The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1777 Wednesday, 20 October 1999.
Date: Tuesday, 19 Oct 1999 14:10:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 10.1764 Re: Hamlet
Comment: Re: SHK 10.1764 Re: Hamlet
Dana Shilling wrote:
>"The woman" in Hamlet is perceived negatively-i.e.,
>when Laertes tries
>but is unable to avoid crying for Ophelia, he says
>that now "the woman"
>is out once he finishes crying.
Yet Hamlet the play expresses more complex things than its characters
I cannot but notice that when Hamlet tries to suffocate the woman he too
has within himself - i.e. when he, because of his disgust at his mother
behaviour, tries, generalizing, to extirpate the woman side from his
inner world, to stop unpacking his heart with words and to take upon
himself the very manly task of revenge - the earth turns itself into a
"sterile promontory" to his eyes.
I think that the sterility of Denmark's Court is not a secundary aspect
of the play which shows a place lacking mothers. They are dead or
phisically absent (like Ophelia's) or have given up playing the role of
the mother. Hamlet's mother, in fact, not only seems sterile for having
exceeded the age-limit to give birth to children, but also has turned
herself into the wife and the shadow of her son's step-father, into his
aunt, into a sort of Queen of hearts -. The only other woman in the
Court is a "daughter", the young Ophelia, which (because both Hamlet
and her male relatives mistrust "the woman") is ready to, but is
prevented from giving birth (and, in this connection, it seems also
meaningful to me that the motherless girl does not have even a nurse at
her side). Ophelia loses her sense (in every sense) and dies because
she is left with no room at all in the "sterile promontory".
Yet her (the woman's) death anticipates the unavoidable death of the
Lucia Anna S.