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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Hamlet and Belleforest
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1014  Friday, 23 May 2003

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 22 May 2003 11:02:55 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1006 Re: Hamlet and Belleforest

[2]     From:   Chris Ferns <
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        Date:   Thursday, 22 May 2003 16:39:55 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0946 Re: Hamlet and Belleforest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 22 May 2003 11:02:55 -0300
Subject: 14.1006 Re: Hamlet and Belleforest
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1006 Re: Hamlet and Belleforest

Larry Weiss writes,

>The audience certainly gets that (at least subliminally) from
>being told that Laertes has been in Paris sufficiently long to have
>possibly picked up some bad habits.

On the whole, I think that you're right, but nothing says that Laertes
has to have been in Paris long enough to have "possibly picked up some
bad habits".  He might just be over-indulging in frosh-week activities.

Yours,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Ferns <
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Date:           Thursday, 22 May 2003 16:39:55 -0300
Subject: 14.0946 Re: Hamlet and Belleforest
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0946 Re: Hamlet and Belleforest

>In fact, it seems to me that Ophelia's report of Hamlet's visit to
>her (2.79-102) strongly suggests that Hamlet either was mad or, more
>likely, was pretending to be mad when he 'appeared" to her in the likeness
>of a ghost from hell. According to Ophelia, Hamlet came before her,
>
>         "Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
>         And with a look so piteous in purport
>         As if he had been loosed out of hell
>         To speak of horrors. . . ."  (83-86).

Rather than imitating the Ghost (or his reaction to it), isn't Hamlet
simply following the conventional script for heartsick lovers which
Rosalind mockingly describes in As You Like It - likely written the
previous year?

"A lean cheek . . . a blue eye and sunken . . . an unquestionable spirit
. . .Then your hose should be ungartered, your bonnet unbanded, your
shoe untied, and everything about you demonstrating a careless
desolation."

And Polonius, always prone to take convention at face value, falls for
the performance hook, line, and sinker ("This is the very ecstasy of
love"). Given Polonius' approval of Hamlet's performance of the
over-the-top rhetoric of "The rugged Pyrrhus" speech, it would seem that
Hamlet was in fact judging his intended audience rather well.

Chris Ferns
Mount Saint Vincent University

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