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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: April ::
Re: Oedipus, Hamlet, and Gertrude
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0421.  Monday, 7 April 1997.

[1]     From:   Tai-Won Kim <
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        Date:   Friday, 04 Apr 1997 09:59:04 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0408  Q: Sources for Oedipus Theory

[2]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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        Date:   Friday, 4 Apr 1997 09:24:00 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0419 Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory

[3]     From:   John Boni <
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        Date:   Friday, 4 Apr 1997 15:48:38 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: Hamlet and Sanity

[4]     From:   H. R. Greenberg <
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        Date:   Friday, 4 Apr 1997 19:03:04 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0409 Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory

[5]     From:   Sean K. Lawrence <
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        Date:   Sunday, 06 Apr 1997 11:25:28 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0419  Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory

[6]     From:   Norm Holland <
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Date:   Sunday, 06 Apr 97 15:17:54 EDT
        Subj:   Hamlet & Gertrude


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tai-Won Kim <
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Date:           Friday, 04 Apr 1997 09:59:04 -0500
Subject: 8.0408  Q: Sources for Oedipus Theory
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0408  Q: Sources for Oedipus Theory

Dear Ian,

Why don't you look at Peter Rudnytsky's <Freud and Oedipus> (Columbia
UP, 1987) which might shed light on your question? You will run across
here and there his comments on Hamlet which would lead you to some
useful references.

Cheers.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Friday, 4 Apr 1997 09:24:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 8.0419 Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0419 Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory

To John Boni:

Hamlet does not, at 3.4.186, instruct Gertrude "to essentially expose
his subterfuge," as you put it; he is confiding in her the truth about
his role-playing at "madness."  She responds, at 3.4.197, "Be thou
assur'd, if words be made of breath, / And breath of life, I have no
life to breathe / What thou hast said to me."  She therefore responds to
Claudius's query, "How does Hamlet?" thusly: "Mad as the sea and wind
when both contend / Which is the mightier" (4.1.7).

Regards,
Evelyn Gajowski

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Boni <
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Date:           Friday, 4 Apr 1997 15:48:38 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Re: Hamlet and Sanity

Norman Holland continued our discussion "offstage."  He suggested I send
along this query.

Hamlet, when he denies madness to Gertrude in III.iv, recites a standard
formula for lucidity, "Bring me to the test,/And I the matter will
reword, which madness/ Would gambol from."  Has anyone seen a comment on
this?  On the one hand, it is a modern technique for confirming
lucidity.  On the other, it seems pretty standard (judging from Hamlet's
forthright tone) for the times as well.

John Boni

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           H. R. Greenberg <
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Date:           Friday, 4 Apr 1997 19:03:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0409 Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0409 Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory

French psychoanalyst Andre Green I believe wrote a piece on Hamlet
retracing
and revising Jones' work-in a collection several years ago. Cant place
it more precisely at this moment

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean K. Lawrence <
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Date:           Sunday, 06 Apr 1997 11:25:28 -0700
Subject: 8.0419  Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0419  Re: Sources for Oedipus Theory

Hi, John.

I'm wondering what edition you're using.  I think that your question
only makes sense in terms of non-folio punctuation.  In the F1 text, at
least, Hamlet's entire speech is prefaced with the line "Not this by no
meanes that I bid you do:"  Everything following, I believe, should be
read ironically, as anti-instructions.  Telling Gertrude to reveal his
madness is, then, like both the instructions to "let the blunt King
tempt you againe you bed" and "like the famous Ape / To try Conclusions
in the Basket, creepe / And breake your owne necke downe" which precede
and follow it, respectively.

> >Thus, the "bloody" Hamlet, enjoying the pain of "the bloat king" 'paddling' Gertrude's cheeks and bestowing his "reechy kisses" upon her, now sets Gertrude as a tool to work on Claudius.  Now comes MY question: Why does Hamlet instruct her to essentially expose his subterfuge: "ravel all this matter out,/ That I am essentially not in madness,/ But mad in craft."<<

Cheers,
Sean.

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norm Holland <
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Date:           Sunday, 06 Apr 97 15:17:54 EDT
Subject:        Hamlet & Gertrude

An answer to my query: Why does Hamlet, in his second caution to his
mother, after killing Polonius, state it as a series of pictures of what
she ought *not* to do, preceded by a reversal, "Not this, by no means,
that I bid you do"?  What thematic or psychological senses does this
striking rhetoric make?       --Best, Norm Holland

-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol J. Verburg <
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Date:           Friday, 04 Apr 1997 17:32:34 -0500
Subject:        Hamlet & Gertrude

Your query (inter alia) was forwarded to me from a cast member in the
production of HAMLET I'm currently directing.  My opinion, as a writer
and director, is that Hamlet's choice of a negative instruction is
dictated by theatrical rather than psychological reasons.  Hamlet is
thereby able to paint a vivid and unnerving picture for the audience of
what it is he can't bear about his mother and Claudius-hard (probably
impossible) to do if each clause were prefaced by "Don't . . ." or the
whole approach were something other than a direct description.  Also, as
someone else suggested, the change of rhetorical tack enlivens the last
section of what might otherwise be an overlong scene in a long play.
Psychologically, I would guess H finally has to utter what it is he's
been suppressing/repressing for so many months.

We are rehearsing this scene tonight-thanks for the thought-provoking
question and comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
P.S.  This passage, esp. in Carol Verburgh's reading, seems to me at
least as powerful evidence for the Oedipal reading of the scene as the
whole Freud-Jones argument.
--Best, Norm
 

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