Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: October ::
Re: Non-Oedipal *Hamlet*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0811. Saturday, 15 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Stephen C. Schultz <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 13 Oct 94  15:34:01 EDT
        Subj:   SHK 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
(2)     From:   Michael Friedman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 13 Oct 1994 16:54:55 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.**93
 
(3)     From:   Greg Grainger <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 13 Oct 1994 23:03:17 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Non-Oedipal Hamlet
 
(4)     From:   John Drakakis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 14 Oct 94 13:17:00 BST
        Subj:   SHK 5.0806 Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
(5)     From:   Skip Shand <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 14 Oct 1994 14:23:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
(6)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 13 Oct 1994 23:05:02 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen C. Schultz <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 13 Oct 94  15:34:01 EDT
Subject: Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
Comment:        SHK 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
I have heard that the first staged Oedipal *Hamlet* was John Barrymore's in ca
1921. One of his biographers says that in his later--and sodden--years
Barrymore could not recite from the play any of the passages used to "prove"
the Oedipal interpretation because his first sexual experience had been with
his father's mistress. One learns the damnedest things doing theatre history!
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 13 Oct 1994 16:54:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
For Ronald Dwelle,
 
You might want to have a look at an article entitled "The Bed in HAMLET's
Closet Scene: Rowe 1709 and 1714" by Bernice Kliman which appeared in the
spring 1993 issue of *Shakespeare Newsletter*.  Illustrations from various
frontispieces support a very interesting argument.
 
                                                Michael Friedman
                                                
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Greg Grainger <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 13 Oct 1994 23:03:17 -0400
Subject:        Re: Non-Oedipal Hamlet
 
There was a film produced in 1972 or thereabouts starring Nicol Williamson as
Hamlet and directed by Tony Richardson. It was an excellent interpretation,
IMHO, also remarkable for the casting of Marianne Faithful (yes, *that*
Marianne Faithful) as Ophelia. To the best of my recollection (now many years
old) the Oedipal aspect of Hamlet's relationship with Getrude is minimized, if
not discounted completely. They are played as very close, Hamlet the devoted
son, but not lovers. On the other hand, Gertrude's relationship with Claudius
is played as one almost entirely of the flesh; a pair of aging hedonists.
 
For those interested, this film is now available on video.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Oct 94 13:17:00 BST
Subject: Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
Comment:        SHK 5.0806 Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
For Ronald Dwelle,
 
Irrespective of modern oedipal readings of the scene in question in HAMLET,
in Q(1605) Polonius says to the King "My Lord, hee's going to his mothers
closet," (sig.L1r).  Then Polonius Leaves and Claudius attempts to pray.  The
location of this scene is, presumably in Claudius's "closet"- a private room
set aside for prayer and meditation.  This is not, I suggest Claudius's
"bedroom", although Polonius leaves him with the words, "I'le call vpon you
ere you goe to bed."  When Hamlet, therefore, goes to his mother's "closet"
he is going to a comparable room in Elsinore, and the dramatic effect is
intensified by the CONTRAST between the two scenes: Claudius ends up divided
between the desire to repent, and hanging on to the fruits of regicide and
fratricide, while in Hamlet's case the attempt is being made to realign
language and action. If we inflect the scene in this way, bearing in mind the
historical distinction to be made between a bedroom and a "closet", then the
oedipal reading proves wholly inadequate.
 
Cheers,
John Drakakis
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Shand <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Oct 1994 14:23:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
Re the Oedipal Closet: Ronald Dwelle might look at Marvin Rosenberg's
Masks of Hamlet and Bernice Kliman's Hamlet: Film, Television, and Audio
Performance. As for the bedroom cliche and its textual/historical necessity,
Michael Cameron Andrews, in a piece called "His Mother's Closet: A Note on
Hamlet," MP (1982): 164-66, effectively demonstrates that a bedroom is anything
but inevitable in the scene, a closet being very usually a place of private
sanctuary, of meditative retirement, rather than of sleep (or other bedtime
pursuits). Andrews' use of OED (radical thought!) is very instructive.
 
                                                        Skip Shand
 
(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 13 Oct 1994 23:05:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0806  Qs: Non-Oedipal *Ham.*
 
Olivier's film of HAMLET seems to have begun the film tradition, and Ernest
Jones popularized the notion that Hamlet suffers from an unresolved Oedipal
conflict. Polonius tells the King, "My lord, he's going to his mother's closet"
(3.3.27 [Bevington, ed.]). A "closet" according to the OED is a room for
privacy or retirement as for devotion, study, or secluded speculation. The
closet is not the bedroom. Olivier, of course, focused on the bed, because he
wanted to emphasize Hamlet's psychological problems. It seems to me that he
also suggests that Hamlet and Horatio have something going on the side.
 
Pruriently yours, Bill Godshalk
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.