Our colloquy sessions are officially underway! This is Kyle Smith again, observing Colloquy #1: “Bodies on the Early Modern Stage” in Tyson.

Laury Magnus of the United States Merchant Marine academy began the session with Scripted vs. Unscripted Overhearing in 3.1 Hamlet, a paper that troubles the question of where Ophelia is during the famous soliloquy. MFA students Allison Jones, Bill Leavy, and Kim Greenawalt performed the scene, with the choice of four interpretations: using Ophelia as a spy, Ophelia entering (directed by Polonius) at the exact moment Hamlet sees her,  Hamlet misleading Claudius and Polonius in what is a false soliloquy, and Hamlet discovering the two but not seeing Ophelia.

Tina Romanelli of Meredith College presented Quickly the Queen Quean, a paper that focused on Mistress Quickly in the final scene of The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the tension this scene holds with “later” depictions of Quickly in the Henry IV plays. Bill, Kim, and Allison performed a selection from 2.1 of Henry IV, Part 2 to highlight the conspiratorial nature of the relationship between Falstaff and Quickly, which Romanelli holds is an evolution of the ending of Merry Wives

Barbara Bono of SUNY at Buffalo presented Annunciations and Incarnations, a paper that compares scenes from The Coventry Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors and Measure for Measure. The Coventry Pageant is, as you may have gathered, a religious pageant that includes a scene of the Annunciation of Mary. The response to pregnant women in this Annunciation scene and the Measure scene where Julietta learns that Claudio must die was again demonstrated by our MFA students. 

Deidre Shupe of Florida State University looked to Troilus and Cressida for her paper: Bequeathing Diseases: Intertextuality in the Works of Chaucer, Henryson, and Shakespeare. The disease in question is leprosy, a disease with a long history of religious connotation. Alongside Chaucer, Shupe delved into another prominent source for the play: Robert Henyson’s The Treatment of Cressid, which has Cressida being afflicted with disease. Shupe drew attention to specific textual similarities between Shakespeare’s play and Henyson.

Elizabeth Lyle of Loyala University of Chicago argued for a different Caliban than we are used to: a Caliban that is both a survivor and an intellectual. Her paper Honour’d with a Human Tongue: Caliban’s Personhood and Textual Erotics in The Tempest examined Caliban’s speech in Act 3 which details the dreams he has. Lyle found that this speech undercuts the sense of evil that has come to be expected of Caliban, and argues that this sense exists because Prospero contaminates the audience/reader’s perception before we even meet Caliban. Which then leads to the question: what does the dream do for the relationship between Caliban and the audience?