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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1004  Thursday, 22 May 2003

[1]     From:   Harry Keyishian <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 14:38:06 -0400
        Subj:   Notice for posting Conference

[2]     From:   Edward Pixley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 May 2003 08:28:16 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0991 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Keyishian <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 14:38:06 -0400
Subject:        Notice for posting Conference

Followers of the recent discussion of soliloquies on the Shakespeare
Electronic Conference may want to know of the publication this week of
the following book:

James Hirsh, Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies (Madison NJ:
Fairleigh Dickinson Press, 2003). 470 pp.

This volume provides the first systematic and comprehensive account of
the conventions governing soliloquies in Western drama from antiquity to
the twentieth century. For details, check www.aupresses.com or call 609
655-4770.

Harry Keyishian
Director, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 May 2003 08:28:16 -0400
Subject: 14.0991 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0991 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

I'm glad to find someone else who has perceived this soliloquy's
progression.  In one sense, a careful study of the soliloquies in
sequence can be used to observe the skeleton of Hamlet's action.  If one
combines them, then, with the Hamlet/Horatio dialogues (his private
thoughts combined with the thoughts expressed to his one confidant), the
skeleton becomes wonderfully fleshed out.   The next level to look at in
this analytical sequence are those thoughts expressed impulsively --
pursuing and reacting to the Ghost, the Nunnery scene, the last segments
of the Play Within The Play, parts of the Closet scene -- those moments,
in short, when "the native hue of resolution is [not] sicklied oer with
the pale cast of thought."

Thank you Brian.

Ed Pixley

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