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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2154  Tuesday, 29 October 2002

[1]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 11:36:45 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2142 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

[2]     From:   John-Paul Spiro <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 01:18:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2142 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 11:36:45 +1100
Subject: 13.2142 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2142 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

>Restricted by the gender hierarchy to discursive reasoning, Gertrude can
>only think of the dead king as flesh and blood, and when that is dead,
>so is her conversation with him. It is owing to her female lack of
>higher rational faculties that Hamlet's intuitive perception (i.e. the
>ghost) absolves her of true culpability.

>Clifford Stetner

I thought that women were alleged to be especially bad at discursive
reasoning, and more inclined to intuitive perception. Just shows the
sophistry always involved in demonstrating the superiority of one group
over another.

Anna Kamaralli

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John-Paul Spiro <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 01:18:22 -0500
Subject: 13.2142 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2142 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

>Gertrude can't see the ghost because she's a woman and lacks the higher
>noetic function that similarly prevents Eve in Paradise Lost from
>directly conversing with Raphael, leaving it to Adam to act as medium of
>divine wisdom and law (see Bennett, Joan S. Reviving Liberty: Radical
>Christian humanism in Milton's Great Poems. London: Harvard U P, 1989).
>While Milton laid out his epistemological system prosaically in the Art
>of Logic, Shakespeare left only an allegorical version.

I'm quite intrigued by this line of thinking.  What exactly is the
connection between "intuitive reasoning" and seeing the ghost?  Is part
of this "higher rational faculty" an inability to understand one's
inferiors, i.e., women, in the way that Adam never quite understands Eve
and Hamlet never understands Ophelia?  Considering the fates of Adam and
Hamlet, does this higher intuitive faculty do anyone any good?  And does
this sexist epistemology supposedly allegorized in Shakespeare's works
carry through to the other plays?  Does Rosalind only have "discursive
reasoning"?  Portia?  Lady Macbeth?

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