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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: October ::
Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1909  Wednesday, 1 October 2003

[1]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 09:17:56 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

[2]     From:   Dana Wilson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 06:28:54 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

[3]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 08:49:34 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

[4]     From:   Mary Jane Miller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 12:30:43 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

[5]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 13:44:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

[6]     From:   Susan St. John <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 19:56:17 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 09:17:56 -0400
Subject: 14.1905 Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

"Why would Hamlet deny giving Ophelia some gifts if they both know that
he did so?"

I've always taken the emphasis on Hamlet's line to be on the "you": I
never gave YOU (this woman who has rejected and betrayed me) aught." But
the possibility that Hamlet is continuing his act of insanity seems
perfectly probable. I'm not convinced that he's trying to drive Ophelia
crazy; one assumes he's still in love with her, and why would one be
driven crazy by the conflicting information from a person self
designated as mad?

Annalisa Castaldo

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Wilson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 06:28:54 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1905 Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

HHG,

O, everyone of us are arrant knaves.  You can trust none.  We all have
our parts to play.
-Shak, Ham.

D-

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 08:49:34 -0700
Subject: 14.1905 Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

Helen Gordon writes:

>I've often wondered about Ophelia's reply, "My Lord, you know right well
>you did." Why would Hamlet deny giving Ophelia some gifts if they both know
>that he did so?

Dover Wilson argued that it's about the pronouns in Hamlet's previous
lines "No, not I. I never gave you ought." He suggested that the 'you'
indicates Ophelia has changed and is not the woman he once loved.
Others, especially Harold Jenkins, believe it's in the repetition of the
two I's. It's Hamlet who has changed. I think this is particularly borne
out in the later exchange "I did love you once." "Indeed, my lord, you
made me believe so."

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Jane Miller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 12:30:43 -0700
Subject: 14.1905 Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

It makes sense, if he knows he is being watched by her father- and
whether he knows that he is being watched has been discussed before in
this forum

Mary Jane

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 13:44:31 -0500
Subject: 14.1905 Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

Helen H. Gordon asks,

>I've often wondered about Ophelia's reply, "My Lord, you know right well
>you did."
>
>Why would Hamlet deny giving Ophelia some gifts if they both know that
>he did so?
>
>If Hamlet is pretending to have forgotten, yet actually does remember,
>is he just trying to drive her crazy?

My answer is probably unhelpful: nothing in this scene makes consistent
sense. From, "Nymph, in thy orisons . . .' to "O, what a noble mind" it
is a mass of contradictions and blind alleys. One would be tempted to
think that Shakespeare had completely lost control of this scene, if it
didn't make such wonderful theater. It is possible that there are
elaborate staging ideas that are (typically) not included as directions,
and I have fantasized on these in the past. But that remains
speculation.

We can assume that Hamlet is pretending to be mad, whether he knows or
suspects that he is being spied on. (It would be wise of him not to drop
his cover even if he thought they were alone, and so I assume he agrees
with me.) But it has often been pointed out, however, that as a pretense
of madness it's a flop: the king is left more suspicious than ever.

If he suspects (or knows) that Ophelia is betraying him, as well as
lying to him, what he says and does can have a generalized logic. But in
detail it is all "wild and whirling words."

Cheers,
 don

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 2003 19:56:17 -0700
Subject: 14.1905 Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1905 Hamlet

>Helen Gordon asks -
>If Hamlet is pretending to have forgotten, yet actually does remember,
>is he just trying to drive her [Ophelia] crazy?

I always thought he was purposely lying as part of his own feigned
madness.

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