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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: HAMLET Supernova
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1024  Thursday, 22 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Oct 1998 08:06:34 CST6CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1018  HAMLET Supernova

[2]     From:   Peter Nockolds <
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        Date:   Thursday, 22 Oct 1998 10:36:35 +0100
        Subj:   Hamlet  Supernova?



[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Oct 1998 08:06:34 CST6CDT
Subject: 9.1018  HAMLET Supernova
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1018  HAMLET Supernova

Thanks to Martin Jukovsky for calling our attention to this article;
since I'm teaching _Hamlet_ at the moment, I'll take the article with me
to class tonight. Here's another _Hamlet_ tidbit in exchange: the local
Sidewalk site announced last week in its gossip section that
playwright/actor Sam Shepard, who lives in nearby Stillwater, Minnesota,
is away from home at the moment filming a contemporary version of
_Hamlet_. He's playing the ghost; the other actors mentioned were Ethan
Hawke as Hamlet, Kyle MacLachlan as Claudius, and Bill Murray as
Polonius. I'll be intrigued to see who else is involved and what the
final version looks like.

Chris Gordon, Minneapolis

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Nockolds <
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Date:           Thursday, 22 Oct 1998 10:36:35 +0100
Subject:        Hamlet  Supernova?

According to Boston Globe report on Donald Olson's article in Sky and
telescope no one else has plausibly identified the star in the opening
scene of 'Hamlet'.  However in the notes in the current Arden edition of
the play it is suggested that the star may be Capella, which appears in
the winter sky at the requisite hour 'westward from the pole'

Those weighing the relative merits of the supernova and Capella may
consider Horatio's description of the ghost (near the end of I, ii), who
is linked with the star. In the first two quartos of the play it appears

                "armed at point exactly Capapea"

In both editions 'Capapea' is italicised for emphasis and has a capital
C.  Is this simply a copyist's error for Cap-a-pie, or does it carry a
deliberate double meaning as a portmanteau of Capella and Cassiopeia?
In other words was Shakespeare thinking of more than one star at the
same time?

Another stellar pun linked to the ghost appears in the line 'He smote
the sleaded Pollax on the ice.' (I, i)  This spelling 'Pollax' appears
in early editions (the second quarto and the first folio) 'Pollax' =
'polacks', 'pole axe' and, as the ghost is an elder, and deceased,
brother, 'Pollux'

Peter Nockolds
Independent Researcher, Astronomy and Literature
Richmond, Surrey, UK
 

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