~Sunday, December 17, 2006

Prove Me Wrong

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Sarah
Date: Dec 16 2006 8:22 AM

You know how they say that Shakespeare wrote about every possible plot in history? That's there's nothing Shakespeare hasn't written about?

While I disagree on the premise because those who subscribe to the "WS came up with every possible plot" school play loose with "plot" anyway, tell me this:

Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol. Guy who realizes that family is more important that work. Is there anywhere in Shakespeare that this is mentioned?

The only thing I can think of is the apparition in Hamlet versus Jacob and Marley. Both use apparitions to convey warnings.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Poet
Date: Dec 16 2006 6:27 PM

King Lear... also, Macbeth makes a pretty strong case against professional ambition... The Tempest: Prospero's books or Miranda's happiness... Henry IV: Henry's unpopular loyalty to Falstaff...

Billy never comes out and states his themes: he's more artful. But the balance between personal and private (of which work v. family is a part) is pretty constantly in his plays.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Sarah
Date: Dec 16 2006 2:29 PM

But King Lear didn't go nutzo because he lost his family. He went nutzo because he lost his kingdom, ie job. He eventually makes the realization, but doesn't get the happy ending Scrooge gets. Then again, the entire title is "The Tragedy of King Lear," not The Comedy of where everything works out okay.

Also Scrooge doesn't get his agnorisis until he sees the future and consequently learns of his own mortality, which is pretty selfish in and of itself. Lear's knowledge of mortality is what made him give up the kingdom...

Are these the same lines of thinking you had?

And by Jacob AND Marley, I meant Jacob Marley. I was thinking of the Muppets version where there's two ghosts-- the peanut gallery old men...

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Poet
Date: Dec 16 2006 10:54 PM

Lear doesn't get a happy ending because there are no happy consequences for his actions. Personally, I think the honesty of Lear's conclusion...blind, stumbling the plains, etc...is what prevents the play from being sentimental in the way Dickens is. If sentimentality is understood to be the exhibition of an inappropriate amount or type of emotion (a la J.C. Ransom), then Scrooge's ending is overtly sentimental. Furthermore a deus ex machina is required to get to the happy ending, highlighting the inaccuracy of the story's direction. Of course, Dickens was going less for accuracy than for a Christian morality tale: and, whatever one thinks of Christianity, one has to concede that it is inaccurate to the reality of this world, which generally holds the dead don't rise again, etc.

I'm skeptical about the benefits of comparing works with different goals (apples and oranges, yada yada), but, if I were to compare the stories, I might start with peeking at the language...looking for what corresponds and what does not....how are Scrooge and Lear alike or unlike predicated upon their diction, tone, etc. When it comes down to it, Lear exists in a different world...possesses a different ontology, and a different vocabulary. For that reason, I don't know how fertile the comparison might be: usually a contemporary of the subject character might yield more accurate results, preventing the problem of temporal readings, idiom, etc from rearing its hydra-style heads.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Sarah
Date: Dec 16 2006 7:52 PM

I think that was the most intelligent use of MySpace. Ever.


Miss Natalie said...

i love conversations like this :-0 i usually go so far left field, then random tangent and get back to it

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Muppets! Statler and Waldorf!

Anonymous said...

Myspace and Intelligence in the same sentence... did the world end? Was I late to the Apocalypse (again...)?

Seriously, the reason Lear doesn't get a happy ending is pretty simple... it's a tragedy. Shakespeare while brilliant in many ways, writes in the context of his times. Everyone dies in tragedies (except for supporting characters who try and explain why the leads die), and everyone almost dies in comedies but tragedy is avoided in the end. His historical (re: propaganda for the Tudors to validate their claim to the throne) plays vary depending on the circumstance, but again are beholden to the context of the times.

And the sonnets, again, while amazing, are all basically about the same thing, but most poems are about the same thing just said thousands of different ways...

As far as plots... many of his plots are loosely based on history, giving credence to the adage truth is often stranger than fiction and in Bill's case, more interesting.

And of course, Muppets rock :)

general_boy said...

the myspaz police will hunt you two down like dogs... and soon turn your minds to marshmallow with their powerful stupido-rays.

get out now.... while you still can.

get out before the "adds" start to seem important...

socal sweetie said...

Haha, wow that IS the most intelligent myspace conversation I've ever seen.

Phil said...

Bloody liberal arts education.

Sarah said...

Natalie- He does that too and it drives me nuts how something like this conversation will swerve into his hatred for Abraham Lincoln :)

TDG- I had no idea what their names were! I still maintain that the Muppets version is the best version of A Christmas Carol.

Jedimerc- That was pretty much my line of thinking-- that it didn't end well for the simple reason it was a tragedy.

General_Boy- I don't think Tom will be my friend anymore!!!

Socal- hehhe. That's why I thought it was so funny :)

Phil- Yes. I'm not good for much else.

Anonymous said...

I maintain that anything the Muppets do is better than the original. And they are my favorite characters...they are snarky! :-)

Sarah said...

They ARE hilarious!


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