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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1693  Thursday, 5 July 2001

[1]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Jul 2001 16:19:49 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1685 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals

[2]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Jul 2001 14:37:44 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1685 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals

[3]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Jul 2001 15:30:45 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 12.1685 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals

[4]     From:   Philip Weller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Jul 2001 14:10:10 -0700
        Subj:   Capulet's reason for his change of mind


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Jul 2001 16:19:49 +0100
Subject: 12.1685 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1685 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals

> >... it may be that the Ghost is (punningly?) commanding Hamlet to 'put my
> >limbs together again'.
>
>Hm... What would he mean by that? (Does David Bishop's book answer my
>question?)

He would mean that Hamlet should reassemble (in himself) those qualities
that made up his father, most obviously the warlike stance and automatic
opposition to Norway. Sorry David Bishop does not agree, but I think he
took me rather too literally.

Brian Haylett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bishop <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Jul 2001 14:37:44 -0400
Subject: 12.1685 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1685 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals

Louis Swilley's account of Hamlet's "princely responsibility" agrees
almost entirely with the argument of my book (at clashingideals.com). I
call the impulse to revenge the heroic ideal and the duty to the state
the patriotic ideal. Beyond that I add-Shakespeare adds-the Christian
ideal, which joins the patriotic in militating against revenge. The
chapters on these three are called The Son, The Father and The Holy
Spirit. The latter contains an examination of how these forces work in
the prayer scene.

I'm very happy to see a sign of critical convergence.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Jul 2001 15:30:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals
Comment:        SHK 12.1685 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals

  Louis Swilley wrote:

> It may be pertinent to this general discussion to recall that Hamlet is,
> after all, a prince of the realm, with the public responsibilities
> thereof.  He cannot go about stabbing kings indiscriminately, as though
> he were a mere revenger  ...
> The killing of Claudius must be a public act of justice, not a private act
> of revenge - that is Hamlet's essential problem rather back-handed him
> by the ghost ... .

Actually, the Ghost backhands three essential problems to Hamlet after
requesting vengeance:

1. Taint not your mind (which Mr. Swilley mentions in this posting),
asking Hamlet to be a revenger who does not descend into either madness
or villainy (already a nearly impossible task).

2. Don't do anything to your mother (perhaps the Ghost doesn't trust his
own son in this matter).

3. Protect the state from lechery and incest (or perhaps it means to
preserve the dignity and morality of the country).

It seems to me that it is largely for these reasons that Hamlet
contrives the inner play as a tool to get Claudius's crimes in the
public eye-a plan that backfires miserably. It goes a long way to
explaining his so-called hesitation in accomplishing his revenge. Old
Hamlet has undermined his son from the start.

>I think it particularly brilliant of Shakespeare to have
> Claudius exposed at last as the murderer not of the old King, but of one
> who is to inherit the throne, in other words as a traitor to the realm,
> his crime is against the kingdom itself.

Claudius is also exposed as the murderer of Laertes and of the Queen
(his sister-wife ... positively Wagnerian, isn't it?), the last of which
must seem even more horrible to those "who look pale and tremble at this
chance."

Paul E. Doniger

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Weller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Jul 2001 14:10:10 -0700
Subject:        Capulet's reason for his change of mind

In the thread, "Hamlet's Clashing Ideals," Louis Swilley  wrote:

>A somewhat similar case is that of Capulet's change of mind
>about the marriage of Juliet; it is  the intervening death of kinsman
>Tybalt that has made Capulet so sharply aware of the immediate need to
>secure his bloodline through Juliet - but the *reason* for his sudden
>change of mind is never mentioned.

Doesn't this speech by Lady Capulet explain that "reason"?

"Well, well thou hast a careful father, child,
One who, to put thee from thy heaviness,
Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy,
That thou expects not, nor I look'd not for."
(3.5.107-110)

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