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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: January ::
"To be or not to be" (con't)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 29.  Sunday, 17 January 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Kay Stockholder <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Jan 93 15:30:34 PST
        Subj:   SHK 4.0027  Re: "To be"
 
(2)     From:   Timothy Bowden <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Jan 93 15:22:36 PST
        Subj:   Re: More on "To be or not to be
 
 
(1)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kay Stockholder <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Jan 93 15:30:34 PST
Subject: Re: "To be"
Comment:        SHK 4.0027  Re: "To be"
 
During that soliloquy he thinks of life as painful, but when he contemplates
Fortinbras' army he reflects on the worthlessness of the cause for which so
many risk their lives, and blames himself for cowardice. The entire play can be
seen as a process by bringing himself to accept death, a process that
culminates when he both contemplates and smells Yorick's skull. He's clearly
depressed, but even depressed people have to contend with the sweetness of life
[as asserted by Edgar].
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Timothy Bowden <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Jan 93 15:22:36 PST
Subject:        Re: More on "To be or not to be
 
> From:           Barbara Fister <
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> As for diagnosing Hamlet's condition, some of my best friends are
> manic depressive; I don't believe for a moment he is.  (Claudius would
> agree--"his speech, tho' it lacked form a little, was not like madness")
 
I think maybe psychiatrists are overrated;  we could do as well right
here.  For instance, Claudius was looking for thought disorder, which we
might call schizophrenia and which Hamlet only feigned, as did
Gloucester's kid Edmund in _Lear_, and did not contemplate melancholia,
which was I think considered more a pastime of the serious man than a
disability anyway (Antonio opens _Merchant of Venice_ musing on it and
one cloistered cleric of the era wrote a classic treatise on the subject
or something like it called _Anatomy of Melancholy_).
 
A working hypothesis of our local psych counseling guild is that
subjects who inertly brood on dark topics and break off promising
romances (Hamlet as Woody Allen?) and go about running their rapiers
into any old arras and end up wrestling with rivals in open graves and
proclaiming loudly to skulls should routinely be treated with librium.
I can't tell you how many we've helped that way.
 
                If this be error, and 'pon me proved
                I never pushed it, lest I was shoved
 
-Tremonius
 
=========================================================

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  (Timothy Bowden)
uunet!scruz.ucsc.edu!clovis.felton.ca.us!tcbowden
Clovis in Felton, CA
=========================================================
 

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