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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: June ::
Re: Various Hamlet Postings
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0564  Wednesday, 17 June 1998.

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Jun 1998 11:00:42 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0559  Re: Various Hamlet Postings

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Jun 1998 15:10:55 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0559  Mea Culpa


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Jun 1998 11:00:42 -0400
Subject: 9.0559  Re: Various Hamlet Postings
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0559  Re: Various Hamlet Postings

Terence Hawkes suggests the following:

>Fortinbras:     Let four captains
>Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,
>For he [i.e., Hamlet] was likely, had he been put on,
>To have prov'd most royal; and for his [i.e. Claudius's] passage,
>The soldier's music and the rite of war
>Speak loudly for him.
>Take up the bodies [of Hamlet and Claudius]. . .
>(V, 2, 400-406, Arden edition)

This could work on stage, but the actor playing Fortinbras would have to
indicate Claudius when he says "his."  Without being guided by some kind
of gesture, the auditor would take "he" and "his" to refer to the same
"him." Nevertheless, Hawkes's very neat reading accounts for "Take up
the bodies," both prince and king, who have died like soldiers fighting
in a civil conflict.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Jun 1998 15:10:55 -0700
Subject: 9.0559  Mea Culpa
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0559  Mea Culpa

Hi, guys.

Thanks to everyone to pointed out the obvious (to anyone but me, it
would seem) point that Hamlet's and Laertes' foils would normally have
been 'bated'.  Mea culpa.

On the whole, I find myself in substantial agreement with Laura Fargas,
although I (obviously) take character criticism a little more
seriously:  this one murder seems to baffle Hamlet.  Why?  What makes
killing Claudius so different from anyone else?  We can't just put
Hamlet's reluctance down to a general intellectualism or religiosity
which is-illogically or at least unnecessarily, and certainly
Platonically-declared to be the opposite of activity in the world.

Why is this particular murder so hard to perform?  Is it because he has
to face Claudius, where he doesn't have to face those others that he
does away with?  (Polonius is behind the arras, R&G are off in England
when the axe falls).  Could the nakedness of the face really be an
ethical command?

I don't know if I'm right, but I'd rather steer the debate in the
direction of discussing a discrete situation facing Hamlet's character
rather than declaring the general disposition of that character, or its
historical situatedness, to be its fate.

Cheers,
Sean
 

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