2002

Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2101  Friday, 18 October 2002

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 08:55:44 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamle

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 12:22:21 -0400
        Subj:   Haunted By The Ghost In Hamlet

[3]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 12:25:57 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

[4]     From:   Claude Caspar <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 12:34:48 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

[5]     From:   Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 18:30:52 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

[6]     From:   Maria Concolato Palermo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 18 Oct 2002 16:32:44 +0200
        Subj:   R: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet



[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 08:55:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

Claude Caspar quotes me, "Can someone answer the significant question:
why would an evil ghost try to spur Good?"  Then, he asks, "Is this a
hinge upon which Christianity closes in upon itself?  What Good?
Revenge?  What would Jesus say to that?"

First of all, let's make a distinction between Christianity and Jesus.

And: who said it was "Revenge" that Hamlet was seeking?  I have
maintained all along that he was attempting to ascertain whether or not
the throne had been usurped by an Evil man?

As to Jesus: do not forget that He was visited by the Devil and offered
the whole world in exchange for His Soul [my capitalizations,
throughout, again, intentionally] and told the Devil where to park his
arse.  I believe they spell it H*ll.

Secondly, Jesus appeared as a Spirit [I dare not say ghost or
apparition] walking on the waters to His disciples in a boat tossed at
sea, and we know what He said on the matter of their expressed Fear.
For those in doubt, I will refresh memories.  More anon, if queried.

Thirdly, let us stop calling it a "ghost" and call it a Spirit.

Fourthly, the Bible de jour was Elizabethan and later Jacobean (the KJV)
and all these Spiritual visitation in the OT and the NT in the English
Bible were "read aloud" [to quote the intention of King James I in
authorizing a new translation, among other reasons] in all the churches
of England.

And lastly, it is a foregone conclusion, from the above, that it was
perfectly Christian doctrine to have visitations from Spirits: some bad
aka the Devil and some good aka Jesus, and therefore I cannot follow
some of the rationalizations away from textual criticism of the Bible
itself by some invoking the text via the isolated word: "Christianity."

Let us not forget that Shakespearean scholars have isolated no less than
1300 Biblical referents in the plays of Shakespeare alone, not including
his other accepted works, for instance, the sonnets.  Will S was
well-read in the Biblical text.

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 12:22:21 -0400
Subject:        Haunted By The Ghost In Hamlet

David Bishop writes:

"The play follows Hamlet's long and winding road from the revenge
command to the eventual just, yet still partly vengeful, killing of
Claudius."

Yes. There's still room for doubt about Hamlet's damnation/salvation,
but yes, this is about as right as anyone can be about this play.

--Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 12:25:57 -0400
Subject: 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

>"A question I have been pondering along this thread is if in
>fact it was actually Banquo's ghost, or simply a figment of a maddening
>imagination--two very different things."

Since we (the audience) see Banquo's ghost (it has exits), but not the
dagger, I think we are meant to assume that the ghost is actually there.
A more interesting question, in terms of this discussion of Hamlet's
ghost, is whether or not this is meant to be an evil ghost. Macbeth is
certainly headed for Hell in Christian terms, so I suppose the ghost of
Banquo could be an evil spirit come to point that out to him. But what
has Banquo done to deserve resurrection as a force of evil?

I would also like to through another ghost, or ghosts, into the mix. In
act 5 of Richard III, both Richard and Richmond are visited by the
ghosts of everyone Richard has ever killed. Since each one of these
ghosts blesses Richmond - the future grandfather of the current monarch
- it is hard for me to believe that the audience sees them as
necessarily evil. Are they supposed to be angels instead, or does this
use of ghosts suggest that theatergoers/Christians in the 16th century
were more flexible in their perception of ghosts than we are giving them
credit for?

Annalisa Castaldo

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Caspar <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 12:34:48 -0400
Subject: 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

>>>The issue that I previously referred to is that Old Hamlet seems to be
the only Catholic in the play because he implies the reality of
Purgatory.<<<

>He doesn't say it because he's Roman Catholic, he says it because he's
been there and he knows.<

Well, he wouldn't be there if he wasn't, in life, a practicing
Catholic-non-believers could not gain access.  A sinner who went to Hell
would still "know" Heaven though he never went there, if he was a
believer in the faith.  What makes this word-play worthwhile, and it is
admittedly amusing & paradoxical to those of us who have no dog in the
hunt, is that the audience was composed partly of Catholics who could no
longer practice openly or had given up their belief one way or another.
More interestingly for the underlying meanings, the recent scholarship
on Shakespeare's Catholic associations makes every reference as
political as theological-just for starters, that his dad was a "secret"
Catholic.  As Bloom iterates Shakespeare knew personally colleagues
branded, flogged, tortured, disemboweled before being drawn & quartered
(Burgess has a riveting description of such a public punishment) ,
disgraced, let alone murdered [Marlowe?], for openly contradicting the
Church of England, i.e., King, the powers that be.  That WS could get
away with what he did, after all his thought is still shocking to us
moderns, is what makes Old Hamlet's reality important not just to
Hamlet, but to everyone in the theatre.  Imagine the emotions that went
through those seeing heresy on the stage...

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 18:30:52 +0100
Subject: 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

"Protestants were pretty unanimous in rejecting all visitations as being
from heaven. Even among Catholics, visitations by angels were considered
to be extremely rare."

I've been watching this strand for the last week or so, and the
contributors seem to have forgotten, missed, overlooked or dismissed as
irrelevant my earlier reference to Richard Field's entertaining account
(after Pico, interested readers may recall) of a perfectly orthodox
ghost. He's so orthodox, in fact, that he comes back from the dead to
tell a Pope who had "denyed the immortality of the soule" that, by his
own visible example, he was dangerously in error. The extract above was
what finally spurred me to this reiteration.

Of course I make no claims for Field's orthodoxy over Shakespeare's
(although I assume his education in Divinity was a little more
thorough), and by the same token it is perfectly possible to argue that
Field-Pico's ghost is just as much a literary or rhetorical device as
the playwright's.  But the ghost is there, whatever his function, he is
a real ghost, and his message is an orthodox one.

I won't type it out again as it's in the archive somewhere, but the full
reference is:

Richard Field,
*The Fifth Booke of the Church, Together with an Appendix, containing a
defense of such partes and passages of the former Bookes, as have bene
either excepted against, or wrested, to the maintenance of Romish
errours* (London 1610)

Chapter 51, "Of the assurance of finding out the Truth, which the
Bishops assembled in General Council have", p.404

Thanks for your patience,
m

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Maria Concolato Palermo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 18 Oct 2002 16:32:44 +0200
Subject: 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet
Comment:        R: SHK 13.2092 Re: Haunted by the Ghost in Hamlet

Sorry, but I couldn't follow the whole discussion. May be I' m only
repeating something that has already been said. David Bishop's remarks
remind me of Miriam Joseph's position on the argument where she points
out the difference between 'revenge' and 'justice'. Her observations are
forty years old, but, in my opinion, still very suggestive. Maria
Concolato

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Re: Naught's Well

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2100  Thursday, 17 October 2002

From:           Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 16:42:36 +1000
Subject: 13.2078 Re: Naught's Well
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2078 Re: Naught's Well

>>"That he fails to do so [escape the forced marriage], and that we are
>>meant to celebrate the failure, makes All's Well as repugnant to men as
>>Shrew is to women."
>[Charles Weinstein]

But not all women, or even all feminists.  Germaine Greer adores "Shrew"
and it's loads of fun to read her (really very convincing) reading
suggesting that Bianca's marriage is the model that society's
constraints most often produced (as society forced women to be deceptive
if they wished to have any control over their lives), and that Petruchio
and Katherine are looking for something better than that. It's in "The
Female Eunuch".

Not too comfortable, though, with this division of expected responses
into men and women. Shouldn't we react the same way to injustice whether
or not we share the gender of the victim?

>And yet, despite that, I would have to say that productions of Shrew
>always seem to end with a lighthearted, upbeat feeling of romance, while
>All's Well tends towards darker productions that highlight the lack of
>union and the irony of the title.
>[Annalisa Castaldo]

True on the whole, though a production is mentioned in "Is Shakespeare
Still Our Contemporary?" in which, when Katherine offers her hand on her
last line, she drops the shawl she has been holding to reveal that she
has slit her wrists, and has been bleeding to death throughout the
speech.

Anna Kamaralli

_______________________________________________________________
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Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Shakespeare Lecture, Boston College

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2098  Thursday, 17 October 2002

From:           Dennis Taylor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 16 Oct 2002 16:54:02 -0700
Subject:        Shakespeare Lecture, Boston College

Lecture next week at Boston College.

John Murphy, "Purgatory and  Wittenberg at the Court of Elsinore", Oct
23, 7:30 PM. Cushing 001, Boston College.  Murphy is a noted
Shakespearean and the author of the landmark book, 'Darkness and devils:
exorcism and King Lear.'

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Questions about "Julius Caesar"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2099  Thursday, 17 October 2002

From:           L. Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 16 Oct 2002 22:29:52 -0500
Subject:        Questions about "Julius Caesar"

My friend Tom and I return again and again to - as we see them -
problems in "Julius Caesar". In one of our differences of opinion on the
matter, Tom says that one should bring his knowledge of the historical
figures to the play, whereas I hold that the characters, however
historically named, must be defined principally by what is established
about them in the play and dressed with history only to the degree that
it underlines what is already there in the *characters'* remarks and
actions and in the remarks and actions offered by other characters about
them (the latter, of course, modified by our understanding of reasons
for the other characters' approval or disapproval of any character under
consideration).

In my way of viewing "Julius Caesar," we observe that Caesar is indeed
*called* "great," and evidently has great power already; he would be
king and now depends on the Senate to give him that absolute power.
Further, if the crowd is fickle and dangerously unsettled during
Caesar's last days, they are marvelously much worse after his death, and
a civil war breaks out in the power struggle that follows it, suggesting
that this character, as bad as he may be, has been somehow the means of
holding the country together. But Shakespeare does not show us a
character who is great in any way that suggests he should have greater
power; quite the contrary, Caesar is a crowd-pleasing, self-puffed fool,
vulnerable to flattery, greedy for power for himself rather than for the
good he might be able to perform with it.  (Is it not exactly this
characterization that makes us understand though not approve Brutus'
determination to remove him?).  Having seen what we have of this Caesar
of the play, we ask ourselves, "where is this 'great' man whom Antony
and Brutus celebrate? He is not the character we are shown here."  But,
long ago, I saw a production of the play in which Gielgud played Caesar
and showed us briefly a man possibly worthy of such praise as Antony and
Brutus give him: while delivering   "Yon Cassius hath a lean and hungry
look, etc.", and surrounded by an attentive crowd, Caesar sat leaning
back vulnerably on  a fountain ledge and delivered those lines directly
to Cassius, who stood meekly before him like a child being corrected by
an adult. Marvellously, under these public circumstances, Caesar's "but
I tell you rather what to fear than what I fear, for always I am Caesar"
established the power of the man - a point lost in the usual private
aside-delivery of those lines to an attentive Antony, as Louis Calhern's
Caesar to Marlon Brando's Antony. (Unfortunately, the Gielgud moment was
but that - merely a moment; it was not followed up with any like
interpretation in the rest of the production.)

Friend Tom maintains that although such is the picture of Caesar that
Shakespeare gives us, he also gives us a Caesar who, if considered in
his historical image is one of the greatest men who ever lived, and who,
even as only a character within the play,  is wisely aware of his
enemies ("Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look"), who properly puts
matters of state before matters concerning himself (pushing aside
Apollodorus' warning note on those grounds), and who will not be swayed
by mere begging  to alter a political judgement he has made and
considers sound (the issue of Cimber).  These notes, Tom says, are what
everyone should see, but that are ignored, because of Caesar's "unhappy
rhetoric," particularly as employed in the Senate scene. And seeing
them, we should concede that Caesar would make a effective king - or at
least not oppose that on the shallow grounds of his questionable
motives, or his arrogance as displayed in his "unhappy rhetoric."

It is evident that Shakespeare means to bring his audience to this very
point of crisis, then leave us without answers, except in the "answer"
that havoc follows the murder of Caesar - but we cannot know what might
have followed Caesar's kingship.

However those issues may be disposed, there remains for both of us the
problem of Caesar's arrogant outburst in the Senate immediately before
his murder. His "unhappy rhetoric," especially delivered as it usually
is, is of such a vitriolic nature and so full of self and so rich with
contempt for the surrounding senators, the very audience finds itself
strongly moved to join the conspirators in their stabbing him. Tom and
I  reason that there must something wrong in the usual interpretation in
the productions of this critical scene: here is a Caesar who has come to
the Senate, hoping that the senators will name him absolute king, yet
his conduct here before them is nothing like the crowd-pleasing
character we have seen before in the play; quite the contrary, for not
only does he deny their plea for the repeal of their friend's
banishment, but he delivers his refusal in the most insulting of all
possible terms ("cur...base fawning spaniels...") then arrogantly
announces his superiority to them ("if I were like you...but I am as
constant as the Northern Star...etc.").  I can only suppose that the
senators' remarks are to be made in such a way as to cause Caesar to
forget why he has come to the Senate, and to lose all control of his
persuasive, political self, showing suddenly and uncontrollably what he
would  be if he were indeed to be made absolute king - but I cannot
imagine how a director or his actors could make this clear.  On the
other hand, without *some* creative explanation in production of this
crucial scene, something as inventive here as that enlightening Gielgud
presentation of the earlier scene, this scene remains a puzzle, for we
have never seen a Caesar quite like this in the play up to this point,
nor do his hopes, dependent as they are on the good will of the
senators, make such a reaction at all likely.

Your comments are solicited - especially if you have seen a production
in which these usually missing values have been present.

            L. Swilley


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S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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RORD Deadlines Extension

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2097  Thursday, 17 October 2002

From:           Peter Greenfield <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 16 Oct 2002 14:31:16 -0700
Subject:        RORD Deadlines Extension

With apologies for cross-posting:


Since I took over from David Bergeron as editor of Research
Opportunities in Renaissance Drama (RORD), the journal has not been
published until midsummer (rather than earlier in the year). It appears
this will be the case for the foreseeable future, so I wanted to let
potential contributors know that submission deadlines are being set back
accordingly.  Articles should reach me by December 15 to be considered
for publication the next summer. (RORD publishes articles on medieval
and non-Shakespearean Renaissance drama, especially those concerned with
theatre history, textual editing and other research topics, rather than
with critical readings of plays. Articles which open up research
opportunities, in addition to presenting the results of research, are
particularly welcome. Electronic submission is encouraged.) There is
still room in the 2003 issue for additional material.

Reports/reviews for the censuses of medieval and Renaissance dramatic
productions should reach me by January 15 for the next summer's issue. I
regret to announce that Elizabeth Schafer is not able to continue her
wonderful work on the Renaissance census. Reports for that census should
be sent to me (preferably electronically) until a successor is
identified. Contents of previous issues and subscription information can
be found on the RORD web site:
http://www.ups.edu/faculty/greenfield/rord.html

         Peter Greenfield, editor, RORD
         Department of English, CMB 1045
         University of Puget Sound
         Tacoma, WA 98416-1045

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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