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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: November ::
Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 790.  Sunday, 14 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Mike Neuman <NEUMAN@GUVAX.BITNET>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 14:37:29 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   The Ghost in Hamlet
 
(2)     From:   David McFadden <
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        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 16:24:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
(3)     From:   Ann M. Cox <
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        Date:   Saturday, 13 Nov 93 20:51:15 EST
        Subj:   SHK 4.0758 Q: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Neuman <NEUMAN@GUVAX.BITNET>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 14:37:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        The Ghost in Hamlet
 
In response to John Cox's question of November 10th . . .
 
Jack Kroll, in the Newsweek issue of June 2, 1980, describes a
production of Hamlet starring Jonathan Pryce at London's Royal Court
Theatre:
   In a daring innovation, Hamlet's dead father appears not as a
   specter but as a kind of Danish dybbuk muscling his way out of
   Hamlet's very bowels.  This scene is an astonishing spectacle:
   Hamlet becomes a giant, unwilling ventroliquist's dummy as his
   father's voice is wrenched from his mouth in hair-raising
   sepulchral tones while Pryce's body lashes, heaves, and snaps in
   a fit of ectoplasmic epilepsy.  This is a true ghost, the anguished
   retroactive voice of an unfulfilled relationship.
 
Mike Neuman
Georgetown University
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David McFadden <
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Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 1993 16:24:13 -0500
Subject:        Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
Re John Cox's student. His notion that Gertrude's inability to see the ghost
in the bedroom scene somehow indicates the Ghost wasn't really "real" is
easy to refute. Ghosts always come armed with supernatural powers, including
the power to become visible to x but not to y at will. Further, since the
Ghost has already in his "leave her to heaven" speech advised Hamlet to
treat Gertrude gently and sympathetically, it would follow that the Ghost
would prefer to exercise his will to remain invisible to his former Queen,
if only to spare her unnecessary grief.
 
Whether the Ghost in question is real or not is not the question as far as
Hamlet is concerned. His primary concern is whether the Ghost represents his
father or a devil come to torment him.
 
Anyway, Hamlet certainly is a ghost story, and it might also be pointed out
to the student that the ghost dwells in a metaphysical realm that is neither
real nor illusory. Along with UFOs, precognitive dreams, gods, angels,
devils, poltergeist phenomena and so on its objective reality can neither be
proved nor disproved--unless we're lucky enough to catch some Madame Blavatsky
type pulling the strings.
 
Maybe I just don't understand the question.
 
David W. McFadden
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann M. Cox <
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Date:           Saturday, 13 Nov 93 20:51:15 EST
Subject: Q: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
Comment:        SHK 4.0758 Q: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
John Cox has suggested that the ghost in Hamlet may be an hallucination.
This is very possible, however, all the information that the ghost
imparts concerns the true nature of the former king's death.
I suppose one could argue that these were Hamlet's suspicions from
his subconscious coming to the surface, but the ghost imparts facts
that Hamlet was unaware of, namely, that his father was murdered and
the deed committed by his uncle.
 
Ann M. Cox

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