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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Re: Pregnant Gertrude
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0088  Wednesday, 16 January 2002

[1]     From:   Markus Marti <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Jan 2002 17:19:38 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0083 Pregnant Hamlet

[2]     From:   Pete Wilson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Jan 2002 08:27:05 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0083 Pregnant Gertrude? Wait a minute!

[3]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jan 2002 11:06:21 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0061 Re: Pregnant Gertrude


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Markus Marti <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Jan 2002 17:19:38 +0100
Subject: 13.0083 Pregnant Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0083 Pregnant Hamlet

We have sex-blind, colour-blind, age-blind and even utterly blind
castings for the hard of hearing. Why not have a pregnancy-blind
casting, too?  Why should a modern audience pay attention to an actor's
state of mind or body? How should we (in the audience) know that we have
to read such bodily idiosyncrasies as relevant signs? How do we know
whether it is only an actress who happens to be pregnant (or drunk or
otherwise indisposed) or whether it is the actual Ghost or Gertrude?
(Unless this is after an Annunciation scene or a drinking scene, of
course...) I have nothing against a pregnant Hamlet, Rosencrantz,
Gertrude or Claudius, as long as they show their pregnancy by wearing a
cushion or something under their shirt, harness or dress. Very
interesting! Food for thought! But a Gertrude in her second or third
month of pregnancy at the beginning of the production and the same
Gertrude actually giving birth to Hamlet's brother or sister behind the
stage in one of the performances six or seven months later? Well, well.
I would just ignore it, as I would ignore Polonius's cough, if the actor
happens to have a cold.

Congratulations, nevertheless!
Markus Marti

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pete Wilson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Jan 2002 08:27:05 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0083 Pregnant Gertrude? Wait a minute!
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0083 Pregnant Gertrude? Wait a minute!

Louis Swilley <
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 >:

> Aren't we forgetting the original message?  The actress who is
> to play Gertrude is *visibly* pregnant, so granting the brief
> time between the death of Old Hamlet and Gertrude's marriage
> to Claudius, the child can't be Claudius'.

What? You haven't you heard the latest dirt? Whoo-hoo! Then listen to
this: Claudius took out the King, and when he did, 'cuz Gertrude had
just clued him in a few days before. He wouldn't have acted and risked
so otherwise, would have been perfectly happy and content with things as
they were.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jan 2002 11:06:21 +1100
Subject: 13.0061 Re: Pregnant Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0061 Re: Pregnant Gertrude

You are quite right that there was no incontrovertible law of
primogeniture for the monarchy at this time, either in England or
Shakespeare's fictitious Denmark: if there was Hamlet would have
precedence over the baby as, in the eyes of the law and the public, it
would be the child of old Hamlet.

The person with the most influence over the succession, however, was the
reigning monarch, and we saw in _Macbeth_ to what lengths they will go
to ensure no one else's son gets a look in.

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