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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: June ::
Re: Various Hamlet Postings
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0605  Monday, 29 June 1998.

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Jun 1998 12:02:42 -0400
        Subj:   Various Hamlet Postings

[2]     From:   Justin Bacon <
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        Date:   Sunday, 28 Jun 1998 01:43:36 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0588  Re: Various Hamlet Postings


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Jun 1998 12:02:42 -0400
Subject:        Various Hamlet Postings

Oh dear. I seem to have suggested a new reading of a line in Hamlet.
Sorry about that. Back to sleep.

T. Hawkes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Justin Bacon <
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Date:           Sunday, 28 Jun 1998 01:43:36 -0700
Subject: 9.0588  Re: Various Hamlet Postings
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0588  Re: Various Hamlet Postings

Steve Artlawitz wrote:

> Terence Hawkes suggests that Claudius is "surely" the subject of the
> latter end of Fortinbras' last speech.  I'm not sure what the rhetorical
> figure is called, but I've noticed that often the words "certainly,"
> "obviously," and "surely" are used when there is no evidence to support
> a claim.  We might translate "surely" in this case to mean something
> like "It may be that an actor could force an interpretation of the
> speech in order to produce this meaning for an audience."  Professor
> Hawkes offers a neat reading for the actor.  But the delight of the
> acting game is that "perhaps" has more appeal than "surely."  Such
> interpretation is art, not law.  (And I applaud it.)

Surely (pun intended) my first response to the use of the word "surely"
in Shakespearean criticism is, "Oh no it's not." And then immediately
come up with half a dozen interpretations with twice as much
justification as the one suggested.

Whenever anyone says, "Surely we must not take the text at face
value..." Or "Surely Shakespeare didn't mean for the most obvious
interpretation of this line to be correct..." (whatever language they
may choose to use to fancy this claim up) my hackles immediately rise.

Justin Bacon

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