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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: August ::
Re: The Tragedy of Claudius
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1992  Tuesday, 14 August 2001

From:           Don Bloom <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Aug 2001 08:13:03 -0500
Subject: 12.1979 Re: The Tragedy of Claudius
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1979 Re: The Tragedy of Claudius

Brian Haylett writes (apropos of my remark as to Fortinbras) --

>In that case, what do you mean by
>
>>they must be cousins?
>
>There is not the slightest bit of evidence for that claim.

I respond: It depends on what you mean by evidence. If you mean, does
Hamlet refer to Fortinbras as a cousin, then, no, of course he doesn't.
If you mean (as I mean), is it a reasonable conclusion or inference
about what Shakespeare would assume about his audience and its
assumptions, then I stand by it.

To put it another way, how else could he have a shadow of claim to the
Danish throne?

He says he has "some rights of memory" which he will pursue. Even more
important, Hamlet has just predicted this election and supported it with
(as has been pointed out) the dying voice of the de facto monarch. None
of this would make sense unless we assumed that the two royal families
were connected. So, I assumed it. I generally assume that Shakespeare
makes sense, and usually he does.

Cheers,
don

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