Soliloquy: Talking to the Audience EN301: Shakespeare and

Soliloquy: Talking to the Audience EN301: Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time What is a soliloquy? soliloquy, n. Pronunciation: /sllkw/ Etymology: < Latin sliloquium (introduced by St. Augustine), < sli-, slus alone + loqui to speak. 1a. An instance of talking to or conversing with oneself, or of uttering ones thoughts aloud without addressing any person. (Oxford English Dictionary)

Direct address and complicity AARON Now climbeth Tamora Olympus top, Safe out of fortunes shot, and sits aloft, Secure of thunders crack or lightning flash; [] Then, Aaron, arm thy heart and fit thy thoughts To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress, And mount her pitch whom thou in triumph long Hast prisoner held fettered in amorous chains, And faster bound to Aarons charming eyes Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus. Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts! I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold To wait upon this new-made empress.

To wait, said I? to wanton with this queen, This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph, This siren, that will charm Romes Saturnine And see his shipwreck and his commonweals. (2.1.1.24) Direct address and complicity [play Aaron video clip] Note influence of Medieval Vice Why does Aaron get the most soliloquies in the first half of the play? [N.B. Marcus and Lucius have one each; it is possible to play part of Tamoras speech at 1.1.446-52 as a soliloquy, too.] Direct address and

complicity Is it significant that Petruccio gets two big soliloquies in which he explains his tactics to the audience, whereas Katherine gets none? PETRUCCIO. Ill attend her here, And woo her with some spirit when she comes. Say that she rail, why then Ill tell her plain She sings as sweetly as a nightingale. [] But here she comes, and now, Petruccio, speak. (2.1.166-79) Direct address and complicity PETRUCCIO. Thus have I politicly begun my reign,

And tis my hope to end successfully. [] She ate no meat to-day, nor none shall eat. Last night she slept not, nor tonight she shall not. As with the meat, some undeservd fault Ill find about the making of the bed, And here Ill fling the pillow, there the bolster, This way the coverlet, another way the sheets, Ay, and amid this hurly I intend That all is done in reverend care of her [] This is a way to kill a wife with kindness, And thus Ill curb her mad and headstrong humour. He that knows better how to tame a shrew, Now let him speak. Tis charity to show. (4.1.168-91)

Direct address and complicity Propellers The Taming of the Shrew (2007): PETRUCCIO. He that knows better how to tame a shrew, Now let him speak. Tis charity to show. (to an audience member in the front stalls) You wanna say something? (Audience laughter.) (taking in whole audience) Anyone want to say anything? (Uncomfortable pause.) (with a shrug) Okay Exit.

Soliloquies: Falstaff and Hal Only three characters get soliloquies in 1 Henry IV: Hal, Falstaff, and Hotspur: 1.2: Hal (I know you all) 2.2: Falstaff (I am accursed to rob in that thiefs company [arguably not a soliloquy]) 2.4: Hotspur (But for mine own part) 4.2: Falstaff (If I be not ashamed of my soldiers) 5.1: Falstaff (Tis not due yet [arguably not a soliloquy]) 5.3: Falstaff (Though I could scape shot-free at London and Well, if Percy be alive) 5.4: Hal (For worms, brave Percy [arguably not a

soliloquy]) 5.4: Falstaff (Embowelled, and Ill follow, as they say, for reward) Soliloquies: Falstaff and Hal [Clip from 2010 Globe production] Soliloquies: Falstaff and Hal PRINCE HARRY. Why, thou owest God a death. Exit FALSTAFF. Tis not due yet. I would be loath to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, tis no matter; honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm?

No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Tis insensible, then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore Ill none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon. And so ends my catechism. (5.1.126-40) Soliloquies: Falstaff and Hal Hotspur on the dead Sir Walter Blunt: A gallant knight he was (5.3.20). Falstaff on the same: Soft, who are you? Sir Walter Blunt. Theres honour for you! [] I like not such grinning honour as Sir Walter hath. Give me life (5.3.32-3, 58-9).

These contrasting attitudes share the stage at the plays climax as Hal and Hotspur, and Falstaff and Douglas, fight simultaneously in the next scene (5.4). Soliloquies: Falstaff and Hal But is our complicity with Falstaff strained by the fact that it is Harry who has the plays first soliloquy? PRINCE HARRY. I know you all, and will awhile uphold The unyoked humour of your idleness. Yet herein will I imitate the sun, Who doth permit the base contagious clouds To smother up his beauty from the world,

That, when he please again to be himself, Being wanted, he may be more wondered at By breaking through the foul and ugly mists Of vapours that did seem to strangle him. [] Ill so offend to make offence a skill, Redeeming time when men think least I will. (1.2. 192-214) Direct address or thinking aloud? A disclaimer: the text is not a coded set of instructions so much as the basis for creative response. Theres no single right way to perform it. Peter Brook: The Deadly Theatre approaches the

classics from the viewpoint that somewhere, someone has found out and defined how the play should be done. (1968: 14) Some critics, however, express a clear preference one way or the other Direct address or thinking aloud? Bert O. States: In fact, the only characters in tragedy who work with the audience seem to be clowns and villains. [] It would be unthinkable for a character like Lear or Macbeth or even Hamlet, who is brother to the clown to peer familiarly into the pit because there is something in the abridgement of

aesthetic distance that gives the lie to tragic character and pathos. A character who addresses the audience immediately takes on some of the audiences objectivity and superiority to the plays world. (1983: 366) Andrew Gurr: the explanatory soliloquy or aside to the audience was a relic of the less sophisticated days which developed into a useful and more naturalistic convention of thinking aloud, but never entirely ceased to be a convention. (1992: 103) Direct address or thinking aloud? Bridget Escolme, on the other hand, critiques Gurrs postnineteenth century assumption about theatrical progress (2005: 7), and points out that States description of an actor peering into the pit assumes modern rather than Elizabethan

theatrical conditions: audience in darkness, actor with bright lights shining into his/her eyes (2005: 70). When David Warner played Hamlet for the RSC in 1965, one critic noted: This is a Hamlet desperately in need of counsel, help, experience, and he actually seeks it from the audience in his soliloquies. That is probably the greatest triumph of the production: using the Elizabethan convention with total literalness. Hamlet communes not with himself but with you. For the first time in my experience, the rhetoric spoken as it was intended to be, comes brilliantly to life. (Ronald Bryden, New Statesman, 27 August 1965) Hamlets first lines Hamlets first line is often played as an

aside, but is not necessarily. First Folio, 1623 Hamlet has no speeches marked aside, in fact. Alan C. Dessen points out that Shakespeare apparently did not use the term as part of his working vocabulary (1995: 52).

Hamlets first soliloquy Actor and director Michael Pennington argues that in the first soliloquy, Hamlet speaks with a shocking candour new to the play (1996: 40). David Warner did not use the soliloquy to bond with the audience []; he rather assumed their collusion and let off steam. The character

established was a rebellious prince who did not respect authority (Maher 1992: 54). First Folio, 1623 Now I am alone First Folio, 1623 The last of these questions, suggests Pennington, hangs in the air (1996: 75).

Pennington argues that Hamlet must surely have got an answer to some of these questions at the Globe, and even in these restrained days, the responses sit at the front of Now I am alone David Warner as Hamlet, RSC, 1965 Mark Rylance as Hamlet, Shakespeares Globe, To be, or

not to be The Christian inhibition against self-slaughter which Hamlet recognised in his first soliloquy has gone now, replaced by fear, and his typical strengths have deserted him. [] There is no personal pronoun at all in its thirty-five lines, so it is in a sense drained of Hamlet himself: although the cap fits, it also stands free of him as pure human analysis. (Pennington 1996: 81) Although the content of this speech was very contemplative and personal, Warner never questioned that it should be given to the audience. Indeed, he felt that this soliloquy was the most direct of all of them. He saw it as sharing his dilemma with them (after all, hed shared everything else!) and debating gently

the very serious options. (Maher 1992: 56) Second Quarto, 1604 To be, or not to be Mark Rylance: Mark Rylance as Hamlet, Shakespeares Globe, 2000 I found if I came out speaking to be or not to be as if it had not been cooked before, but I was cooking it at that very moment, ingredient by ingredient it provoked a different response from the audience.

Shakespeare comes to life when we speak and move with the audience in the present, particularly with famous speeches like that one. if you actually take it step by step, you know, to be or not to be, that is the question; then imagine the audience saying, What do you mean, that is the question? And go on, Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, there is a sense of dialogue with the audience who are playing the role of Hamlets conscience at that moment. (Rylance 2008: 106-7) Now might I do it

Second Quarto, 1604 First Folio, 1623 Now might I do it As Lars Eidingers Hamlet debated killing Claudius, prefilmed footage of an audience applauding played behind him. When I saw the production at Londons Barbican theatre in 2011, Hamlets speech descended into a torrent of action-movie clichs (You killed my father, youre fucking my mother, and thats why youre going to die!), before

Eidinger broke off and asked the audience, Is this what you want to see?. Lars Eidinger as Hamlet, Schaubhne How all occasions This soliloquy appears only in the 1604 Second Quarto. It gives Hamlet a very different arc CAPTAIN. Truly to speak, and with no addition, We go to gain a little patch of

ground That hath in it no profit but the name. (4.4.8-10) Second Quarto, 1604 How all occasions Gielgud viewed How all occasions as a very important soliloquy that showed Hamlets state of mind as clear, noble, and resolved before he went to England, with a clear understanding of his destiny and desire. Here was an assertion of the Victorian notion of the noble prince who valued honour above the death of twenty thousand men. After World War II and Vietnam, it would become less and less popular to find

inspiration in Fortinbras, and, in fact, his portrayal on the stage would become more and more brutal and dictatorial. (Maher 1992: 14) How all occasions Escolme describes the change in the character/spectator relationship following Hamlets last soliloquy: As a clowns skull is replaced in its grave, as Ophelia is newly laid in hers, it seems we must also say goodbye to the complex theatrical subjectivity of Hamlet, as he slips back into a simpler moral frame where there can be no questioning of mans inevitable fate. In Mark Rylances performance at the Globe, this

shift was, suggests Escolme, nothing less than a bereavement of the spectator (2005: 73). How all occasions Bertolt Brecht described Hamlets final soliloquy as the turning point at which he succumbs to Fortinbras drums of war (1948: 101). After at first being reluctant to answer one bloody deed by another, and even preparing to go into exile, he meets young Fortinbras at the coast as he is marching with his troops to Poland. Overcome by this warrior-like example, he turns back and in a piece of barbaric butchery slaughters his uncle, his mother and himself, leaving Denmark to the Norwegian. These events show the young man making the most ineffective use of the new

approach to Reason which he has picked up at the University of Wittenberg. (1948: 100-1) How all occasions Arnold Kettle puts the same idea more subtly: Hamlet is not merely a Renaissance prince. Along with Marlowes Faustus he is the first modern intellectual in our literature and he is, of course, far more modern as well as much more intelligent than Faustus. And his dilemma is essentially the dilemma of the modern European intellectual: his ideas and values are in a deep way at odds with his actions. [] Hamlet, the prince who has tried to become a man, becomes a prince again and does what a sixteenth-century prince ought to do killing the murderer of his father, forgiving the stupid, clean-limbed Laertes, expressing (for the first time) direct concern about his own claims to the throne but giving his dying

voice to young Fortinbras The end then, is, in one sense, almost total defeat for everything Hamlet has stood for. But it is an acceptance of the need to act in the real world, and that is a great human triumph. (245-6) References Brecht, B. (1948) A Short Organum for the Theatre in Cole, T. [ed.] (2001) Playwrights on Playwriting: from Ibsen to Ionesco, New York: Cooper Square Press, 72105. Brook, P. (1968) The Empty Space, London: Penguin. Dessen, A. C. (1995) Recovering Shakespeares Theatrical Vocabulary, Cambridge: C. U. P. Escolme, B. (2005) Talking to the Audience: Shakespeare, Performance, Self, London & New York: Routledge. Gurr, A. (1992) The Shakespearean Stage, 1574-1642: Third Edition, Cambridge: C. U. P.

References Kettle, A. (1964) Hamlet in a Changing World, in Hoy, C. [ed.] (1992) Hamlet: A Norton Critical Edition, 2nd ed., New York: W. W. Norton, 237-46. Maher, M. Z. (1992) Modern Hamlets and their Soliloquies, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. Pennington, M. (1996) Hamlet: A Users Guide, London: Nick Hern. Rylance, M. Research, Materials, Craft: Principles of Performance at Shakespeares Globe, Carson, C. & Karim-Cooper, F. [eds] (2008) Shakespeares Globe: A Theatrical Experiment, Cambridge: C.U.P., 103-14 States, B. O. (1983) The Actors Presence: Three Phenomenal Modes, Theatre Journal 35: 3, 359-375.

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