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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: October ::
Re: Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1787  Thursday, 21 October 1999.

[1]     From:   Ronald Macdonald <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Oct 1999 13:42:08 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   The Woman in Hamlet

[2]     From:   Dana Shilling <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Oct 1999 14:41:29 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1777 Re: Hamlet

[3]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Oct 1999 20:31:03 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1617 Re: Hamlet and Marriage Practices


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Macdonald <
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Date:           Wednesday, 20 Oct 1999 13:42:08 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        The Woman in Hamlet

Both Dana Shilling and Lucia Anna Setari, as well as others on the list,
might be interested in David Leverenz's excellent essay "The Woman in
Hamlet: An Interpersonal View" in _Representing Shakespeare: New
Psychoanalytic Essays_, ed. Murray Schwartz and Coppelia Kahn (Johns
Hopkins, 1980).  This essay was reprinted from _Signs: Journal of Women
in Culture and Society_ 4 (Winter 1978).

--Ron Macdonald

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
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Date:           Wednesday, 20 Oct 1999 14:41:29 -0400
Subject: 10.1777 Re: Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1777 Re: Hamlet

"Hamlet" is surprisingly short on women's voices. Both Ophelia and
Gertrude have short, almost sketchy roles, and do NOT have scenes that
would explain textual cruces. In contrast, Juliet is a much better part
than Romeo, and the play also includes the Nurse and Ladies Capulet and
Montague; MV has Portia, Nerissa, and Jessica; even Coriolanus
(Shakespeare's "Fight Club") , which is set in a military milieu, has a
key role for Volumnia and a spit and a cough for Valeria.

Of course, in "Hamlet" nobody except Hamlet gets to say much. He's sort
of the Richard III of good guys (sardonic, kills a lot of people, talks
A LOT).

Dana (Shilling)

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Wednesday, 20 Oct 1999 20:31:03 -0400
Subject: 10.1617 Re: Hamlet and Marriage Practices
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1617 Re: Hamlet and Marriage Practices

This harkens back to an earlier discussion on this list regarding
Hamlet's age.  Is Hamlet the young glass of fashion in continual fencing
practice or the thirty-something (who knows how long he made Yorick
carry him around?) out of shape melancholic?  I tend to suspect that the
elusiveness of such issues that remain cruxes for so long may be
intentional and that the little hints critics have found regarding
Hamlet's true age are clues to the deeper meanings of the play and
character.  True that Burbage was fat, but, if so, what need to point it
out?  And couldn't the author have suspected that his plays might be
performed by others, having performed many others' plays himself?

People who read Hamlet in the light of psychoanalysis tend to brush
aside any elements of his disorder not included in Freud's model of the
Oedipus complex.  Shakespeare, however, did not read Freud, and his
version of the unconscious extends, in my view, beyond the Freudian
canon.  The incest that appalls Hamlet is not really incest, but the
horror felt by any child at the awareness of the sexual relations
between his parents.  The play is cast partially in the distorted point
of view of Hamlet's neurosis.  Much of it, including the fratricide, can
be understood as his fantasy.  If so, the ghost is a Lacanian "nom du
pere," an idealized principle, while Claudius is the uncomfortable
reality of Hamlet's actual father.  Unlike Freud, Shakespeare recognizes
that childhood fantasies, such as the idea that one is adopted (i.e.
you're not my real father), and the interpretation of parental sexual
relations as a type of incest, are part of the complex.  The close
quarters and dearth of doors in the pre-modern world must have
aggravated this experience for many children.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY
C.W. Post College
 

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