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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: I must to England
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0235  Tuesday, 11 February 2003

[1]     From:   Michael Shurgot <
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        Date:   Friday, 7 Feb 2003 15:21:13 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

[2]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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        Date:   Friday, 7 Feb 2003 15:32:57 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

[3]     From:   Claude Caspar <
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        Date:   Friday, 7 Feb 2003 18:41:04 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

[4]     From:   Russell MacKenzie Fehr <
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        Date:   Friday, 7 Feb 2003 23:09:16 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

[5]     From:   Ted Dykstra <
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        Date:   Saturday, 8 Feb 2003 10:18:57 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

[6]     From:   H S Toshack <
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        Date:   Sunday, 9 Feb 2003 23:13:16 +0700
        Subj:   Re:SHK 14.0228 I must to England?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Shurgot <
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Date:           Friday, 7 Feb 2003 15:21:13 -0800
Subject: 14.0228 I must to England?
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

Dear Colleagues:

Brian Willis asks what I consider an unanswerable question, which means
that it is fascinating and instructive question about how Shakespearean
theatre works. One can posit that there is in the surviving scripts (or,
if you prefer, texts), a scene missing, one in which Hamlet hears, maybe
from R & G, that he has to get out of Dodge. A better answer, I believe,
is that we are not supposed to ask such an "extra-textual" question such
as this.  Hamlet knows, somehow, "off-stage" that he has to go because
this knowledge is part of his now changed relationship with his mother.
His being sent abroad is evidence of Claudius's ability to manipulate
his court, including Hamlet, and it also tells the audience that this is
where the break in Hamlet occurs that gives the lead actor (i.e.,
Burbage) a breather.  Not perhaps very good answers; but that probably
means that Brian has asked a very good question.

Regards,
Michael Shurgot

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Friday, 7 Feb 2003 15:32:57 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.0228 I must to England?
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

To Brian Willis:

After having spied on Hamlet (and having used Ophelia as bait to do so)
with the announced intention of determining whether Hamlet's behavior is
the result of lovesickness, Claudius decides to send him to England in
3.1:

Love? his affections do not that way tend,
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little,
Was not like madness.  There's something in his soul
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood,
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger; which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
For the demand of our neglect tribute.
(3.1.161-69, Riverside ed., in Wofford's Bedford/St.Martin's ed.)

Regards,
Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Caspar <
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Date:           Friday, 7 Feb 2003 18:41:04 -0500
Subject: 14.0228 I must to England?
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

 "I must to England; you know that?"

Marvin Rosenberg, in "Masks of Hamlet," (p717) demonstrates why this
crux is vexious.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Russell MacKenzie Fehr <
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Date:           Friday, 7 Feb 2003 23:09:16 EST
Subject: 14.0228 I must to England?
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

Try the sources Shakespeare used for "Hamlet". Perhaps they could
explain why he'd go to England. (Oh course, there's also the chance that
he picked England to flee to due to the distance between it and Denmark,
which would protect him somewhat more from retribution than going to a
closer nation).

Russell MacKenzie Fehr

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ted Dykstra <
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Date:           Saturday, 8 Feb 2003 10:18:57 EST
Subject: 14.0228 I must to England?
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

We are to assume that Hamlet has been told of this plan, Claudius having
hatched the plan after seeing the scene with Ophelia.

R&G he ADDS to the plan, following the play within a play. There could
be as much as a full day's time between the first mention of England by
Claudius, and Hamlet mentioning it to his mother, or at least enough
time for the players to rehearse and perform the Mousetrap.

Ted

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           H S Toshack <
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Date:           Sunday, 9 Feb 2003 23:13:16 +0700
Subject: I must to England?
Comment:        Re:SHK 14.0228 I must to England?

Hamlet doesn't just know that he's being sent to England, he clearly
knows that there's 'knavery' planned against him. Brian's question still
stands - how can he know?

Three possibilities:
1. He can't, and this is an oversight on Shakespeare's part. The passage
is not included in the Folio, perhaps because Sh. spotted the mistake.
2. He has overheard something. What, and when? There's no evidence.
a) In production, he could be allowed to loiter on the edges of
Ophelia's 'O what a noble mind' speech (IIIi), which would allow him
also to hear what Claudius says ('he shall with speed to England') when
he and Polonius enter. (That would have other implications for what he
does and doesn't know.)
b) He could have overheard heard Claudius telling Gertrude about the
voyage (she does know, and 'had forgot'.) We can easily imagine H doing
lots of sneaking around and listening.
3. He has been told something. By whom? R and G? Only if he bumps into
them on his way to Gertrude, just after Claudius has given them their
orders in IIIiii.

Neither 2 nor 3 would explain how he knows of the knavery, however. If
in any case, Brian, they're too speculative, or raise too many other
questions, stick with 1. Few in the theatre will notice the problem.

(There's a good discussion of the issue in Philip Edwards' Introduction
to his CUP edition of the play.)

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