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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: Weed Noted
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0593  Tuesday, 13 March 2001

[1]     From:   Jack Heller <
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 >
        Date:   Monday, 12 Mar 2001 16:14:03 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0580 Re: Weed Noted

[2]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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 >
        Date:   Monday, 12 Mar 2001 21:15:58
        Subj:   Re: Weed Noted


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 12 Mar 2001 16:14:03 -0500
Subject: 12.0580 Re: Weed Noted
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0580 Re: Weed Noted

>ANOTHER MAJOR SCHOLARLY BREAKTHROUGH FROM SOUTH AFRICA!
>
>I was discussing the matter of Shakespeare's possible smoking habits
>with my 11-year old son when his eyes lit up.  That explains Hamlet, he
>said.  What explains Hamlet? I asked.  When he said he'd seen a ghost he
>was actually hallucinating from having smoked too much nutmeg (or
>cannabis, or cocaine, or whatever)!
>
>Now why hasn't anyone thought of that before?

Well, someone has been thinking along these lines. Two years ago, the
Actors Theater in Louisville, Kentucky presented Hamlet as a heroin
addict.

Jack Heller

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 12 Mar 2001 21:15:58
Subject:        Re: Weed Noted

Please excuse my ignorance, but I have a number of questions.
(Personally, I still don't see any clear links between Shakespeare and
the pipes or cannabis...)

David Schalkwyk <
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 > writes:

>When he [Hamlet] said he'd seen a ghost he
>was actually hallucinating from having smoked too much nutmeg (or
>cannabis, or cocaine, or whatever)!
>
>Now why hasn't anyone thought of that before?

Does Hamlet smoke whether on or off stage? Do we have any textual
evidence to suggest that smoking is causing hallucination? Do some other
characters in the play also see the Ghost because/when/after they are
smoking? I don't see any connection between "an unweeded garden / That
grows to seed" (Norton 1.2.135-36) and cannabis... (Do I have to be a
postmodern reader to understand the connection?)

Did Elizabethans and/or Jacobeans use the term 'weed' to refer to
cannabis?  They did use the 'weed' to refer to certain herbs. But did
they consider cannabis a herb? Do we have any example from writing in
the 16th or the 17th century which clearly shows that the 'weed' was
used to refer to cannabis?

Peter, I don't think they'll leave Shakespeare alone... Maybe we should
ask Uri Geller if he can contact (the spirit of) Shakespeare for us. He
said, "Remember: I know lots of famous people." He may know Shakespeare
as well as Michael Jackson...

Takashi Kozuka
PhD Student
Centre for the Study of the Renaissance
University of Warwick (UK)

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PS: I should have added a brief note. According to the OED it was not
until the 20th century that the word "weed" started to be used to refer
to cannabis.
 

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