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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: May ::
Hamlet German
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0964  Thursday, 4 May 2000.

From:           Syd Kasten <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 4 May 2000 16:56:49 +0300 (IDT)
Subject:        Hamlet German

Once again I ask your forgiveness.  This has been rattling around in my
head for ever so long and the only way I can exorcise it is by putting
it into print.

It all begins with the German tendency to put participles at the end of
subordinate clauses, so when I read the lines:

      "                           How stand I then,
      That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,"

I come up with an association to the previous major scene in which H.
kills a father (Ophelia's).  A mother stain'd? his own?  Which brings me
to tell myself "No,no! - the "have" is the have of possession, not of
the perfect tense."

And yet, I remember through a glass darkly a 1964 joint production of
BBC & Denmark Radio with Christopher Plummer as Hamlet.  I am probably
wildly distorting, but I seem to remember the closet scene as so
redolent of sexuality that I had to avert my eyes. (This was before the
revolution in cinema that made sex an every day commodity).

The cast (courtesy of 
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 ) had some familiar names:

  Michael Caine ..................... Horatio
  Alec Clunes ....................... Polonius
  Jo Maxwell Muller ................. Ophelia
  Christopher Plummer ............... Hamlet
  Robert Shaw (I) ................... Claudius, King of Denmark
  Donald Sutherland ................. Fortinbras, Prince of Norway
  June Tobin ........................ Gertrude, Queen of Denmark

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten
 

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