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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1741  Thursday, 12 July 2001

From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Jul 2001 16:32:40 +0100
Subject: 12.1735 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1735 Re: Hamlet's Clashing Ideals

>The ghost says,
>
>But howsomever thou pursuest this act,
>Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
>Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven...
>
>The contrast here is not, I would say, between mind and soul, though
>they may be subtly distinguishable. It is rather between "this act", of
>killing Claudius, and "that act": tainting thy mind or contriving aught
>against thy mother. An overly simple translation, but one that caught
>the main force of the line, would be, "Don't kill your mother, nor even
>think about it."

Whatever the distinction between mind and soul, it is interesting that
these are harmful effects such as Hamlet would fear: a type of madness
and a separation from the divine. It's a good text for those who think
the Ghost is voicing Hamlet's own subconscious.

Brian Haylett

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