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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Hamlet and Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0852  Wednesday, 7 May 2003

From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Friday, 2 May 2003 08:02:29 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.0845 Re: Hamlet and Belleforest's Histoires
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0845 Re: Hamlet and Belleforest's Histoires
Tragiques (1576)

Elliott H. Stone writes, "I have attended two trials in recent years
both presided over by United States Supreme Court Associate Justice
Anthony Kennedy on the Question of 'whether Hamlet was insane or just
feigning madness when he killed Polonius'.  Each trial had as expert
witnesses the most eminent forensic psychiatrists in all of America, had
trial attorneys the most experienced that the Bar Associations could
find and juries selected of the leading men and woman residing in Boston
and the District of Columbia. All the participants had spent a great
deal of time in close study of the text. In both cases the juries found
that Hamlet was feigning madness and would not be able to plead insanity
as a defense in his trial. It was quite clear that in both trials
evidence was given that Hamlet fitted the exact definition of an
individual suffering from a bipolar illness as clearly set forth in the
most modern textbook of diagnostic analysis."

Interesting, but no cigar.

Again, I say to the SHAKSPER list, read Grebanier.  His revelation of
Will Shakespeare's indebtedness to Belleforest's HT is astounding!  I am
almost finished with my reading of Grebanier after four decades, and my
memory served me well.  If anything it has reestablished in my mind the
thought that Shakespeare was more the genius for this play than anything
else he put pen to: namely, it IS a play about the human mind!  If you
want madness, you have Ophelia.  If you want deception, you have
Polonius.  If you want an accomplice, you have Gertrude.  If you want an
early Macbeth, and daggers before his eyes, you have Claudius.

If you want Reason, you have Hamlet.

And if you want Genius, you have Shakespeare, and Grebanier, as the
scholar who best understood Hamlet, "The Play Shakespeare Wrote."

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

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