LENGTH, so sounds more SCRIPTED The lines have a RHYTHM They are much more memorable

13 Iambic Pentameter Iambic Pentameter: five feet of two syllables each, first unstressed and second stressed (dah DAH/ dah DAH/ dah DAH/ dah DAH/ dah DAH) To BOLD/ly GO/ where NO/ one’s GONE/ beFORE – Star Trek

14 Iambic Pentameter To BE/ or NOT/ to BE/ that IS/ the QUEST/ion – Hamlet Shakespeare often uses iambic pentameter when he has characters speaking in poetry – the rhythm most like the normal rhythms of speech. Here, there is an extra syllable at the end. What is its effect?

15 Trochaic Meter Trochaic Meter: the opposite of iambic meter; the trochaic foot starts with a stressed syllable and is followed by an unstressed syllable (DAH dah/ DAH dah/ DAH dah) WITCH Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. – Macbeth,

16 Hearing Difference How does Shakespeare allow us to hear not just differences of character and type, but also differences of ethnicity and religion?

17 Fluellen in Henry V FLUELLEN Ay, he was porn at Monmouth, Captain Gower. What call you the town's name where Alexander the Pig was born! GOWER Alexander the Great. FLUELLEN Why, I pray you, is not pig great?

18 Macmorris in Henry V MACMORRIS It is no time to discourse, so Chrish save me: … there is throats to be cut, and works to be done; and there ish nothing done, so Chrish sa' me, la!

19 Shylock in Merchant of Venice SHYLOCK He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. – The Merchant of Venice,

20 Prince of Morocco in The Merchant of Venice PRINCE OF MOROCCO Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets To try my fortune. By this scimitar That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince That won three fields of Sultan Solyman, I would outstare the sternest eyes that look, Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth, Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear, Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey, To win thee, lady. – The Merchant of Venice,

21 Caliban in The Tempest MIRANDA Abhorrèd slave, Which any print of goodness wilt not take, Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee, Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour One thing or other. When thou didst not, savage, Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like A thing most brutish, I endowed thy purposes With words that made them known. – The Tempest,

22 Caliban in The Tempest CALIBAN Be not afeared. The isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked, I cried to dream again. – The Tempest,

23 Listening to Shakespeare’s Foreigners At the level of sound, Shakespeare’s foreign characters veer between crass caricature and nuanced characterization

24 “The Othello Music” G. Wilson Knight argued in 1930 that Othello’s difference from Iago can be heard in his “musical” speech

25 “The Othello Music” When we first hear of Othello, we think he will be a classic stage-Moor IAGO Three great ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-capped to him: and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I am worth no worse a place. But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them, with a bombast circumstance Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war.

26 “The Othello Music” But when Othello first takes the stage, he says: OTHELLO Tis yet to know-- Which, when I know that boasting is an honour, I shall promulgate--I fetch my life and being From men of royal siege. … Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them. Good signior, you shall more command with years Than with your weapons.

27 “The Othello Music” Her father loved me; oft invited me; Still questioned me the story of my life, From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes, That I have passed. I ran it through, even from my boyish days, To the very moment that he bade me tell it … It was my hint to speak,--such was the process; And of the Cannibals that each other eat, The Anthropophagi and men whose heads Do grow beneath their shoulders.

28 “The Othello Music” OTHELLO O, blood, blood, blood! IAGO Patience, I say; your mind perhaps may change. OTHELLO Never, Iago: Like to the Pontic sea, Whose icy current and compulsive course Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on To the Propontic and the Hellespont, Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace, Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love, Till that a capable and wide revenge Swallow them up.

29 “The Othello Music” OTHELLO Soft you; a word or two before you go … Speak of me as I am … Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes, Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees Their medicinal gum. Set you down this; And say besides, that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, I took by the throat the circumcised dog, And smote him, thus.

30 “I HEAR A FACE” (A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM ) Shakespeare’s World of Words


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