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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: Major Clerical Characters
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1984  Thursday, 26 September 2002

[1]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Sep 2002 11:25:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1972 Re: Major Clerical Characters

[2]     From:   Michael Shurgot <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Sep 2002 10:39:24 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.1972 Re: Major Clerical Characters

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Sep 2002 17:55:43 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.1943 Re: Major Clerical Characters


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Sep 2002 11:25:17 -0500
Subject: 13.1972 Re: Major Clerical Characters
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1972 Re: Major Clerical Characters

>and confused  R A Cantrell

Again, not I said the Rooster. I must clipping bits out of postings
errantly so that it appears that your comments on my comments on his
comments are my comments on his comments on your comments.

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<
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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Shurgot <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Sep 2002 10:39:24 -0700
Subject: 13.1972 Re: Major Clerical Characters
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1972 Re: Major Clerical Characters

Dear Colleagues:

Yes, as Prof. Cantrell observes, Hamlet's "supposed" time predates
Martin Luther's writings. But certainly Shakespeare's spectators
post-date ML, and as R. G. Hunter has superbly argued in Sh & The
Mystery of God's Judgment, the Catholic/Protestant conflict in dogma
about ghosts, purgatory, predestination, free will, grace, the
possibility of forgiveness, etc., etc., are paramount to understanding
how WS created a right fine tragedy out of early 17th century
intellectual, theological, and political debate.

I arrive late on the issues of this post, so please pardon any
redundancy or irrelevance in my remarks. Hunter's book and his
compelling arguments have become essential to my teaching and
understanding (or attempt thereof) of Hamlet, but I realize that this is
only one perspective on the play, and it is one that others may see as
irrelevant.

Autumn cheers,
Michael Shurgot

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Sep 2002 17:55:43 -0400
Subject: 13.1943 Re: Major Clerical Characters
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1943 Re: Major Clerical Characters

(And Hamlet, as no other play of Shakespeare's does, actually suggests
the truth of a specifically RC doctrine.)

What doctrine? It's no accident that our thoughtful, philosophical hero,
Hamlet, that ponderous righter of family wrongs, is a student at
Wittenburg any more than it's mere coincidence that Laertes' goal was
Paris, place of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of Huguenots by
Catholics. Don't let the time or place fool you. Every day was an
English day in Shakespeare's time no matter when it was.

Like Friar Laurance in Romeo and Juliet, Laertes talks a very good game.
To hear him tell it, HE's the action hero our Hamlet isn't, the man who
rushes home to avenge his father's murder (although he doesn't rush back
soon enough to be any comfort to his desperate sister) merely pausing to
recruit an ARMY. Vengeance or coup, you might ask. He's the one who
wouldn't hesitate to risk his immortal soul by killing Hamlet in church,
but who immediately forgets and forgives when faced with that reality.
He also, at that moment, rats out Claudius, who, so far as he knows, is
innocent of anything but wanting to eliminate the threat of his psycho
nephew. Claudius "compounded" the poison that envenomed the sword's tip,
but Laertes knowingly used it. Thus died out Hamlet's lineage, root and
branch. Friar Laurance was action of another kind, the trustworthy
conciliator, the man of peace and bringing together whose every loving
action created more dissension until the people he was trying to help
were dead. Romeo and Juliet (and possibly Paris) were only children so
far as we know. Their ancient families died with them.

Perhaps William Shakespeare noticed that the Catholics of his day talked
a good, persuasive game but delivered death every time.

In the Shakespeare Law Library link provided by H. David Friedberg,
http://www.sourcetext.com/lawlibrary/guernsey/00.htm it seems that the
suicide case Shakespeare used was that of a Protestant hounded into
death by Catholic persecution, then further abused after death by
hypocritical Catholic greed. Is there another way to see it?

People keep trying to sell me on Shakespeare's Catholic sympathies. All
I see is a man who knew them well, likely loved some of them very well,
had heard all their arguments, and didn't trust them an inch, not to run
their own lives or the nation's.

Osric: Of Laertes?

Horatio: His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.

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