Shakespeare's Schoolroom: Rhetoric, Discipline, Emotion

By Lynn Enterline | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
“What’s Hecuba to Him?”
Transferring Woe in Hamlet, The Rape of Lucrece,
and The Winter’s Tale

Me miser am!” (Niobe)
“O me miseram!… Sed quidlamentor?” (Hecuba)
“O me miseram!” (Andromache
)

—Aphthonius, Progymnasmata


“More Woe Than Words”

The reality and spectacle of the master’s birch—a figure that looms large in texts about the school as well as those written or used in it—has led me to focus often in the preceding chapters on the ways sixteenth-century teachers used violence, or the theatrical threat of it, to “train up” their Latin-speaking pueri as English gentlemen. But at this point in my analysis, it is useful to recall that humanist masters used imitation right alongside corporal punishment as a method for obtaining compliance with the school’s linguistic and social regime. As we have seen, the author of “The Birch” joked that “whipping’s used in mood & figure,” and the unnamed schoolboy who wrote the Westminster “Consuetudinarium” similarly conceived of daily life according to the intertwined pair of flogging and imitation: “some” boys were “selected … to be examined and punished, others to be commended and proposed to imitation.”1 With respect to either of these paired techniques, I continue to stress daily material practice, “materiality” understood here to designate

-120-

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Shakespeare's Schoolroom: Rhetoric, Discipline, Emotion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction - "Thou Art Translated" 1
  • Chapter 1 - Rhetoric and the Passions in Shakespeare’s Schoolroom 9
  • Chapter 2 - Imitate and Punish 33
  • Chapter 3 - The Art of Loving Mastery 62
  • Chapter 4 - The Cruelties of Character in the Taming of the Shrew 95
  • Chapter 5 - "What’s Hecuba to Him?" 120
  • Notes 153
  • Bibliogrdphy 183
  • Index 193
  • Acknowledgments 199
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