martedì 22 giugno 2010

Antony’s Ring: remediating Ancient Rhetoric on the Elizabethan Stage

The year the Globe was inaugurated, 1599, when anxiety for Queen Elizabeth’s impending death and uncertainty about her succession were spreading through the population of London, W. Shakespeare looked to ancient history for inspiration, choosing to put on stage an exemplary crissi from the past: the end of the Roman republic.
The contradictory relationship between Elizabethan culture and ancient Rome is epitomized (riassunto) in Shakespeare’s controversial way of presenting Caesar’s character: his heroic status, in fact, comes to be deeply questioned in the play that bears (porta) his name.
Caesar male virtus having already been turned into feminine weakness. But if the manly, glorious republican past is “shamed” by a debased feminized present who will be able to restore it, reviving its greatness and prestige? The question affects people both on and off stage: it is the core (nocciolo, essenza) of the narrative drive and it is the implicit query (domanda, riserva) of the Elizabeth audience.
Shakespeare not only finds a parallel to the historical situation of England, a kingdom whose boundaries (confini) were fast expanding throughout the globe, but brings to the fore the search for both new models of political leaders and new forms of public persuasion in an enlarging communication circuit.
The crucial conflict between Brutus and Antony is therefore seen as the enactment of a complex relationship of incorporation and distancing played between an older, authoritativeness, appealing both to the ear and the eye (theatre).
The fact (Caesar’s murder) can be questioned but it cannot be objectively and finally interpreted.
Antony dramatically performs his grief for Caesar’s death, arguing that he is no orator. Thus negating his masterful command of rhetoric, he erases the medium he is using.
Brutus and Antony speaks from the “pulpit” in the “market-place”. (Antony asks the consprators’ permission to produce Caesar’s body to the market-place, as becomes a friend, speak in the order of his funeral”). We can infer (dedurre) that in the performance at the Globe, the pulpit may have been set in the gallery, that multi-purpose space above the stage used sometimes by musicians, sometimes by spectators and often by the actors.
Brutus speech is like a syllogism.
Antony turns each man in the market-place into an eyewitness (testimone oculare) for his cause. Antony makes his audience believe him for what they saw with their own eyes. “tis certain he was not ambitious” is an undeniable sign that truth can no longer be granted

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