Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: HAMLET.HEART
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2005  Tuesday, 16 November 1999.

From:           Hardy M. Cook <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, November 16, 1999
Subject:        New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: HAMLET.HEART

As of today, SHAKSPEReans may retrieve Nora Kreimer's "Hamlet - The
Heart of a Mystery" (HAMLET.HEART) from the SHAKSPER fileserver.

To retrieve "Hamlet - The Heart of a Mystery", send a one-line mail
message (without a subject line) to 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 , reading
"GET HAMLET.HEART".

Should you have difficulty receiving this or any of the files on the
SHAKSPER file server, please contact the editor at
<
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > or <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >.

*********************************************
Hamlet - The Heart of a Mystery
by Nora Kreimer

The purpose of this essay is to explore the inquisitive gaze with which
so many generations have approached Hamlet and the need for confirmation
that the play has imposed upon scholars, actors, and audiences. This
need rests on the necessary validation regarding the authenticity of the
evidence that the play provides concerning many of the issues presented
in the action. Statements supportive of events, the veracity of which is
often left unconfirmed, are hopefully and patiently awaited,
occasionally, to no avail. The aim of this analysis is to explore the
uncertainty underlying the play, the desire for verification of various
issues of central importance to the plot that remains unsatisfied and
the unheroic nature of its central character.
Maynard Mack says, "The first attribute that impresses us I think is the
play's mysteriouness."1 This statement is an echo of something Hamlet
tells Rosencrantz and Guildernstern,

"Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You
would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would
pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from
my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is
much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet
cannot you make it speak." (III.ii.372-375)

It is this attempt to make the play reveal its mystery that seems, to my
mind, to lie at the heart of its success. There is a sustained need to
control every detail it contains, understand every motive, and penetrate
every cause. Also, this curiosity the play arouses concerning various
activities of doubtful notoriety is extended to that most characters in
the play have for confirmation. This desire to know they share with the
audience, and both audience and characters will remain unsatisfied;
hence, the need for the historical bulk of criticism, and also the
amazing number of productions of the play. Such activities as
eavesdropping, spying, violation of royal and private correspondence,
oral and written confessions and forcefully extracted revelations
display an almost paradoxical tendency, in most characters, to
corroborate an undefined thesis or ascertain the validity of a vague
impression. This analysis will be based on three aspects: a review of
the play's difficulties concerning consistency and confirmation, a moral
approach to the character of Hamlet as a "villain-hero"2, in Harold
Bloom's words, and audiences' sustained connection with both play and
character.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.