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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: Hamlet Act 4 Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1136  Thursday, 1 June 2000.

From:           Alex Went <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jun 2000 00:29:07 +0100
Subject: 11.1124 Re: Hamlet Act 4 Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1124 Re: Hamlet Act 4 Question

> >King is a thing --
>
> What about 'body' = 'state, body politic' as hidden meaning? The people
> support the king, but the king is not on the people's side. (Apologies
> if anyone has raised this one while I have been in hospital.)
>
> Brian Haylett

The imagery of the body politic is explicit throughout the play: see for
example the ghost's lines in Act I scene v, where he describes the
poison as having coursed through 'the natural gates and alleys' of his
body. In other words, "L'etat, c'est moi". Hamlet's riposte to
Rozencrantz and Guildenstern in Act IV scene ii - 'The body is with the
King, but the King is not with the body' is equally unambiguous. I'm
afraid that the expression 'hidden meaning' only serves to obscure what
is (and would have been in the 1600s) patently clear.
 

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