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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: April ::
Re: Oxymorons
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0712  Wednesday, 5 April 2000.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 04 Apr 2000 11:26:34 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0695 Re: Oxymorons

[2]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 4 Apr 2000 20:22:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0695 Re: Oxymorons

[3]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 5 Apr 2000 01:15:25 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0695 Re: Oxymorons

[4]     From:   Allan Blackman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 5 Apr 2000 07:28:14 -0400
        Subj:   "oxymorons"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 04 Apr 2000 11:26:34 -0700
Subject: 11.0695 Re: Oxymorons
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0695 Re: Oxymorons

Ed Taft writes, in an interesting and informed reading of Hamlet:

> Why does he do this?  I would suggest that, as always in Hamlet, the
> plot tells us at least as much as the soliloquys, and so what Hamlet is
> doing is putting his own life on the line in a courageous and brilliant
> attempt to interrogate Providence, to put Providence itself on trial, as
> it were.  IF the Ghost represents the will of heaven, then Hamlet will
> be saved from his adder-fanged "friends" and brought back to Denmark to
> finish the job that Providence has assigned to him.  IF the Ghost
> represents God's will, then Providence will give Hamlet the means, the
> motive (he already has that!), and the opportunity to effect revenge.

This is interesting, but I have two quibbles:

1. Hamlet seems to reserve his most Providentialist statements for after
his return from England.  Relying on Providence here seems prescient.

2. Testing Providence sounds a lot to me like tempting God.  Which isn't
to say that this isn't what Hamlet does, but it doesn't strike me as
entirely orthodox.  Saying that he's testing Providence would, in other
words, open up a whole new set of problems.

Cheers,
Se

 

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