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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: August ::
Re: Incest
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0711  Saturday, 1 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Roy Flannagan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 13:01:38 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0704  Re: Incest

[2]     From:   Harry Hill <
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        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 13:10:46 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0704 Re: Incest

[3]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 16:28:10 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0704  Re: Incest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <
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Date:           Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 13:01:38 -0400
Subject: 9.0704  Re: Incest
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0704  Re: Incest

No offence meant, but the fact that the insane Ophelia sings a few dirty
songs does not make her promiscuous or incestuous.  Someone's ancient
aunt with Alzheimer's might well talk dirty while wandering in mind, but
that would not mean that she had led a dissolute life while her mind was
still intact.

It may just be the way I was taught, but I found it poignant that a
virgin might be singing bawdy songs in her mad fit.  Hamlet's bawdy
remark about "country matters" at the play might be better evidence that
he at least had lecherous intentions, but do we have any evidence that
Ophelia had ever taken up an offer from Hamlet, or anybody else?
Wouldn't she have passed the physical at that nunnery he is going to
send her to?

Roy Flannagan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 13:10:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0704 Re: Incest
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0704 Re: Incest

Ophelia's dirty songs merely *imply* experience, surely, and that of the
pathos of young fantasy such as existed in the skipping songs we sang as
dirty-minded children and later as wishfully thinking early teenagers.
"In and out, In and out" was a favourite rhythmic mantra to skip to, for
instance, and often led to private sessions of "Milk The Cow" wherein we
boys were of course the cows and the girls the milkmaids in those
innocent years before we were physically able to produce any milk.

Each to her own opheliac reading, naturally. I just like my subplot
tragedies virginal. More of a waste, you see. More expense of sprit than
a waste of shame.

        Harry Hill

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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Date:           Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 16:28:10 -0500
Subject: 9.0704  Re: Incest
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0704  Re: Incest

>I for one think it is clear from Ophelia's dirty songs that someone knew
>her in the Biblical Sense.  The question is who.  Branagh, as we all
>know, thinks it was Hamlet.  I think there is much more textual evidence
>to suggest that it was either Polonius or Laertes.  I will agree that
>this evidence is scant but is still much more than the evidence
>supporting Branagh's take.

I still like John Barrymore's remark that Hamlet slept with Ophelia, but
only in the Chicago company.

M. Aaron
 

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