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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: October ::
Re: Hamlet's Insanity
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0817. Monday, 17 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Saturday, 15 Oct 1994 23:13:12 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0810  Re: Hamlet's Insanity
 
(2)     From:   Leslie Harris <
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        Date:   Thursday, Oct 13 15:06:50 EDT 1994
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0802  Q: Hamlet Information
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Saturday, 15 Oct 1994 23:13:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0810  Re: Hamlet's Insanity
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0810  Re: Hamlet's Insanity
 
Both Randal Robinson (HAMLET IN THE 1950S) and Julia Dietrich (HAMLET IN THE
1960S) list material on this subject under the general heading "Hamlet."
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Leslie Harris <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, Oct 13 15:06:50 EDT 1994
Subject: 5.0802  Q: Hamlet Information
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0802  Q: Hamlet Information
 
Hi, Shirley.
 
I recently asked on this list about a t.v. program called "The Trial of
Hamlet" that attempted to answer that question using a trial format.  The
defense attorneys were using an insanity plea, and they had an expert witness
testify to Hamlet's lack of sanity.  The prosecution called its expert witness
to argue that Hamlet _was_ sane.
 
Thanks to Edward Gero (I hope I've remembered your name correctly), I tracked
down how to order the video.  I don't think I ever shared the information with
the list, so I'll do that now.
 
To order the video, send a school purchase order or a check to:
 
        Public Affairs Video Archive
        Purdue University
        1000 Liberal Arts & Education Building
        West Lafayette, IN  47907-1000
 
You need to specify the tape ("The Trial of Hamlet") and the i.d. number
(55363).
 
I never *did* make it through that video, so I can't tell you what the jury
decided.  To be honest, I found the video at once fascinating and boring, but
then again I'm not a lawyer and so don't enjoy long court trials.  Despite the
humor involved (expert witnesses fully aware of the irony of their testimony,
in speaking seriously of a fictional character), I actually found watching the
video painful.  Not to dredge up the dreaded character thread, but I found it
odd and disconcerting to talk about Hamlet as if he were a real person
suffering from psychological disorders that we can describe using contemporary
psychiatry.  For me, it destroyed the magic of the play as a work of
fiction.  The witnesses knew the play extraordinarily well, though, and their
analysis of the lines and events was excellent.
 
I hope this helps.
 
Leslie Harris
Susquehanna University

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