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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Hamlet's Age
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0352  Wednesday 3 March 1999.

[1]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Mar 1999 08:56:23 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.045 Re: Hamlet's Age

[2]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Mar 1999 10:07:11 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0330 Re: Hamlet's Age

[3]     From:   Billy Houck <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Mar 1999 11:48:56 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.045 Re: Hamlet's Age

[4]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Mar 1999 12:34:52 PST
        Subj:   Re: Hamlet's Age


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Mar 1999 08:56:23 -0600
Subject: 10.045 Re: Hamlet's Age
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.045 Re: Hamlet's Age

Larry Weiss wrote:

>Catherine Loomis wrote:
>
>>The simplest answer is that Shakespeare did this so Richard Burbage
>>(born c. 1567) could play Hamlet.  In Belleforest and Saxo Grammaticus,
>>the Hamlet character is young.
>
>And Cora Lee Wolfe makes the same point.  In fact, the two speeches
>fixing Hamlet's age at 30 were added in the Q2 version (possibly a
>playing revision), and the Folio has Yorick dead only twelve years,
>making Hamlet about 19 or 20.  I have long conjectured that this was a
>deliberate change made at the behest of Burbage (who I thought was
>closer to 40, not 33, at the time of the probable first performance), to
>try to put a stop to the ribbing he was taking at The Mermaid and
>Yaughn's.

Richard Burbage was four years younger than Shakespeare, born in July
1568 in St. Stephen's Coleman Street, London.  Thus he would have been
32 in 1600.

Dave Kathman

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Mar 1999 10:07:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0330 Re: Hamlet's Age
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0330 Re: Hamlet's Age

>As I understand it, there wasn't much that heirs could do in
>Elizabethan times except hang around waiting for their dads to pass on,
>and get themselves into trouble.  This is a subject of some anxiety not
>only in, say, King Lear, but also, as I understand it, in court records
>where young men are committing an over representative percentage of
>minor crime.  Lower on the social scale, we could think of how
>apprentices became masters and bachelors became husbands later and later
>in life as social conditions deteriorated.

Perhaps a useful insight on Hamlet's age. This makes me think of Prince
Hal and the prodigals in the plays of Shakespeare's contemporaries:
Follywit in Middleton's A Mad World, My Masters, Richard Easy in
Michaelmas Term, and perhaps Vindice in The Revenger's Tragedy and
Antonio in Marston's plays. They are probably all in their twenties,
perhaps upper twenties.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Mar 1999 11:48:56 EST
Subject: 10.045 Re: Hamlet's Age
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.045 Re: Hamlet's Age

If you MUST find logic regarding the age of Hamlet, you could just
assume the gravedigger is a poor judge of time.

However, the road to logic is a frontage road to the freeway to madness.
Avoid it.

Billy Houck

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Mar 1999 12:34:52 PST
Subject:        Re: Hamlet's Age

Dear Sean:

>As I understand it, there wasn't much that heirs could do in
>Elizabethan times except hang around waiting for their dads to pass
>on, and get themselves into trouble.

Would you kindly identify the sources your argument is based upon?
'Court records' you mention in your posting or crime records?  Where can
we (or did you) find them? Record Offices? I should sincerely appreciate
your (or any SHAKSPER subscriber's) reply.

Dear Asami:

>If it were a novel, such betrayal(?) couldn't be permitted.

May I ask you (or any SHAKSPER subscriber) why? Reader-response critics
would argue that this betrayal (or the discovery of new information) is
the key for our reading/understanding of the text. I am simply curious
because your argument is based upon the distinction of 'genres'. What
about poetry?

Thank you.

Takashi Kozuka
PhD Student in Renaissance Studies
 

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