All entries for Thursday 24 November 2005
November 24, 2005
Sitting in front of the third and final version of Othello that I have to watch this week. Somehow I managed to watch the worst one first and the best one last – which is nice. Although, I'm slightly bored with watching the same film three nights running.
I love this line, it sums up Emilia well … and is perhaps more fitting to our contemporary lighter hearted views to singledom/sex:
"Nor I by this heavenly light, but I might do it in the dark."
After this we're going to Tesco – late night shopping trip, reminiscent of the first year. Feeling quite nostaglic about the first year. Would love for everyone to move back into JM for a fortnight to live together again – it would be fun, if not very strange. Would love to start again uni from the beginning. Realised we were halfway through the final year last night – scary feeling. It's almost time to start applications; I've been putting it off till the holidays but we're almost there!! Three days left of uni!!
Anyway, Othello's about to "put out the light" – I should watch this scene. Adieu.
So this week, we've read The Merchant of Venice (Sh.) and The Jew of Malta (Marlowe). I guess the thing that got me thinking about the seminar today was, what right do we have to censor?
The texts have, apparently, been banned from being taught in the US, and many teachers refuse to teach the texts worldwide. In this, are they also refusing to recognise Shakespeare as an anti-semitic? Or perhaps more importantly, can we recognise, and should we recognise Shakespeare in this way? It would be pretty damning to accept this for our national playwright, the legend that is Shakespeare. Can we discard his views as merely fitting to the contemporary popular ideologies, and erase all blame?
If yes, why is it that we change the offensive words/actions/phrases in his plays? Why is 'villian' thrown in place of his prejudices?
Sure, I understand that this is done so as not to offend and to fit our modern viewpoints. Fair enough. But, if we truly accepted Shakespeare's views as merely contemporary, why are we so keen to erase them? It was suggested that Shakespeare is thought of as a humanist and as so this was done so as not to confuse the less educated general public. Surely we cannot exercise so much intellectual snobbery as this?
It is true that the plays do not need the racism and offensive stuff, but do we have the right to edit to censor? I don't know. Who tells us what is offensive? The way women are treated is pretty offensive, the Christians are mocked also – why is it that we do not censor this?
We can therefore only have difficulty when confronted with Merchant or Malta – you cannot avoid the racisim there, its the play itself. It is almost certainly problematic, particulary given what has happened between Shakespeare and today. If its 'ok' to put on these plays, why is it that we feel the need to censor Shakespeare in other places?
(Avoiding reading Pamela…)