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Group Readings > The Winter's Tale, Act 3, Dec16-24

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message 1: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Discussion of Act three...THE WINTER'S TALE begins here...


message 2: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments So the oracle on Delos (Delphos) so loudly impressed Cleomenes and Dion that they did not hear what the oracle said!? The answer to Leontes plea is written down (in what language?) and is sealed up, supposedly for Leontes eyes only. I guess this is a dramtic device for the scene on the reading of the oracle's thoughts on the matter of Hermione and associates, at Leonte's court. Seems like Cleo and Dion have had a nice holiday.
Scene 2 Two off stage deaths! What gives?
The servant bringing the news of Mamilius' death does so oddly.
"The prince your son ........................ is gone." he declares. "Gone?" says Leontes, and already we have the potential for comedy. I wonder if it's ever played this way?


message 3: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Do you know, I'd never thought much of the off stage deaths aspect; I don't want to write a spoiler,but one is self-explananatory later on...
On the whole ambiance of 'The Winter's Tale', I am reminded of that highly perceptive remark I came across by - I think - EMW Tillyard, who said that Shakespeare never depicts life as worse than it is, but also, he never depicts it as better than it is. Unfair things happen; the innocent suffer injustice...


message 4: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Lucinda wrote: "Do you know, I'd never thought much of the off stage deaths aspect; I don't want to write a spoiler,but one is self-explananatory later on...
On the whole ambiance of 'The Winter's Tale', I am remi..."


I guess it's because they don't die in a gory way with meaningful declamations as they croak.
Perhaps, if Tillyard's quote is true, it is Shakespeare identifying with the lives of the Globe's groundlings.


message 5: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments He could well be, James. It is a fascinating thing; even in his tragedies, Shakespeare never leaves the audience/reader feeling bleak. Somehow, he depicts life as worthwhile, as fight worth continuing, whatever horrors have occured. This is the more intriguing,when he lived in such a brutal age,when, as you say, the common man's life was so hard.


message 6: by Lucinda (last edited Dec 21, 2018 10:25AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments I suppose Antigones is paid back by providence for agreeing to expose the baby, however reluctantly, by his horrible end. His duty to preserve a life would have been greater than his duty to keep his word to the monarch. I assume 'Exit, pursued by a bear' is meant to be the darkest sort of comedy.
I have read somewhere that in Shakespeare's time, the bear may even sometimes have been a live one, a (comparatively) tame one, either owned by the threatre or loaned from, I think,the Tower of London from the royal menagerie.
They weren't so worried about health and safety in those days, that's for sure.


message 7: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Yet another off stage death, albeit this time likely gory; after all Antigonus, from the point of view of the audience is getting his just desserts.
Re stage direction re bear: this is only for the director of any Winter's Tale to read and subsequent readers of the play so not a part of the play as it's seen. Was there meant humor there in the stage direction itself? Perhaps.
We could ponder whether there was dark humor intended by a bear on stage chasing Antigonus or if it was meant to be a scary if not a thrilling moment for the audience to see a man being chased by a bear on the stage.
I think Shakespeare threw in clowns and bears or sexy scenes that aren't necessary for the sense of the play as a way of putting bums on seats at the Globe. Everyone would have been talking about the bear scene in Winter's Tale and hardly anyone would have been retelling the long repetitive sleep inducing monologues. Ha! Have i gone too far there?


message 8: by JimF (new)

JimF | 207 comments If we consider The Winter’s Tale is about Henry VIII (Leontes) and his daughter Elizabeth Tudor (Perdita), then the stage direction “Exit pursued by a Bear” could mean more.

Bear has the definition of to carry, and to give birth to.

Antigonus and mariners are innocent, but they all die for carrying Perdita to a place “famous for the creatures of prey.” This plot is not in Robert Greene’s Pandosto. Queen Elizabeth won’t forgive those who mistreated her.

Antigonus = anti-go-sun; i.e., he does something intolerable by the heavens. A hint:
MARINER.
In my conscience
The heavens with that we have in hand, are angry,
And frown upon us.
The name Antigonus appears often in Plutarch’s Lives. It’s a Greek name meaning comparable to father. The person follows Leontes’ will, Antigonus, is comparable to Perdita’s father (who gives birth her). The play has a happy ending. No one should die on the stage, royal family members especially.


message 9: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments A sign of Shakespeare's wonderfully pragmatic approach, I suppose, James. I read somewhere years ago that there were other plays involving appearances by bears around that time, too...
Jim, that's particularly interesting about whether royalty should be depicted as dying on the stage. Presumably Julius Caesar's gory death was all right, as he wasn't an ancestor of the monarchs of Shakespeare's time. King Lear dies on stage, but he is, of course, incredibly old for that time. I vaguely remember that in Henry VI his son and heir is stabbed to death by the future Richard III and his younger brother for berating them, but those are the only on stage deaths of royalty I can think of. To my shame, I have forgotten whether Richard II is murdered on the stage, or King John's nephew Artthur...


message 10: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments JimF wrote: "If we consider The Winter’s Tale is about Henry VIII (Leontes) and his daughter Elizabeth Tudor (Perdita), then the stage direction “Exit pursued by a Bear” could mean more.

Bear has the definitio..."

By royal family do you mean English royal family i.e. characters in the play that reperesent english royalty, or do you mean anyone that Shakespeare presents in the play as being high born? A happy ending for me would be strong comeupance for Leontes.


message 11: by JimF (new)

JimF | 207 comments JamesD wrote: "By royal family do you mean English royal familys ..."

Royal family members here I mean Henry VIII (Antigonus for Leontes), Edward VI (Mamillius), and Anne Boleyn (Hermione).

strong comeupance

Antigonus may be considered Leontes’ scapegoat. The play handles Leontes carefully not to offend Queen Elizabeth, who would not like her father died on the stage watched by everyone. (Any royal member may die on the stage, if his or her child not the present ruler.)

Happy ending is to flatter Queen Elizabeth. In Pandosto, her father kills himself. I guess the Queen won’t like that.


message 12: by JimF (new)

JimF | 207 comments “This is the Chase” is a suspicious line. Antigonus (=goat-unsin) is pursued by a bear. He tries to escape, but knows the fate of a scapegoat in the wilderness, so he utters this:
ANTIGONUS.
This is the Chase, I am gone forever.
Exit pursued by a Bear.
Scapegoat in Bible (King James):
But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:10)
Geneva Bible
But the goate, on which the lot shal fall to be the Scape goate, shalbe presented aliue before the Lord, to make reconciliation by him, & to let him go (as a Scape goate) into the wildernes.



message 13: by Phil (last edited Dec 24, 2018 06:13AM) (new)

Phil Jensen | 97 comments JamesD wrote: "I think Shakespeare threw in clowns and bears or sexy scenes that aren't necessary for the sense of the play as a way of putting bums on seats at the Globe. Everyone would have been talking about the bear scene in Winter's Tale and hardly anyone would have been retelling the long repetitive sleep inducing monologues. Ha! Have i gone too far there? "

No, I think it's a fair point. S was a commercial writer. He got paid for making his audience happy. It seems particularly obvious in some of the tragedies, like R&J, that alternate between soul-searching monologues and sex jokes. The contrast can be jarring.

So, S was not historically accurate; he (arguably) pandered to the audience, and many of his plots are lifted from other plays. What is there to celebrate?

I would argue that he works within the constraints of his medium exceptionally well. Sure, he throws in a bear attack, but it's a bear attack with dramatic impact. It mixes non-sequitur comedy (no foreshadowing/why a bear?) with grisly death. It underscores the play's theme of the sudden, unpredictable nature of death. Sometimes people just die, and it's not convenient or fair.

As you (James) comment upthread, the stage direction is (intentionally?) hilarious, but the stage action would have been either humorous or horrifying depending on how the theater company chose to play it. If they were using a live bear, I'm guessing it would have been legit scary. Unless the bear looked like this:

description


message 14: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 97 comments I reflected on the bear attack some more, and it reminded me of this story of the prophet Elisha:


2 Kings 2:23-24 King James Version (KJV)
23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.


This passage would likely have been familiar to Shakespeare's audience.


message 15: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Act 3 is so crazy. It’s really action
Packed. As I wrote yesterday (in the Act 2 thread) the first two acts of this play are completely off-putting for me. I can not believe that I care about this play so much because I can not stand the first two acts! Ha ha!

However the prosaic posturing and terrible petty jeolousy.... arouse such emotions of peace, sorrow and hope in this third Act. It seems terribly unfair that the son Max does. It’s shocking and so horrible.... he dies of weakness, depression at the politics of his own father against his mother, right?

Such a wake up call. Like King Lear who is not truly deep or wise or SELF AWARE (in the truly spiritual sense) until Cordelia dies.

The pacing of Act 3 is fantastic. As James says it is paved in such a way it could be comic. So true. It’s slapstick pacing! How innovative for a tragic scene and makes this play geek genre bending or contemporary and fresh to my eyes at least.


message 16: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
I’m still working through the comments here.... but in response to the off-stage deaths. Off stage deaths are a device in tragedy to alert us to focus on TEAL PROTAGOISTS as opposed to false protagonists.

I feel that this may also function as a clue or “Easter egg” to who these characters are mirroring and supports Jims suggestion that this is redeeming Anne Bolyn.


message 17: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Please excuse my spelling mistakes and typos. It’s early afternoon, I’m drinking Barry’s tea, in bed on a cold Toronto day on my phone so I don’t know how to edit my posts from my phone


message 18: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
I've been thinking about the "exit pursued by a bear." And it's hard to believe that bears ado not exist in England any more. It's weird to travel in Europe coming from Canada...where there is so much wild life in Canada one can see a bear on a road trip ...particularily in western Canada. One can see a lot of wildlife just in cities. I've seen a coyote twice in Chicago, a few times in Toronto. Racoons pretty much run the city of Toronto.

Here bear thing in Shakespeare's time...

https://www.newsweek.com/bear-baiting...


message 19: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments There are bears on modern day mainland Europe; signs for moose crossing in Finland, wolves reintroduced in the Spanish Pyrenees, wild boar in France and all over Europe.
Britain has thousands of foxes living in towns and cities including my city of Sheffield. There are deer all over the country but they tend to be more discreet that North American deer unless they are a part of a venison herd being raised for meat by humans. Rabbits, hares, badgers many, and hedgehogs. No big animals except for wild cattle (gone feral) in beautiful Northumberland, but lots of small animals including mice, rats, voles, weasels etc.


message 20: by JamesD (last edited Jan 01, 2019 06:40AM) (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Anyway, about the bear thing, I've been pondering, and looking back on Act 2 and the end of scen 3. Here there is a precursor about the bear which I think adds much meaning to the fleeting appearance of the bear in Act 3.
Poor Antigonous has aquiesced to getting rid of the 'female bastard' Perdita for Leontes.
He has been directed to
".... that thou bear it to some remote and desert place, quite out of our dominions, and that there thou leave it without more mercy to its own protection and favor of the climate." (Leontes)

Antigonous next speech, perhaps an internal dialogue or talking out loud to the baby, includes the following line:
"Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens to be thy nurses. Wolves and bears, they say, casting their savageness aside, have done like offices of pity".

So, in Classical antiquity, which is what I think Antigonous is referring to, Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who are reputed with founding Rome were popularly believed to have been raised by wolves.

Now bears. I'd not heard of bears rasing feral humans, but, in Classical Greek tales there is the baby Atalanta who was raised by bears after being left exposed on the mountain by her father who had wanted a boy. And she lives to fight another day as an adult. A story that include a young buck (human) named Meleager.
Doesn't this so fit with the Winter's Tale?

So it is not a shock that a bear appears and attacks Antigonous but that the bear did not run off with the baby.
But for the plays uses, Antigonous has to be got rid of now and the babe needs to be raised by shepherds.

I don't believe that a live bear would have been used for the scene, as, for there to be authenticity, the bear would have had to have been not attached to a line or a chain. A human dressed up as a bear would have to be used and a noisy death off stage so that Antigonous dismembered corpse would not be left to near the baby.


message 21: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments It is a very sad thing that so much of the native wildlife has been hunted to extinction in the UK. Bears, wolves and wild boars, among other creatures. Even otters are an endangered species. I regularly saw foxes walking about in broad daylight when I was living in West London, far more often than I see them in rural Mid Wales. At least, the New Forest has been preserved with its ponies.
I find it incredible that a live bear was used for the performance, but read it in the notes the first time I read the play. I can't remember which edition it was, though.
Here's an interesting discussion about it all.
[[http://shakespeare.edel.univ-poitiers...]]


message 22: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
I have read some work that live bear was used as well...which is crazy! I guess about as crazy as Siegried and Roy....oh wait....yes exactly.

In British Columbia where I grew up we could barely walk on many beaches...and actually we would wear our sneakers into the water because it was so deep with sharp oysters. Then you would see otters swimming. When I was a young adult I went to visit my home town and there weren't any oysters, otter populations had dropped....and sea urchins were stopped from the ocean floor for human food....thus removing urchins which otters eat.

However many areas have abundant oysters and otters again now on Canadas west coast.

Great notes James, on the baby, babies reared by bears I am glad you brought up the whole abandoned baby plot.

Is there something of a metaphor for children innocence as a Catholic view opposed to Protestant view of humans sinfulness. I was thinking there was another subliminal and revolutionary message here of Shakespeare being Catholic. This seemed to relate to Anne Boylyn as Jim mentioned earlier. Isn't part of the problem with religious war that Henry * changed religions and killed off Bolynn by becoming Protestant in order to re-marry and not sin?

I don't know now I'm talking myself into circles...ignore me if you need LOL


message 23: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
I was very charmed by this section with the Shepard....

I would there were no age between sixteen and
three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the
rest; for there is nothing in the between but
getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry,
stealing, fighting--Hark you now! Would any but
these boiled brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty
hunt this weather? They have scared away two of my
best sheep, which I fear the wolf will sooner find
than the master: if any where I have them, 'tis by
the seaside, browsing of ivy. Good luck, an't be thy
will what have we here! Mercy on 's, a barne a very
pretty barne! A boy or a child, I wonder? A
pretty one; a very pretty one: sure, some 'scape:
though I am not bookish, yet I can read
waiting-gentlewoman in the 'scape. This has been
some stair-work, some trunk-work, some
behind-door-work: they were warmer that got this
than the poor thing is here. I'll take it up for
pity: yet I'll tarry till my son come; he hallooed
but even now. Whoa, ho, hoa!


In my copy it says "trunk work" is secret or clandestine.

I've tried to find more about this but no luck.

"scape" is said to mean a sexual misadventure

which I am guessing comes from this etymology defined...
"shaft, stem," c. 1600, from Latin scapus "a stalk, shaft," cognate with Greek skapos "staff," skeptron "staff, scepter"


message 24: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Candy wrote: "I was very charmed by this section with the Shepard....

I would there were no age between sixteen and
three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the
rest; for there is nothing in the between ..."


Barne is familiar to me in Yorkshire where people still will call a baby a bairn.


message 25: by Lucinda (last edited Jan 03, 2019 01:55AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Ah - I've got it, James and Candy and everyone, one of the editors who suggests that live bears were used.. The Arden 1963 edition of 'The Winter's Tale', JHP Pafford.

This has been tantalising me. so I'll quote it in full.
J H Pafford says in his notes:

'A 'bear' episode was popular at the time. 'Mucedorus' as first published in 1598 contains only a bear's head but the version performed at court on 3 Feb. 1610 (published 1610) shows the clown tumbling over a white bear, and it is after 1610 that editions of 'Mucedorus' multiply. Johnson's 'Masque of Oberon', first published on 1 Jan. 1611, shows a chariot drawn by two white bears. N.T. Wint. suggests that the bear pit in Southwark, hard by the Globe Theatre, had a tame animal to let out. It may have had two tame white bears, or skins of bears may have come into the Globe's wardrobe. J C Macmanaway points out to me that the idea may come from the knowledge of Barents' voyages on which at least two men were 'torn to pieces' by polar bears. (cf G de Veer, 'The True Description of Three Voyages' trans. William Phillip , 1609 [Repr. Hakluyt Soc.1876. See p.63]. Dutch and German editions (1598, 1599) had pictures [Hakluyt Soc. p. 62] showing a bear tearing at a man's shoulder (cf. 94-95)
The episode in 2 Kings ii. would also be well known. N. Coghill believes that the 'bear' was human and the episode intended to have a comic effect. (SC. Sur xi, 1958, 34-35). Although the 'bear' may have been a man, (for example, see Johnson 'Bart. Fair' ed. Horsman 1960, m. iv 126n,) the dream and this episode are not primarily comic, and the liklihood is that the bear was real since the remark at 128 could ony have been by someone with a knowledge of tame bears. In many episodes which are primarily serious a comic flavour can also be present, as here. Coghill has expert evidence that bears are bad-tempered and unreliable, but Shakespeare may have known better about a particular bear. (III.iii 128-129) probably not from the bear pit. (cf. CF Reynolds, 'Mucedorus' in Josephine W. Bennett, 'Studies in the English Rennaisance Drama in Honor of Karl Holznecht' 1956 esp. 259-64). See also, 112-15n, and p. p. lix).'

Whew, all that copy typing of those miniscule notes was tiring.

Candy, I love that speech too. It is really funny. There is a clever change of mood here,where the tragic seems to combine with the comic and then the comic prevails in the coming scenes.

The clown's comments about the deaths of Antigones and the mariners are more comedy of the darkest sort:
'...The sea flap-dragoned it: but first, how the poor souls
roares, and the sea mocked them: and how the gentleman
roared, and the bear mocked him, both roaring louder than the sea or weather'.'


message 26: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments There's always some clown that's going to go on about his version of events eh. Ha ha.


message 27: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Ah that's a great question though James.

Do any of us believe we can know something?

I feel so many people are disillusioned by things like political scandals, war, broken family dynamics, bank scandals....and fake news, russian conspiracies...and the philosophies that became so dominant as a result of disillusions.

Existentialism then deconstruction are philosophical responses to disappointment, death, war, advertising, corruption...

within administrations and governments....that I find sometimes people are now in general afraid to believe anything. They are afraid to believe accounts of past times, Shakespeare's times, or trying to research paleolithic life, medieval life...we scramble for information.

I have had many discussions where people will say "well we can't know what the artist intended or felt when they made such ad such a painting"

When we look at a painting and we see the faces and content....why can't we understand what it means?

We have lost confidence in meaning...with good reason but at what cost?

In other bear news...I recall seeing a live bear in a performance as a child. I remember being both fascinated and terrified. I loved him he was adorable but I also felt so sorry for him. It was awful.

And apparently a live bear in Shakespeare's time is still happening!

https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/d...


message 28: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Candy wrote: "Ah that's a great question though James.

Do any of us believe we can know something?

I feel so many people are disillusioned by things like political scandals, war, broken family dynamics, bank..."


So was all that spurred by my off the cuff joking with the word/name clown Candy?
The hidden question in my flippant statement is what has been perplexing me from the beginning of the play when I read the list of characters: Why is a shepherd's son called Clown? It's odd to me as is the fact that Clown's father hasn't even got a name. It's as if they're both not really human. Clown and shepherd are functions.
So Clown describes what he has just seen and because he is Clown, somehow there must be at the very least quirkiness in his observations. Is he dressed as a shepherd and if so does he have a clownish face and or way of moving about? Maybe there will be revelations on this score, though with Shakespeare you are never guaranteed satisfaction in answers to these sort of questions.


message 29: by JamesD (last edited Jan 03, 2019 03:40PM) (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Candy wrote: "I was very charmed by this section with the Shepard....

I would there were no age between sixteen and
three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the
rest; for there is nothing in the between ..."


Three and twenty or 23. Why is the number 23 favored as an age of maturity, as suggested by the lines?
Shakespeare was born on the 23rd of April.
Shakespeare's 23rd sonnet which seems autobiographical with hidden meanings is also 23 lines long.
And just to make things more clear, as in our little winter's tale the 23rd Psalm in the bible alludes to shepherds (the great shepherd in the sky) "the lord is my shepherd ...."). This is a play that gives plentyy of time to shepherds.
I'm not sure how interesting the number 23 was in Shakespeare's time but in the 20th century 23 is a big deal in mathematics and has been picked up on by many creative people as having a magical element, including William Burroughs who became obsessed with the number and Alister Crowley who had many obseesions. do Check 23 out on Wiki or some such. Fascinating!
I'm just saying that I think there is more in the use of 23 in this play than meets the eye. Any thoughts JimF?


message 30: by JimF (new)

JimF | 207 comments JamesD wrote: "Any thoughts JimF?"

In my view, most of unnecessary numbers in Shakespeare are sound-played, e.g. five as fie, four as fault, sixteen as sick’s-teen (as in this play); very few are ciphered via short code used in Elizabethan days.

There are five numbers here: 10, 23, 19, 22, 2. Their sound plays can match with the context.
SHEPHERD.
I would there were no age between ten and three and twenty,
or that youth would sleep out the rest:
for there is nothing (in the between)
but getting wenches with child,
wronging the Ancientry, stealing, fighting, hark you now:
would any but these boiled-brains of nineteen,
and two and twenty hunt this weather?
They have scared away two of my best Sheep,
which I fear the Wolf will sooner find then the Master;
if anywhere I have them, ’tis by the sea-side, browsing of Ivy.
ten: taint (a conviction, stain, a condition of corruption; an infection).
three: sweet.
twenty: twine-deed (twisting deed of taint and sweet).
twine: a twined or twisted object; a twist in the course of anything.
Twenty is more complex; “in the between” can be a hint.
nine: night, gnat, net, nigh.
teen: injury, mischief; irritation, vexation, annoyance.

This paragraph can apply to certain persons. If we take Mary Sidney, then the “two of my best Sheep” talks about her two sons, William and Philip Herbert. They were not close to her (not talking to each other for some years). In this case, “sea-side” means she-side, mother’s side. The two brothers appear also in sonnet 99, Concolinel, etc.


message 31: by Lucinda (last edited Jan 04, 2019 04:50AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments This is such a good discussion.
Ha, Ha, James, about the homespun philosophy of clowns.
On what Candy says about being diffident about interpreting meaning, and its existential implications (and all that) I have that problem myself in drama or novels, and sometimes even in paintings. I find it hard to know exactly what someone aimed at in depicting something.
Quite often I find some character wholly sympathetic or unsympathetic, and it is very much a minority view.
My comment on the Reading Schedule about Hamlet is typical; I can't care what happens to him, but clearly this was not Shakespeare's intention, nor a majority view, or people wouldn't find the play so absorbing.
I always have a certain sympathy for Cassisus,but I believe he is generally interpreted as inadmirable.
Quite often I will pick out some sub plot, or secondary character, and find this or the character more absorbing than the main characters and plot.
I have no idea how typical this is.
It is odd about the characters having no name, but I suppose as a practical explanation, they are not indicated in the text and may have been lost, seeing that there is no definitive text.
Maybe, with regard to the son at least, Shakespeare concentrated more on indicating that here was a prime comedy part that might be played by that famous clown in the troop whose name I have, naturally, forgotten. I think it may have been Will Kemp, though he may have been earlier.
Come to think of it, though, the rogue's part gives better scope for a seasoned comedian, so that explanation doesn't really hold up, unless there were two such actors. Anyway, he must be played by a good comic.
I vaguely remember that in 'Measure for Measure' the comic character Pompey Bum is always referred to as 'clown' as well, at least in the edition I had. I think 'The Fool' too, in King Lear, may not have a name.


message 32: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments ...An example about constant puzzles with interpretations is, I suppose, the whole debate about the setting in Act III being by the 'coast of Bohemia' . Ben Jonson was the first to mock Shakespeare for including a coast in a land locked country (now part of the modern Czech Republic).
He followed Greene's 'Pandosto'. There are various schools of thought about this. That the area Shakespeare meant did have a coast, that there was a misprint, that Shakespeare's 'coast of Bohemia' is a joke much like 'The Swiss Navy', as Shakespeare has made up a fantasy where it can have a coast, or that even most educated people in Jacobean times would have been ignorant about whether Bohemia had a coast or not, and Shakespeare was too...


message 33: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments JimF wrote: "JamesD wrote: "Any thoughts JimF?"

In my view, most of unnecessary numbers in Shakespeare are sound-played, e.g. five as fie, four as fault, sixteen as sick’s-teen (as in this play); very few are ..."


I thought it was 16 not 10?


message 34: by JimF (new)

JimF | 207 comments JamesD wrote: "I thought it was 16 not 10?"

The number sixteen appears three times in this play. Teen has the definition of injury, mischief, vexation. Sixteen as sick’s-teen fits the “sixteen Winters” of Leontes.
TIME, THE CHORUS.
Over sixteen years, and leave the growth untried
. . .
PAULINA.
Which lets go-by some sixteen years,
. . .
CAMILLO.
My Lord, your Sorrow was too sore laid-on,
Which sixteen Winters cannot blow away, . . .
We can ignore the shepherd’s five numbers (10, 23, 19, 22, 2) or make assumptions. An intelligent author would not waste words, names, and numbers.


message 35: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments JimF wrote: "JamesD wrote: "I thought it was 16 not 10?"

The number sixteen appears three times in this play. Teen has the definition of injury, mischief, vexation. Sixteen as sick’s-teen fits the “sixteen Win..."


My apologies there Jim. I mis-read 16 for 10.


message 36: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Lucinda wrote: "This is such a good discussion.
Ha, Ha, James, about the homespun philosophy of clowns.
On what Candy says about being diffident about interpreting meaning, and its existential implications (and a..."


I think I actually meant that we are all clowns. Some are better at 'clowning' than others. All clowns are not born equal. Nevertheless we all want to have our say.


message 37: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments JamesD wrote: "Lucinda wrote: "This is such a good discussion.
Ha, Ha, James, about the homespun philosophy of clowns.
On what Candy says about being diffident about interpreting meaning, and its existential imp..."


In fact I conjecture that Shakespeare himself called the groundlings 'bunch of clowns' from time to time.


message 38: by Lucinda (last edited Jan 05, 2019 04:39AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments When did 'clown' take on its modern, pejorative meaning, I wonder, like 'fool'? The fool in King Lear is far wiser than his so-called betters.
The clown in this is a cruder example (in the old fashioned meaning). He is there solely to entertain the audience, and is less morally admirable than his father the shepherd. I ought to go over to Act V to discuss that!


message 39: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
I agree this is such a great discussion!

Yes, I too like James was trying to figure out the meaning of clown. Fantastic stuff!!!

James message 28 yes, I did feel an inspiration about knowledge and what can we know...spuurred by your thoughts. I think there is something about how we know, what we know...and our confidence or lack of confidence in understanding art. Lucinda describes in her message 29....a feeling I often have too...and have witnessed here. Sometimes a character just entices us even if they are not a major role. I have had many discussions about R3 and am surprised when someone feels for him LOL!!!

I am obsessed with this numbering and the number 24. I will also join you all in exploring it. I will go into a wiki rabbit hole later today James! I am aware of its significance in many texts and art....but its totally important to visit this from that section of the play.

Jim wow as usual you blow my mind.

I am terrible at math and it's so funny now....I am so involved in the math in art and I wished I had studied harder as a kid.

As for clowns....possibly from the french "cloyne"...and it has some association with "wood" which is intriguing as we often end up talking about wood here in our discussions LOL

Here...

1560s, clowne, also cloyne, "man of rustic or coarse manners, boor, peasant," a word of obscure origin; the original form and pronunciation are uncertain. Perhaps it is from Scandinavian dialect (compare Icelandic klunni "clumsy, boorish fellow;" Swedish kluns "a hard knob; a clumsy fellow," Danish klunt "log, block"), or from Low German (compare North Frisian klönne "clumsy person," Dutch kloen). OED describes it as "a word meaning originally 'clod, clot, lump', which like those words themselves ..., has been applied in various langs. to a clumsy boor, a lout."


message 40: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Sonnet 23

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.


https://interestingliterature.com/201...


message 41: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
And here is this.....

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 42: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Candy wrote: "I agree this is such a great discussion!

Yes, I too like James was trying to figure out the meaning of clown. Fantastic stuff!!!

James message 28 yes, I did feel an inspiration about knowledge an..."

Really what mystifies me is the naming of a person, Clown, with a capital C and the not naming of his father, shepherd, with a low case c. I can understand the purpose of a 'clown' character in a literary piece but no the not giving proper names to 2 important characters in a play. There are some characters who do almost nothing the play and yet they have names e.g. Archidamus and Mopsa.


message 43: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Candy wrote: "Sonnet 23

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit..."

Now this is embarrassing. I have said that there were 23 lines in the 23rd sonnet because the first copy that I read online did have that many and I thought it had been contrived to be so. Now with this link I see no where near 23 lines, and, to make matters more cogent, I cannot find any sonnet 23 versions with 23 lines in them. Ho hum eh.


message 44: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Candy wrote: "I agree this is such a great discussion!

Yes, I too like James was trying to figure out the meaning of clown. Fantastic stuff!!!

James message 28 yes, I did feel an inspiration about knowledge an..."

Candy is 24 the number that you meant? Or 23?


message 45: by Tom (new)

Tom Lane | 83 comments A belated thought about the bear thing. As James and Lucinda were discussing, gruesome deaths and clowns (interesting to mention them in the same breath; but I always thought clowns were grotesque, even as a boy) it is indeed the idea of popular entertainment in Shakespeare, who was writing for money to attract a mass audience, and to whom later generations of scholars and grad students have ascribed profundity that probably would not have occurred to the man himself at the time. I have browsed the web on the contemporary entertainment of bear-baiting, and find it incredible to accept, but there it is. However, in modern Bangkok I saw - stumbled across, wasn't looking for it, but it was common in the neighborhoods - cock fighting. Tomorrow I am attending a dramatic reading (Candy: it is by the Shakespeare Project of Chicago, at the Newberry Library) of "Titus Andronicus," which comes with a warning that it is for mature audiences only, given the level of gore. I understand there was a genre of revenge plays that Shakespeare was dabbling in, early in his career. To give bears a better benefit of the doubt, Antigonus, when he leaves Sicily with the baby, suggests a bear or wolf family might raise the child (Act 2 Scene 3 lines 215-220): we have Mowgli, first draft!


message 46: by JamesD (last edited Jan 11, 2019 04:30PM) (new)

JamesD | 465 comments Tom wrote: "A belated thought about the bear thing. As James and Lucinda were discussing, gruesome deaths and clowns (interesting to mention them in the same breath; but I always thought clowns were grotesque,..."

Hi Tom. I mentioned a while back 2 classical references to children raised by bear in one case and wolves in another. These would have been known of to shakespeare I think. the most famous wolf story is that of Romulus and Remus who were reputedly raised by wolves and then R and R initiated Rome. More relating to our 'winter's tale' is the story from classical greek mythology and that of Atalante who was left to perish by her father who had wanted a boy and refused to raise a girl. A bear found the baby and suckled it and then shepherds rescued the baby from the bear and raised it.
RE bear baiting. There is a 19th century bear baiting pit in the local botanical gardens in Sheffield England where I live. Much bigger than you might expect and built strong to protect the spectators.
RE Clown the shepherd's son. He's never referred to as a clown or the clown. I agree that clowns as we know them can be disturbing and frightening. Candy quoted some definition of clown from the medieval period I think as a 'rustic' person, i.e. uneducated country oik. Maybe this is what is meant by clown in this play.
Autolycus is more of a clever clown in his role in the play, but he is not in obvious clown attire and certainly not called clown. So neither of these characters in this play are visually what we think of as a classical clown.


message 47: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Tom and James
I so agree that notions of entertainment were far more unfeeling in Shakespeare's time than in our own. Modern readers tend to be rather horrified by the treatment even the pompous Malvolio receives in 'Twelfth Night' - but no doubt the original audience laughed uproariously, seeing it as a deserved come uppance.
As has been said, they enjoyed a bit of bear baiting and cock fighting (there is still the ruins of a cock fighting 'pit' here in this market town in Mid Wales) .
On profoundity: - Shakespeare may not have intended profound references; but being the genius he was, surely his unconscious would have provided it anyway?


message 48: by JamesD (last edited Jan 12, 2019 07:04AM) (new)

JamesD | 465 comments I see a lot of cruel satire going on these days, in print, on TV and film and on stage. No bear baiting though.
In 12th Night the character Malvolio is given a hard time in the script because he is a Puritan. Puritans in London forced Shakespeare's and other theatrical groups to move across the river Thames away from the main city center area. This why the Globe is on the south side of the river. Shakespeare did not have much time for Puritans and wanted everyone to know this.


message 49: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 97 comments JamesD wrote: "I see a lot of cruel satire going on these days, in print, on TV and film and on stage."

We have safe targets and off-limits targets just like they did in S's time.


message 50: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
1560s, clowne, also cloyne, "man of rustic or coarse manners, boor, peasant," a word of obscure origin; the original form and pronunciation are uncertain. Perhaps it is from Scandinavian dialect (compare Icelandic klunni "clumsy, boorish fellow;" Swedish kluns "a hard knob; a clumsy fellow," Danish klunt "log, block"), or from Low German (compare North Frisian klönne "clumsy person," Dutch kloen). OED describes it as "a word meaning originally 'clod, clot, lump', which like those words themselves ..., has been applied in various langs. to a clumsy boor, a lout."
The theory that it is from Latin colonus "colonist, farmer" is less likely, but awareness of the Latin word might have influenced the sense development in English.


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