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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: Weed Noted
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0636  Friday, 16 March 2001

[1]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 20:03:54
        Subj:   Re: Weed Noted

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 22:56:28 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0622 Re: Weed Noted


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 20:03:54
Subject:        Re: Weed Noted

David Schalkwyk <
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 > writes:

>I was joking.

No wonder I can't find any scene in which Hamlet (or any other
character) is smoking!

Takashi Kozuka

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Mar 2001 22:56:28 -0500
Subject: 12.0622 Re: Weed Noted
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0622 Re: Weed Noted

What is really labored is the oath to silence on Hamlet's sword.  If
Hamlet is mad, then his madness seems to me closest to paranoid
schizophrenia, except that the audience is shown a reality in which his
paranoid delusions are as real as the shared reality of the sane
community.  Let's say that a paranoiac receives a visit from two school
chums (at Bedlam for instance), and it is observed that he receives them
with hostility and cryptic sarcasm.  We can write the play backwards,
showing them as part of a prosecutorial conspiracy perpetrated by the
king (usually the CIA for modern paranoiacs).  Similarly, paranoiacs
live in a world in which everybody is in on the secret conspiracy of
which they are the focus, and yet they must be struck by the absolute
silence all these conspirators (and some may be perceived by the
paranoiac as allies) manage to maintain, as if they have sworn some sort
of oath.  Having imposed the oath, Hamlet's (or the audience's)
delusions are not disturbed by the fact that Horatio does not reveal his
knowledge to other potential allies.

While profound paranoid schizophrenics are usually convinced of the
accuracy of their delusional beliefs, they can have moments of
uncertainty.  If, as Sean suggests, the audience's witnessing of the
witnessing of Hamlet's ghost, that Sam Small rightly observes makes this
ghost different from all other Shakespearean ghosts, prevents us from
"closing" the meaning of the text around madness yea or nay, in making
the ghost as real as any other character on (or under) the stage, it
improves on its sources by moving us to the inside of the schizophrenic
mind.

Which, incidentally, is what (according to modern physic) smoking too
much hemp and nutmeg does.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY
http://phoenix.liu.edu/~cstetner/cds.html
 

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