The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1721 Monday, 11 October 1999.
From: Perry Herzfeld <
Date: Saturday, 9 Oct 1999 22:40:03 +1000
Subject: Fat Hamlet
In the final scene of Hamlet, while Hamlet is fighting with Laertes
Gertrude says of Hamlet:
He's fat, and scant of breath.
I have always been curious as to what the 'fat' refers to. My
mathematics lecturer (a Russian lady who has a bit of a thing for
Shakespeare, which she says sounds better in Russian) used this line to
defend the forty-something year old, rather portly Hamlet of the
well-known Russian version of Hamlet. Is this the real reason? Or is
there some more satisfactory reason? Any responses would be much
appreciated: I don't want to have the image of an obese Hamlet in my
mind when writing character analyses!