Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Re: Time in Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1309  Friday, 1 June 2001

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 13:22:40 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 12.1296 Re: Time in Hamlet

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 14:48:46 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Time in Hamlet

[3]     From:   Andrew W. White <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 15:19:01 -0400
        Subj:   Time in Hamlet

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 16:10:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1296 Re: Time in Hamlet

[5]     From:   Syd Kasten <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 23:57:04 +0300 (IDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1240 Re: Time in Hamlet

[6]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 22:11:03
        Subj:   Re: Time in Hamlet

[7]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 22:11:03
        Subj:   Re: Time in Hamlet

[8]     From:   Susan St. John <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 31 May 2001 19:48:48 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1296 Re: Time in Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 13:22:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Time in Hamlet
Comment:        SHK 12.1296 Re: Time in Hamlet

 'I still think it can be good for the soul, and for society, sometimes
to call craziness crazy'.

David Bishop is absolutely right. If only there were some TEXTUAL
evidence -- say if  Claudius actually referred to Hamlet as his son.
Crazy, I agree.

Back to sleep.

T. Hawkes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 14:48:46 -0400
Subject:        Re: Time in Hamlet

Pronouns aside, it may be worth noting that Fortinbras seems to embody
the values and attitudes of Old Hamlet, while Hamlet, Jr.'s sensitivity
and intelligence are both characteristics of Claudius. It's true that
Claudius is a murderer, but so, in the end, is Hamlet. Claudius also
beds Gertrude, but Hamlet may want to do the same thing. And Claudius,
of course, is king: a position Hamlet expected; at least he implies so
in Act 5.

I think we need to interview Gertrude about all this.

--Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew W. White <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 15:19:01 -0400
Subject:        Time in Hamlet

A couple points -- first, I think the Danish monarchy was elected during
Shakespeare's time, although it appears to have been 'elective
primogeniture' in practice.  The 'election' scam was a popular way of
making the family line look legit.  Other empires (think:  Roman,
Byzantine) functioned the same way, requiring elections/acclamations,
pro forma, as a means of legitimating the rule of families.

Second, Dr. Hawkes' reading may not impute honor to Claudius so much as
reinforce Fortinbras' dramaturgical function as the play's royal
janitor.  Elizabethans (and/or the censors) seem to have preferred
closure of a specific sort, and whereas we love nothing more than death
and doom at the end of our Hamlets, Shakespeare's audience would have
needed some sense of God's hand guiding all (especially where the
monarchy was concerned).  Hence a positive resolution of the situation
was required, and a dashing, young red-head from out of town was trotted
out to give the corpses their perfunctory due, and tell the audience
when to applaud ('when you hear the cannons, dears, clap and shout
hurrah').  In other words, giving Claudius the rights of war, in the
context of an epic tragical history, may have been more of a sop to the
'happy ending, nice and tidy' scenario than anything else.

Finally, consider that _Hamlet_ very likely opened in repertory with
_Julius Caesar_, which had much the same ending:  nobles needlessly
skewered, young pup gladly taking the reins of power, 'parting the
glories' and all that.  Nice bookends, those two plays.  Hence the
shameless plug  mid-show, with tomorrow PM's Caesar and Brutus
pre-enacting the 'unkindest cut of all.'  --
At least that's how I've staged it. . .

Cheers,
Andy White

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 16:10:31 -0400
Subject: 12.1296 Re: Time in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1296 Re: Time in Hamlet

>I wonder about
>Hamlet's "superior claims," however. In Elizabethan terms, is there any
>evidence that the king's son has a superior claim to the throne than the
>king's older, more experienced younger brother? I was under the
>impression that kingship depended in larger measure upon election by the
>nobles than by father/son inheritance. Are any of our resident
>historians able to clarify the question?

We have been though this before, at least twice.  Danish (Viking) kings
were in fact elected by an assembly of ur-nobles.  The references to
"election" in the play are correct.  I don't know how Shakespeare knew
this.  Is it in the sources?

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Syd Kasten <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 23:57:04 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: 12.1240 Re: Time in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1240 Re: Time in Hamlet

>>               Let four captains
>>Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,
>>For he was likely, had he been put on,
>>To have prov'd most royal; and for his passage,
>>The soldier's music and the rite of war
>>Speak loudly for him.
>>Take up the bodies . . .
>>(V, 2, 400-406, Arden edition)
>>
>-- 'he' in line 402 refers to Hamlet, 'his' in line 403 refers to
>>Claudius?

The first time T. Hawkes offered us his reading of these lines I took
him seriously.  Now that he has repeated it I conclude that he is
expressing subtlety and gently his evaluation of the discussion, as he
has done from time to time with his question on the Macbeths' children.
(The Macbeth question also rests on an ambiguous pronomial referent:
when Lady Macbeth says "take my mother's milk for gall" the word "my"
refers to "mother" (her mother) and not on her own physiological state.
What she is saying is "Make me in character as one who has been weaned
on something stronger than milk, something bitter and inhuman.")

Whether or not my take on Hawkes is accurate I would like to offer the
following with regard to Shakespeare's time.  Around the turn of the
previous century painters like Cezanne tried to break free of the
strictures of the two dimensional canvas and bring the scene outward
from the frame.  To do this they played havoc with the rules of parallax
and proportion.  Many of these pictures have wide appeal, even to those
who are not learned in art but "know what they like".  Whatever the
logical difficulties presented by the text, they don't seem to interfere
with the suspension of disbelief, or whatever other mental mechanisms
that are active in someone watching the play.  In any case it is hard
for me to accept that Shakespeare, who was so accurate in so many ways,
(for a good example see Sam Small's posting yesterday, Shk 12:1272 on
the author's depiction of character) would allow anything to enter the
text that wasn't thought out in terms of its effect on the drama.
Approaching these works with a compass and protractor may not teach us
much, other than that in art the totality can be greater than the sum of
its parts.

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 22:11:03
Subject:        Re: Time in Hamlet

W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > argues:

>But perhaps old Hamlet
>was too busy with old Fortinbras to notice that his wife was in love
>with his brother. Or, perhaps he didn't really care...

It's easy to predict that many SHAKSPEReans will respond to this,
especially the last part of it unless I misunderstood his argument...

Takashi Kozuka

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 22:22:25
Subject:        Re: Time in Hamlet

Graham Bradshaw <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > writes:

>As for the idea that Claudius is Hamlet's real father, the Branagh film
>seems to take that for granted in making Hamlet look so like his uncle
>and unlike his father.

Bradshaw-san, do you mind exploring this point a bit further? I've never
noticed before. Thanks in advance.

Takashi Kozuka

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 19:48:48 -0700
Subject: 12.1296 Re: Time in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1296 Re: Time in Hamlet

Where, exactly, in Hamlet, is there any text pointing to Claudius as
Hamlet's father?  If this has already been discussed please point me to
the archives!

Thanks,
Susan.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.