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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: August ::
Re: Hamlet as Dipstick
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2065  Monday, 27 August 2001

From:           Dan Smith <
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Date:           Monday, 27 Aug 2001 01:50:46 +0100
Subject: 12.2046 Hamlet as Dipstick
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2046 Hamlet as Dipstick

I am most gratified to find some areas of agreement with this particular
lavatory wall.  I greatly enjoyed the recent National Theatre Hamlet
with Simon Russell Beale.  The fact that SRB is not cast from the
physical mould of the conventional hero, seemed to offer the tantalising
possibility of having a Claudius of similar physique to Hamlet where
both would differ from the rest of the court.  This would add a layer of
irony to all of Hamlet's references to his father, make Claudius'
expectation that Hamlet will not kill him not just grounded in the aura
of majesty, and make the ghost's motives (and intentions for Hamlet)
more interesting. This would also explain why Claudius is happy to keep
Hamlet in court and call him his heir, and why he has not married a
woman of childbearing age to ensure a succession - she has given birth
to his son already.  Finally, the shade of Lawrence Olivier, that
apologist for the Oedipal Hamlet would also get a kick out of it - the
root of Hamlet's indecision is that he is being asked to kill his real
father, not just a father figure.  Any Freudian will also tell you that
such repressed urges will lead to the kind of displacement activity in
which Hamlet kills Ophelia's father instead.

This is a much more interesting lavatory wall than any I have seen
lately.  If enough pithy criticism can be found that would be
appropriate for such a venue, perhaps a pitch could be made for a grant
to interest potential students in studying Shakespeare by this means -
urinal (rather than viral) marketing.

Dan Smith

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