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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2060  Friday, 11 October 2002

[1]     From:   Chris Whatmore <
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        Date:   Thursday, 10 Oct 2002 17:54:43 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

[2]     From:   William Babula <
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        Date:   Thursday, 10 Oct 2002 10:58:16 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 10 Oct 2002 21:51:23 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Whatmore <
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Date:           Thursday, 10 Oct 2002 17:54:43 +0100
Subject: 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

Martin Steward writes,

>A concordance would no doubt reveal "God"
>to be of central concern to WS in the plays. Even His putative absence
>(in King Lear, say) is remarkable only in terms of His ubiquity
>elsewhere.

I actually had occasion recently to check the occurrences of 'God'
throughout the canon. The biggest surprise for me was that Much Ado is
one of the highest scorers with around 60 instances - more than twice as
many as any other comedy and indeed more than any other play bar R3
(although 1H4 and H5 run it close). Our heroes (and Hero) can hardly
open their mouths without invoking the deity, while Dogberry is the very
preacher in his enthusiasm for the "gifts that God gives". In fact,
every major character mentions God at least once, with the interesting
exception of the Friar! The bad guys, naturally, fare less well: Don
John manages 'God' only once, hollowly, as he lies to Claudio about his
bride-to-be, while Borachio can only muster a reference to the heathen
'god Bel'. I guess all this piety is not out of place in a play that
ends with the raising of the dead; the twist, of course, with the
'God-less' Friar engineering it all, is that it is ultimately a very
human miracle. In this, Much Ado seems to look forward to the late
plays, where I absolutely agree with David Bishop that "Shakespeare
seems to be showing Christian values emerging from human nature, or
nature, rather than from God's commandment or the fear of damnation."

Chris Whatmore

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Babula <
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Date:           Thursday, 10 Oct 2002 10:58:16 -0700
Subject: 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

There are numerous references to "God" in HENRY V including "The Lord in
heaven," and "Jesu Christ." And see V,i, 294-311 for Henry's prayer to
God not to think that day on the murder of Richard.

Bill Babula

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 10 Oct 2002 21:51:23 -0400
Subject: 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2047 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

>I have previously commented that for a body of work so rife with
>anachronisms, there are remarkably few religious anachronisms in the
>plays.  The most obvious is Polixenes' apparent reference to Judas
>Iscariot in WT, the same play in which the god Jupiter actually appears
>on stage as a character.

I wrote this in the wee hours of the morning.  Of course, Jupiter
appears on stage in Cym , not WT.  But Apollo appears in WT via a
precise, unambiguous, judgment of his oracle.  The point is the same.

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