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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Re: Ophelia and Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0897  Tuesday, 25 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 May 1999 16:57:07 +0100
        Subj:   Re: Ophelia

[2]     From:   Lucia Anna Setari <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 May 1999 14:19:02 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Hamlet's esitating


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Monday, 24 May 1999 16:57:07 +0100
Subject:        Re: Ophelia

Has anyone mentioned that the fact that she is carrying the
'remembrances' when Hamlet bumps into her is itself an element in making
him suspicious? I think Dover Wilson did.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lucia Anna Setari <
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Date:           Monday, 24 May 1999 14:19:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Hamlet's esitating

Hi, Sean

You wrote:
>The enormous variety within Christian lifestyles
>should guard us against declaring any of them to be
>"Christianity". More generally, it should probably
>guard us against the larger notion current in
>criticism, that we can explain social relations at the
>micro level by looking to the broad history of ideas,
>since a single idea can have two or more contrary
>applications. We should hesitate from blaming
>individual injustices and bad deeds on philosophies,
>since most philosophies could also be used to condemn
>the same injustices.

Yes. You are right.

And you are right also when you say that

>"Actual Christian Churches" aren't a useful measure of Christianity.
>In fact, if we follow Kierkegaard, then these churches at most
>participate in Christendom.

But I mentioned  "actual Christian Churches" not in order to maintain
that they represent Christianity and that their eventual flaws are
Christianity's flaws (or, on the contrary, to say they have betrayed
Christ) but only because their opinions and attitudes can help us to
understand  thoughts and fancies of men of certain moments of history.

I was talking just about some common interpretations of Christ's words
in determinate times and countries, not about Christian thought as a
philosophical one  (though this too is not out of history).

As to Christian funerals etc.,  I  agree with you that <<As long as God
can have a different mind (which, assuming one is Theist, has nothing to
do with the church's "generosity"), then where you're buried doesn't
matter at all.>>.

But I was not reasoning about the consequence a denied funeral may
really have for the poor dead's soul.

I was considering the pedagogic aspect of this denying.

I add that I find it hypocrital because it, seeming to guard people
against desperation (that is lack of hope, lack of faith, lack of
charity), shows, in the name of a rigorous reasoning, lack of love.

Coming back to Hamlet, what I find wonderful in the chapel scene is its
various irony.

1)  Hamlet's too keen and subtle reasoning about a perfect (an eye for
an eye) revenge (which had to spread over after-death time since the
suffered damage spread so) becomes an argument against revenge, since in
fact it makes Hamlet's hesitating.

2)  While Hamlet does not kill Claudius in order to avoid to send him to
heaven, Claudius is showed ready, though his praying, to be sent to
hell. Thus all too logical or too formal reasonings about souls' destiny
are showed fool.

3)  At last, with all his cruel reasoning, Hamlet is showed not
malicious at all,  since he, thinking Claudius able to repent, thinks
this villain less callous than he actually is.

I think that Shakespeare's view of life, as it comes out from Hamlet, is
expressed by the ironic bitterness with which he shows  how men's minds
cannot control men's destiny. If this view is to be considered an
expression of a religious though not chiefly Christian soul or, on the
contrary, of a most Christian one or at last of scepticism, I  humbly
prefer to leave this to better minds than mine (all the more so because
my English is today more terrific than ever...).

Best regards
Lucia Anna S.
 

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