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Artistic Recitation of Metered Speech


comments on the new, emasculate social regime, and his cruel self- knowledge, relentless self-irony, and joyous flouting of moral taboos. This grants him almost unlimited power over his victims. Gloucester speaks in a subtle tone about "Grim-visaged war", who "capers nimbly in a lady's chamber / To the lascivious pleasing of a lute"; at the same time, he reveals a peremptory, determined attitude: "I am determinèd to prove a villain / And hate the idle pleasures of these days". His determination to become a king informs the entire tragedy. Indeed, in this recording, Simon Russel Beale adopts sometimes an effeminate tone indicating subtle irony as in speaking of "the lascivious pleasing of a lute"; at the same time, some of his vocal gestures provide indication of a peremptory, determined attitude.
Unlike Iago, who has been characterized as "a motive-hunting motiveless villain", some of Shakespeare's villains are driven by a very well-understood psychological motivation: they were wronged from the very moment of their birth, or even before. Edmund is a bastard; Shylock is victim of the great historical injustice against the Jews; Gloucester was born premature and crippled: "Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time / Into this breathing world; scarce half made up". While some of Shakespeare's wronged figures are of a melancholy, morose disposition, Gloucester is carried awayby his own deformity.


But I, that amnot shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass ;
I, that amrudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph ;
I, that amcurtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world; scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I,in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity [my italics--RT]

It would appear that the line "But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks" merely points up an essentially social contrast between himself and the rest of the society. That is the rhetorical function of "But I, that". But the passage becomes a ten-line-long catalogue of increasingly shocking deformities, presented with witty turns of phrase. From the syntactic point of view, the sentence remains incomplete for eleven lines, and the long-expected predicate occurs only in line 12: "But I ... Have no delight to pass away the time". Superficially, the repeated self- reference "But I" (italicized in excerpt 1) serves to remind the listener who is the referent of this long, syntactically incomplete list of deformities. But it may also be interpreted as the speaker's increasing amusement of his own hopeless situation (which does not prevent him from wooing and winning the beautiful Lady Anne, for instance, on the most improper occasion).

Two Preliminary Issues
Before plunging into the main issues raised by this paper, we must briefly consider two preliminary issues. First, there is the problem of a twelve-line-long "enjambment". In one sense, it is exceptionally strained, owing to its sheer length. In another sense, however, it is