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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: November ::
Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 826. Saturday, 20 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Nick Clary <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 1993 11:48:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Revenge Ghosts and HAMLET
 
(2)     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 93 12:36:46 EST
        Subj:   A clarification
 
(3)     From:   Bernice W. Kliman <KLIMANB@SNYFARVA.bitnet>
        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 1993 14:59 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0797  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
(4)     From:   Michael Sharpston <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 1993 20:37:00 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 4.0820 Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
(5)     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 1993 18:21:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0820  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
(6)     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 1993 17:35:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0820  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nick Clary <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 1993 11:48:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Revenge Ghosts and HAMLET
 
For those who might take particular in the injunction to revenge given to
Hamlet by the Ghost, I recommend Appendix A ("The Relevance of Religious Test
to the Stage Ghost, 1560-1610") and Appendix B ("The Convention of Immortal
Vengeance, 1585-1642") in Eleanor Prosser's book HAMLET AND REVENGE (Stanford
UP, 1967).  She make a number of excellent observations that may disturb some
who are quick to generalize about Ghosts and their objectives on the Early
Modern stages in England.
 
Nick Clary
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 93 12:36:46 EST
Subject:        A clarification
 
John Mucci attributes to me the idea that the Ghost and Claudius are "almost
always" doubled.  This isn't what I said, or at least what I meant.  :-)
What is "almost always" the case is that the answer to a question "has any
production of _Hamlet_ ever used thus-and-such gimmick (using the term
non-pejoratively)?" is "yes".  My point was simply that there have been so
many _Hamlets_, and the quest for novelty is often so compelling, that
virtually any "new reading" is in fact an old reading.
 
Rick Jones

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bernice W. Kliman <KLIMANB@SNYFARVA.bitnet>
Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 1993 14:59 EDT
Subject: 4.0797  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0797  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
Someone asked a while ago about the doubling of Claudius and the Ghost.
Most recently, this was a feature of the Q2 version directed by Randolph
Curtis Rand, part of the *Hamlet* Festival mounted by NADA on the lower
east side of NYC.  They also did Q1 without that doubling. And they
plan a F1 reading with one actor doing all the parts 12/2-12/6, 7:30 pm,
167 Ludlow Street, 212-420-1466. Bernice
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Sharpston <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 1993 20:37:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0820 Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
Comment:        RE: SHK 4.0820 Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
Can someone explain to me exactly what the idea of doubling The Ghost and
Claudius is?
 
Are we supposed to believe that it is Hamlet's 'generic' Oedipal urge to kill
(or feel guilty about wanting to kill) his mother's consort?  In which case the
"Hyperion" stuff is idealization of his father precisely because of the deeply
concealed enmity?
 
Or does everyone else find the proposed psychological dynamics so obvious they
are not worth spelling out?  (If so, send me a private E-mail in a plain brown
wrapper).
 
          Michael Sharpston
          
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(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 1993 18:21:34 -0400
Subject: 4.0820  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0820  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
Ron Dwelle comments:
 
>Shakespeare's audience would have known (as we know) that things
>were different in the olden days.
 
But would Shakespeare's audience have relativized, as we do, the difference of
things "in the old days"?
 
I think that what we're dealing with here is a question of disparate
awarenesses.  *We* know that ghosts are, at any rate, suspicious characters;
the original audience would probably be only more aware of the potential risks
of consorting with the hereafter.  If ghosts are such things of evil, as
beliefs of the period held, then we and the original audience should fear, like
Horatio, the risks impinging on Hamlet when he follows this ghost.  Hamlet's
slightly crazed response to the ghost's speech would suggest that our hero
might do something rash, self- destructive and under demonic influence.
 
Even if Hamlet's world does not recognize the risks of dealing with ghosts (and
the responses of Horatio and the guards would indicate otherwise) the original
audience certainly would, and would respond to the text with that knowledge.
Theology, after all, deals with the absolute, and therefore is not limited in
its pronouncements to members of a certain belief but extends to all people
everywhere.
 
        Sincerely,
        Sean Lawrence
        
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(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 1993 17:35:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0820  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0820  Re: The Ghost in *Hamlet*
 
To Ron Dwelle,
 
I'm with you, Ron. Who cares that the University of Wittenberg was founded in
1502 - although I believe I have read later dates assigned to the founding? If
Shakespeare's University of Wittenberg was founded in the sixteenth century,
then Hamlet is early modern. Which do we want? Literature or history? Both?
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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