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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1166.  Tuesday, 18 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Scott Shepherd <
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        Date:   Monday, 17 Nov 1997 11:04:48 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir

[2]     From:   Scott Shepherd <
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        Date:   Monday, 17 Nov 1997 11:33:21 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir

[3]     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
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        Date:   Monday, 17 Nov 1997 11:34:07 CST6CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir

[4]     From:   Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen <
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        Date:   Monday, 17 Nov 97 12:23:00 CST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.1156  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Shepherd <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 17 Nov 1997 11:04:48 -0500
Subject: 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir

>I hate to strain a point, but I don't believe that "election" always
>implies a vote in early modern English.

Certainly not, e.g., "but he sir had the election" (Iago speaking of
Cassio), where it specifically refers to an appointed position.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Shepherd <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 17 Nov 1997 11:33:21 -0500
Subject: 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir

>In the Folio text (TLN 864), Hamlet speaks to Horatio of "our
>Philosophy." That "our" gives quite a different feel to the line.

Yes, but even if it's your it doesn't mean Horatio's philosophy, any
more than

        Your fat king and your lean beggar are but variable service

refers to a king and beggar belonging to Claudius.  Your grammarian
knows the technical name for this construct.  It's a colloquial,
generalizing sort of your that survives today in phrases like "it's your
basic boy-meets-girl story."

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 17 Nov 1997 11:34:07 CST6CDT
Subject: 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1160  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir

We have recently discussed the question of Gertrude and Claudius's
relationship in the "Introduction to Shakespeare" course that I am
teaching this quarter and one question that arose is related to the
Ghost's reference to Claudius as "that incestuous, that adulterate
beast" (1.5.42); are incestuous and adulterate synonyms, or does the
former refer to the current relationship between Claudius and Gertrude
and the latter imply a relationship before King Hamlet's death? Or, as
one student pointed out, does the "adulterate" merely mean that Claudius
might have been having his way with other married women? Later in the
same speech, the ghost states that Claudius "won to his shameful lust /
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen"; he doesn't say _when_ this
happened. And despite the ghost's request to leave Gertrude to heaven,
he certainly succeeds in poisoning young Hamlet's mind even more in
terms of his relationship with his mother.  How have others interpreted
this line?

Chris Gordon

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen <
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Date:           Monday, 17 Nov 97 12:23:00 CST
Subject: 8.1156  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.1156  Re: Hamlet as Gertrude's Heir

>The new king acts quickly and decisively to: (a) prepare
>the country for war, and (b) initiate a diplomatic overture that
>promptly bears fruit by (i) avoiding war, and (ii) turning the invasion
>against a traditional enemy.  What a king is this!

I'm not quite sure I agree totally with Larry Weiss and Kristine Batey.
Claudius may have given the reassuring appearance of being in charge,
yet after he gets Norway to chasten his nephew,  the first thing
Claudius does is to give Fortinbras permission to move his troops
through the middle of Denmark.  Surely not the wisest move given the
young man's proven disposition.

Lysbeth Em Benkert
Northern State University
 

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