"To be" as Set-Speech (was The Supernatural and
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1893 Friday, 13 September 2002
From: Steve Roth <
Date: Thursday, 12 Sep 2002 08:38:31 -0700
Subject: "To be" as Set-Speech (was The Supernatural and Modernity)
>>this soliloquy is in fact an "utterly impersonal," feigned
>>set-speech, put on for the benefit of Claudius and Polonius lurking
>>behind the arras. http://www.brunel.ac.uk/faculty/arts/EnterText/hamlet/hirsh.pdf
>Fascinating notion and on the face of it, persuasive. Have you (or
>anyone else on list) ever seen the scene played this way, and if so, how
>do you think it worked?
The closest I've seen was Branagh's, which ambiguously suggests that
Hamlet knows/suspects they're behind the mirror. But he plays it
threatening, which is quite the opposite of Hirsh's notion that Hamlet's
waging a disinformation campaign to lull Claudius into a false sense of
security. (One aspect Hirsh doesn't mention: Hamlet actually suggests
that he might solve Claudius' problem for him, "with a bare bodkin."
Claudius could draw a laugh here with a look to Polonius of optimistic
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