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Home :: Archive :: 1992 :: February ::
Qs: Echo in Hamlet, Shakespeare's Action
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 31. Saturday, 8 Feb 1992.
 
 
(1)	Date: 	Thu, 6 Feb 1992 02:03:41 -0500
	From: 	Nate Johnson <lht@cornella.bitnet>
	Subj:   Echo in Hamlet
 
(2)	Date: 	Fri, 7 Feb 1992 11:38:27 -0500
	From: 	Timothy Pinnow <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Subj:	[Shakespeare's Action]
 
	
(1)-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Thu, 6 Feb 1992 02:03:41 -0500
From: 		Nate Johnson <lht@cornella.bitnet>
Subject:      	Echo in Hamlet
 
I've become interested in echo as a theme, trope, and theatrical device
in Shakespeare.  Echo seems to play a particularly important role in
Hamlet and I'm trying to test the legitimacy of adding her to the cast
of characters.  Hamlet, of course, becomes a kind of Echo, taking
the Ghost's word as his own.  His death is "silence," but not before
he has passed his voice on to Horatio.  Ophelia's Narcissus-like death
implies a mourning Echo (Laertes? Hamlet? Both?).  And then there's
the whole business with ears . . .
 
The little research I've done so far indicates that 17th century
theater architects were often concerned with the possibility of echoic
effects.  Does anyone know if this might have been true even with the
outdoor theaters in the 16th century?
 
Specifically, could Barnardo's "Who's there?" in Hamlet have produced an echo?
Would the resounding syllable have been "ear?"  How about the Ghost's
"swear?"  Rhyme sequences in, for example, The Rape of Lucrece,
include "there," "swear," and "ear."  Would these have actually
been spoken and heard as rhymes?
 
Joseph Loewenstein, in his book on Echo and Jonsonian masque (_Responsive
Readings_, Yale UP, 1984) presents evidence that the ear was imagined
as a kind of echo chamber itself.  Were there metaphorical conventions
which would have linked the theater and the human ear?  Criticism seems
generally rather speculocentric.  The physical shape of the Globe would
seem to suggest an ear, wouldn't it?
 
In addition to Loewenstein's book, which I strongly recommend to anyone
interested in the mythography of Echo, I've looked at Jonathan Goldberg's
_Voice Terminal Echo_, and John Hollander's _The Figure of Echo_.
Brief references to Echo abound in the literature on Narcissus, and
I've found a few articles dealing with aspects of Echo as a
literary device, but very little linking Echo and Shakespeare.  Any
bibliographic leads would be appreciated.
 
--Nate Johnson
 
(2)-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Fri, 7 Feb 1992 11:38:27 -0500
From: 		Timothy Pinnow <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Subject:	[Shakespeare's Action]
 
Fellow Shakspereans,
 
        As I was reading through the list of new books that came over the
network in December, I wrote down several to order but seemed to have lost
the author's name for *Shakespeare's Action.*  Is there anyone out there who
could assist me? I believe the publisher was Cambridge, but I can't seem to
find it in the old files.  Of course, I am willing to consider the fact
that I've somehow hallucinated the whole episode.
 
                                                Thanks,
Timothy D. Pinnow

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