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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: July ::
Re: The Return of Pregnant Gertrude
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1622  Thursday, 11 July 2002

From:           H David Friedberg <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Jul 2002 15:49:20 -0400
Subject: 13.1596 The Return of Pregnant Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1596 The Return of Pregnant Gertrude

I liked the idea of a preggy Gerty very well, and wonder how it played

Shakespeare left much ambiguous in his plays either with subtle meaning
as Empson thought, or simply to avoid the Master of the Revels.
Gertude's sexuality is one of those things.  Few of his women are
adulteresses, but I have always believed her guilty.  The Ghost charges
Claudius with adultery and incest, tho not specifically his widow.
However it takes two to tango

An eight month pregnant Queen, as Ivan Fuller plays it is a bit too
obvious, the Court will leap to conclusions long before; the Ghost is
then not needed to spill the beans about the secret murder

Did the discovery of the adultery, as Updike supposes in his Gertrude
and Claudius (Knopf 2000) provoke Claudius to strike for the throne at
that moment? Was he in love with Gertrude, and was he a capable leader,
are all questions that are not answered by WS but as Browne said, are
not beyond all conjecture

H David Friedberg

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