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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Re: Hamlet; Puck; Accents
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1091.  Friday, 31 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Matthew Gretzinger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 30 Oct 1997 11:42:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1088  Q: Hamlet/Ophelia/Laertes

[2]     From:   Juul Muller-van Santen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 30 Oct 1997 18:56:54
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1090  Q: Puck

[3]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 30 Oct 1997 21:49:31 +0
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1073   Elizabethan Accents


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Gretzinger <
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Date:           Thursday, 30 Oct 1997 11:42:59 -0500
Subject: 8.1088  Q: Hamlet/Ophelia/Laertes
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1088  Q: Hamlet/Ophelia/Laertes

>Why does Hamlet feel that his romantic love for Ophelia is threatened by
>her own brother?

Another answer to this question (as there is probably no end to
conjecture): Hamlet may recognize in Laertes his familial bond of love
w/Ophelia, something with which he cannot compete.

In performances of _Hamlet_ I often see directors paint Laertes as a
selfish [insert expletive], overly concerned with his sister's sex life,
quick to thoughts of death & revenge, and in general a snotty,
kiss-up-to-Daddy little man who has little or no business interfering in
Hamlet's personal life. Wouldn't it be interesting if this were not so,
if in fact he were very much more like the Hamlet we love: strong, full
of potential, very concerned with his obligations to his father and his
family.  It is certainly recognized by some that the author was
attempting to draw a parallel between them.  What if the bond between L.
and O. was very, very strong? if they loved each other very much?
People who love each other often do treat one another poorly.  All of
Laertes' mistakes and terrible decisions then take on a painful quality,
and his corruption via Claudian politics becomes tragic.

True, he does turn "his father's death into a career opportunity," but
it is possible to see that as an attempt to defend/restore his fallen
House-to defend the rights of his dead father.  I think in so many ways
H.  and L. are more alike than they are different.  I think the lapse of
their love ("I loved you ever") is a huge part of the tragedy.

Anyway, to salvage a point: yes, the jumping in the grave is sexual
competition, yes, 'the bravery of his grief' puts Hamlet into a
'towering passion,' and certainly Hamlet's guilt plays a part.  But may
it not also be a little jealousy of the authentic and rightfully brave
grief of a man who loses his father and his sister and who isn't afraid
to get torqued off about it?

-Matthew

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Juul Muller-van Santen <
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Date:           Thursday, 30 Oct 1997 18:56:54
Subject: 8.1090  Q: Puck
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1090  Q: Puck

Minor fairies (see Lang aven FANTASIA) look female, usually, but major
one can be gendered, it seems. In the 1670/74 TEMPEST (Dryden &
Davenant) Puck certainly appears to be male.  Discussions about their
status however often turns on mortality rather than sex. And Gilbert's
parliamentary Strephon was "only a fairy from the waist down"
(IOLANTHE)...

Julia Muller
Amsterdam

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Thursday, 30 Oct 1997 21:49:31 +0
Subject: 8.1073   Elizabethan Accents
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1073   Elizabethan Accents

Peter Hillyar-Russ writes

> One respected English theatre
> company "Northern Broadsides" tours, internationally, with north of
> England actors who use their natural local accents - to very great
> effect. This sounds very different from BBC English, but it has no
> less claim to validity.

Northern Broadsides get through Antony and Cleopatra in two and a half
hours with almost a full text. Since this is a good hour less than many
modern companies can manage, and is about as long as original
performances seem to have been, they could have a strong claim to be
using near-original pronunciation.

Of course, we can argue about the evidence for length of original
performances and, most interestingly, whether original performances cut
text.

Gabriel Egan
 

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