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November 01, 2006


Robert Searfoss

Interesting NYT item includes dogs.

The book contends that Shakespeare not only uses the same words as North, but often uses them in scenes about similar themes, and even the same historical characters. In another passage, North uses six terms for dogs, from the noble mastiff to the lowly cur and “trundle-tail,” to argue that just as dogs exist in a natural hierarchy, so do humans. Shakespeare uses essentially the same list of dogs to make similar points in “King Lear” and “Macbeth.”



I cannot dissagree with this article and the original even more...I'll first just mention, how in the world is one claimimg and ASSUMING to know an authors personal interests that lived over 400 years ago? thats almost as crazy as assuming authorial intent of the good ol Billy....so I'll leave you with a short and sweet argument..If the man hated dogs so much...why would he write 2 dogs into 2 different plays....2 appearences in 2 plays...if he hated dogs so much why spend rehearsal time and runs of shows with them?...


You say that dogs are never, ever a way of expressing "loyalty"
Actually, in Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena says she is Demetrius' "Spaniel" -- following him around all the time even though he continuously spurns her.

alan G Dacombe

I was recently at Dunster Castle in Somerset(?0
once the seat of the Luttrell family.I kept hearing in my mind a reference to'And Luttrell
the dog......' but cannot discern more from the internet.I agree it was probably not a laudatory utterance,but can anyone enlighten as to it's
origin,please? A.Dacombe


I suggest reading Junkyard dogs & William Shakespeare.

Vivian de St. Vrain

In response to SJ, Dr. Metablog a) affirms that he has read all of Shakespeare's works, b) thinks that SJ has a particular grievous, disabling case of Shakespeare Idolatry, and c) reaffirms his belief that both the characterization of dogs and the apparently unconscious patterns of imagery suggest that Will truly loathed the pooches.


To ever suggest that Shakespeare is all in on any topic of any variety is a mistake. Of all writers, living or dead, no one, NO ONE is more inclined to examine every possible facet of a topic without passing judgement - than is the Bard.
It is a common figure of speech to suggest that "men are dogs" or to call someone "an old dog". Is it logical to suggest that a person using such figures of speech, hates dogs??

In the induction scene in Taming of the Shrew, the Lord of the manor waxes rhapsodic about his dogs as does the First Huntsman about his dog. In Two Gents, Launce has an adorable scene with his dog.

You should read all of Shakespeare before making sweeping pronouncements about what he loves and hates. He sees every side of every question, and that's what makes him the greatest poet and dramatist who ever lived.

dr m

Walter Whiter wrote in 1794, not 1974. Veronika has transposed the two medial digits.


I just chanced upon this interesting blog entry, and could not resist commenting. The connection between dogs, candy and melting, was noticesd long before 1974, namely it gets extensive coverage in Caroline Spurgeon's 1935 study "Shakespeare's Imagery and what it tells us". As you seem to argue, like Spurgeon, that the reader may infer various facts about Shakespeare's life/thoughts from his works (a view I do not subscribe to, personally), I think you may find the book to be interesting, despite its out-dated, and nowadays somewhat amusing over-excited tone.

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