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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Hamlet (Once More)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0472  Tuesday, 19 February 2002

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Feb 2002 10:37:53 -0500
        Subj:   Hamlet (Once More)

[2]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Feb 2002 09:38:43 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0455 Re: Hamlet (Once More)

[3]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Feb 2002 08:41:25 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0455 Re: Hamlet (Once More)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Feb 2002 10:37:53 -0500
Subject:        Hamlet (Once More)

Sean,

The Medieval sin of "presumption" substitutes the sinner's will for
God's: that's why it's a sin. At the end of _Hamlet_, I think that
testing Providence is an attempt by Hamlet to find out God's Will -- the
opposite of the sin in question.  Moreover, what is Hamlet to do? If
he's not sure of God's Will in the matter of revenge (and that's what I
think is the case), then he's got to try and find out what it is, right?

--Ed

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Feb 2002 09:38:43 -0600
Subject: 13.0455 Re: Hamlet (Once More)
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0455 Re: Hamlet (Once More)

> American standards of the past three decades.

You guys are killing me, puhleaze. . .

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<
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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Feb 2002 08:41:25 -0800
Subject: 13.0455 Re: Hamlet (Once More)
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0455 Re: Hamlet (Once More)

'tis common for people to write as if Shakespeare knew Machiavelli's
*The Prince* directly.  Hard to find anybody who questions that these
days.

Virgil Whittaker wrote, *Shakespeare's most interesting reflection of
contemporary political thought is, however, his apparent identification
of Richard III with the machiavel of contemporary drama.  The stage
Machiavelli derived, of course, not from Machiavelli's *The Prince* but
from Gentillet's *Discours...Contre Nicholas Machiavel Florentin.*  This
work excerpted Machiavelli's more sensational principles quite unfairly
and blamed upon him all possible sins... It is very unlikely Shakespeare
knew Machiavelli or even Gentillet directly... there is no evidence that
knowledge of Machiavelli, as opposed to the popular caricature, was
widespread... Simon Patrick's version of Gentillet, although it
dedication is dated 1577, was not printed until 1602.  Actually, there
is nothing in Shakespeare's portrait of Richard that cannot be
paralleled in earlier stage machiavels, especially Barabas in *The Jew
of Malta,* and there is very little that does not appear in the source.*

Whittaker, Virgil K., *Shakespeare's Use of Learning: An Inquiry into
the Growth of his Mind and Art.* (San Marino: The Huntington Library,
1953.  76 & 77.)

Has Whittaker been proven wrong, or are we, including some recent posts,
over emphasizing Machiavelli?

Mike Jensen

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