The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2114 Thursday, 2 December 1999.
Date: Wednesday, 1 Dec 1999 09:54:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.2109 Re: Fat Hamlet
Comment: Re: SHK 10.2109 Re: Fat Hamlet
Those who wish to pursue the "fat Hamlet" topic should consult a
"classic" essay on the subject: E. Vale Blake, "The Impediment of
Adipose-A Celebrated Case," The Popular Science Monthly, 17 (May to
October, 1880): 60-71. Blake starts with an account of various ill
effects "from an excess of fatty deposit" (60) and then argues that "a
redundance of adipose matter essentially weakens and impedes the power
of the will" (61). He then builds not only on "He's fat and scant of
breath" but also "too too solid flesh," Ophelia's reference to Hamlet's
sigh that "did seem to shatter all his bulk" (2.1), and other bits to
conclude (71) that this tragic hero was "impeded at every step by a
superfluity of adipose" (71). I recommend this essay (for those who can
track it down) as a delightful read.