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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0991  Tuesday, 20 May 2003

[1]     From:   Doug Lanier <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 2003 13:09:10 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

[2]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 2003 10:13:23 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

[3]     From:   Jay Feldman <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 2003 14:49:57 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

[4]     From:   Kenneth Chan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 09:24:55 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Doug Lanier <
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Date:           Monday, 19 May 2003 13:09:10 -0400
Subject: 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

James E. Hirsh promises to offer a fuller discussion of his ideas in his
book scheduled to be published this month by Fairleigh Dickinison
Press.  The title is Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies.
Perhaps some of the issues raised in this discussion will be addressed
in it.

Sincerely,
Douglas Lanier

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Monday, 19 May 2003 10:13:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

I have viewed the "to be" speech as more of Hamlet's rebuttal of himself
and hence placed in the right spot. The "rogue and peasant slave" speech
ends with some assertion that he has a plan to catch the conscience of
the king and so some kind of impetus for moving forward. But his near
immediate return to the stage to tell us "to be or not to be, THAT is
the question" is a refutation of his previous speech and his assertion
that there are larger issues at stake for him in the play. And these
larger issues include his own conscience in play, which makes cowards of
us all, except of course for Claudius who can admit in only a few scenes
(and which reveals itself at the end of 3.1.) as easily dispensed with
if one loves the ends of action more than the cost to one's own soul.
Just one of many ways of seeing the context of this speech...

Brian Willis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jay Feldman <
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Date:           Monday, 19 May 2003 14:49:57 EDT
Subject: 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

Marcia Eppich-Harris asks: ... then why would a playwright ever bother
to make mention of it [the soliloquy] within the context of the play?

After reading Hirsh, some of Claudius' comments seem more directed at
the "To be.." speech than Hamlet's verbal abuse of Ophelia, for example:
"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..."

Sincerely,
Jay Feldman

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth Chan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 09:24:55 +0800
Subject: 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0972 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

Thank you, Marcia Eppich-Harris, for expressing something that I have
felt often, when studying Shakespeare's works. Shakespeare generally
makes his meaning clear to his audience, unless there is a very good
reason for him not to do so.

So, if Shakespeare meant the "To Be" speech purely as a means to mislead
Claudius, he would have indicated this to his audience. Also, if Hamlet
was aware that he was being spied upon at this time, Shakespeare would
also have made this clear to his audience. It would have been so easy
for Shakespeare to have done so, and, here, there is really no reason
for him to hide this from his audience.

Kenneth Chan

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