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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: To be or not to be
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1847  Tuesday, 24 July 2001

[1]     From:   David A. Lariscy <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Jul 2001 16:16:36 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1841 Re: To be or not to be

[2]     From:   Andrew W. White <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Jul 2001 13:52:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: To be or not to be


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David A. Lariscy <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Jul 2001 16:16:36 EDT
Subject: 12.1841 Re: To be or not to be
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1841 Re: To be or not to be

I agree.  There is no doubt that the scene should be played as if Hamlet
knew he was being watched.  I believe that's the way Shakespeare
intended for the scene to be played.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew W. White <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Jul 2001 13:52:34 -0400
Subject:        Re: To be or not to be

There is some question as to when or how Hamlet realizes he is being
watched, during his 'mating session' with Ophelia.  Barring other bits
of blocking (Hamlet listening in on Polonius' original plot, hence
justifying referring to Polonius as a "fishwife", i.e., pimp), the
chiefest evidence we have of Hamlet knowing he is being watched is the
fact that he has been sent for.

As the audience is given to understand, Hamlet is elsewhere in the
castle, perhaps walking and reading as is his wont, and Polonius sends a
courtier to inform him that there's someone to see the Prince in the
Lobby.  Hamlet goes there, and sees nobody but Ophelia -- the only
person he has been denied access to systematically for quite some time.
And she's alone.  In the Lobby.  For an intimate, private meeting?  Not
bloody likely.

I'm all for Hamlet smelling a rat the moment he sees her, the
directorial additions of fidgets, coughs behind the 'arras'
notwithstanding.

Andy White
Arlington, VA

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