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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: July ::
Re: Hamlet's Hesitating; 6th Sense; Gobbo; Stoicism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0651  Tuesday, 14 July 1998.

[1]     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Jul 1998 23:05:58 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Hamlet in England

[2]     From:   Martin Jukovsky <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Jul 1998 15:26:32 -0400
        Subj:   Re:  Sixth Sense

[3]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Jul 1998 00:16:59 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 9.0642 Re: Gobbo in Globe Mer

[4]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Jul 1998 13:44:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Stoicism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Jul 1998 23:05:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Hamlet in England

One other aspect of Hamlet's hesitation has just occurred to me, utterly
practical and not in the least conducive to thoughtful discussion, but
here goes:

Grammaticus has Hamlet sailing to England and back, only taking his
revenge on his return.  There are indications that the legend was
altered in details to match up with the Brutus myth of the Roman
Republic, but in any case Hamlet seems to have his own reasons for going
along with the idea of going to England, for his health, even though he
knows the king is out to kill him.

Ditto, the murder of R&G.  It's in the original story as well, only in
medieval times the orders were sent by means of runes carved in
ceremonial horns, not scratched out with a quill pen or sealed with a
signet.

What's amusing about Grammaticus is that England holds lots in store for
Hamlet once he gets there.  And after he becomes king (killing his
uncle, and the court, in high-Hollywood fashion) he goes back there, and
gets involved with this Scottish noblewoman, ends up a bigamist, and
gets dethroned.

Not sure what to make of this, but I've always wondered how closely the
ur-Hamlet followed the original tale.

Andrew White
Arlington, VA

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Jukovsky <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Jul 1998 15:26:32 -0400
Subject:        Re:  Sixth Sense

Mark Perew <
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 > wrote:

>I've been searching, in vain, for some book or essay that has some
>mention of the Elizabethan World View as it pertains to what some folks
>call the Sixth Sense, intuition, prescience, foreknowledge, etc.  Would
>this have always been viewed as witchcraft and/or demonic?  Was this
>accepted in any way as a possible valid sense in the same way that
>vision, olfaction, gustation, etc. are understood?
>
>Any pointers or references would be greatly appreciated.

J. Dover Wilson's indispensable WHAT HAPPENS IN HAMLET has a good deal
on Elizabethan superstition, as well as references to other helpful
sources.

Martin Jukovsky
Cambridge, Mass.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Jul 1998 00:16:59 +0100
Subject: Re: Gobbo in Globe Mer.
Comment:        SHK 9.0642 Re: Gobbo in Globe Mer.

Totally agree - the reviews were fantastic. All I can report is that the
FOH manager I spoke to on the day was so furious that she had already
requested a meeting with Mark Rylance - Bassanio - after the show to
discuss what she termed unacceptable behaviour. I admire Complicite's
work, BUT if the work is contextualised within the frame of Act 4 scene
1 of MoV, then just maybe......... see what I mean?

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Jul 1998 13:44:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Stoicism

Ben Schneider lists Spenser, Sidney, Jonson, James I, Queen Elizabeth,
Montaigne, and Castiglione as stoics all. They can also be seen as
human-ists, except perhaps for Jonson, but I understand and accept Ben's
point that the term "Christian Humanist" has been applied retroactively
by historians and scholars. As I understand it, humanists of the
Renaissance can be characterized by 1) a belief that "man is the measure
of all things," 2) an increasingly secular outlook, 3) a belief in the
efficacy of education, and 4) a passion to recover and renew the great
civilizations of old, especially those of Greece and Rome.

#4 suggests that there need be no necessary contradiction between
stoicism and humanism, since the latter can very easily admire the
former. And this observation formed the basis of my last post to Ben.
Although Shakespeare may not have read Aurelius, the "calmness of soul"
he recommends does seem to become Hamlet's from 5.2.217 on. Thus, my
suggestion that perhaps we are to see Hamlet's "final" philosophical
position as that of a Christian stoic. I don't insist on it, I just
suggest it.

Finally, Shakespeare may have read more Latin than we think. So I end
with another question. Are the *Meditations* of Marcus Aurelius at all
like the soliloquies of Hamlet? If so, then your case is strengthened.
If there is an influence, it could be first hand or even second hand
(if, for example it could be established that Montaigne read Marcus
Aurelius.) On the other hand, Horatio is a stoic and he is upbraided for
the narrowness of his philosophy by no less an authority than Hamlet
himself!

Best Wishes,
--Ed Taft
 

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