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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: December ::
Re: Nothing; Branagh's *Hamlet*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0941.  Sunday, 3 December 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Martin Green <
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        Date:   Saturday, 2 Dec 1995 14:38:54 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Nothing
 
(2)     From:   Chris Gordon <
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        Date:   Sunday, 3 Dec 95 11:50:41 -0600
        Subj:   Branagh's *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Green <
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Date:           Saturday, 2 Dec 1995 14:38:54 -0500
Subject:        Re: Nothing
 
Well, I don't know if the validity of the helpful insight that "nothing" is an
Elizabethan term for female genitalia can ever be conclusively established, but
a most persuasive argument that this is so was made (for the first time, I
believe) by Thomas Pyles, in an article entitled "Ophelia's 'Nothing'" in LXIV
Modern Language Notes, p. 322 (1949). The article  makes such good sense that
Pyles' conclusion is almost universally accepted.
 
Also, when we consider (a point not made by Pyles) that "thing," in many
contexts (not exclusively Shakespearean), is easily perceived to be a reference
to "penis," then the aptness of no-thing to characterize the female sexual area
becomes easily discernible.
 
And I, long ago, suggested that when Shakespeare writes, in Sonnet 20, that
 
 
   . . . Nature as she wrought thee fell a-doting,
  And by addition me of thee defeated
  By adding one thing to my purpose nothing,
 
the ever-punning poet, far from negating the thought that the Fair Friend's sex
prevented him from being a sexual object, was saying that by addition, Nature
defeated (vanquished) me BY thee, by adding one thing (male organ) which to my
purpose (i.e., from my point of view) is no-thing (a female sex organ - - i.e.,
 an appropriate focus for sexual fulfillment).
 
My rule in seeing puns in Shakespeare is this: if it makes sense, it's there.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Gordon <
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Date:           Sunday, 3 Dec 95 11:50:41 -0600
Subject:        Branagh's *Hamlet*
 
I just received this information from a friend in another discussion group and
thought SHAKSPEReans would be interested:
 
According to Variety, the cast that has been signed so far:
 
Kenneth Branagh - Hamlet
Kate Winslet - Ophelia
Derek Jacobi - Claudius
Julie Christie - Gertrude
Jack Lemmon - Marcellus
Billy Crystal - Gravedigger #1
Robin Williams - Osric
Charlton Heston - Player King
Rosemary Harris - Player Queen
 
Signed but role not noted:
 
Gerard Depardieu
Sir John Mills
Sir John Gielgud
 
Filming is to start January 30/96 in England.
 

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