The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2762 Thursday, 6 December 2001
From: John Ramsay <
Date: Wednesday, 05 Dec 2001 13:01:10 -0500
Subject: 12.2753 Cold Ghosts
Comment: Re: SHK 12.2753 Cold Ghosts
>The number and emphatic placements of references to cold weather during
>the battlements scenes--"'tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart
>(I.i.8), "the air bites shrewdly, it is very cold" (I.iv.1), and "it is
>a nipping and an eager air" (I.iv.2)--in Hamlet has always seemed
>curious to me, especially given the good weather of Acts IV and V.
>Surely they are more than enough to establish a feeling of dread and a
>location shift between I.iii and I.iv. Does anyone know whether the
>notion of "cold spots" indicating a ghost's presence existed when >Hamlet was written?
It's the literary device called 'pathetic fallacy' wherein the world of
nature seems to sympathize with the human world. Used extensively by
Shakespeare and others.
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