The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2448 Tuesday, 30 December 2003
From: Dana Wilson <
Date: Monday, 29 Dec 2003 10:37:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Psychology of Gertrude
I have been thinking about the scene in Gertrude's chamber when Polonius
Hamlet holds two miniatures out for G and asks her how any mind can fail
to discriminate the beautiful from the ugly.
I think this is relevant because it seems to me that FA Crits have a lot
of trouble *talking* about the beautiful, and even the old saw "I know
it when I see it" is broke.
In the case of G, I think she probably feared for her life, and felt
compelled to marry Claudius.
Psychologists tell us that compulsion creates a disassociated state in
which we feel the need to create rationalizations to hide our own
humiliation. It is obvious to me that it is compulsion which has broken
G's discrimination. What excuse can the rest of us make?
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