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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: October ::
Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1921  Thursday, 2 October 2003

[1]     From:   Rolland Banker <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Oct 2003 05:02:15 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1888 Hamlet [and aught] just a thot!

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 01 Oct 2003 11:27:37 -0400
        Subj:   Hamlet

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 01 Oct 2003 16:01:23 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1909 Hamlet

[4]     From:   Helen H. Gordon <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Oct 2003 22:30:32 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1909 Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rolland Banker <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Oct 2003 05:02:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1888 Hamlet [and aught] just a thot!
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1888 Hamlet [and aught] just a thot!

 Helen H. Gordon, Your question about Ophelia's response to Hamlet's:

"No, not I; I never gave you aught." Hamlet
III.1.97-98

Raises a question for me to scholars on SHAKSPER and perhaps introduces
a revolutionary new bit of stagecraft for a future Hamlet (if it has not
already been done). It's far-fetched and somewhat overwrought, but here
goes.

Could Ophelia be holding in her hand a number of different items/bundles
(as someone here also suggested also the picture of his father), "I have
remembrances" and Hamlet as he answers be silently & quickly counting
the "aught"(Scot: eight) items?  And with a withering hurt male
pride(over Ophelia's Biblical overloyal-irrational and
self-destructive-overlove for daddy/Polonius/Jephthah) be invoking the
quantitative meaning and the other Scot.  aught meaning of to be
obligated to, with his answer? As well as the colloquial aught as
noun-meaning: anything whatever?

To say that at up until that moment Hamlet had given all his love and
remembrances to Ophelia freely and without obligation. Sensitive lover
that he is, he just loses it after he senses Ophelia's shift in loyalty
and denial (lying to him/herself) of her own real feelings for Hamlet.
She chooses a religious obedience to her father like Jephthah's
daughter--hence Hamlet's,

"Get thee to a nunnery." If that is what you want.

"Blown youth Blasted with ecstasy" says Ophelia. That just about sums up
the scene for me.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Wednesday, 01 Oct 2003 11:27:37 -0400
Subject:        Hamlet

Don Bloom writes of 3.1: "nothing in this scene makes consistent sense."

That's right, and that's true of more than one scene in _Hamlet_.

For example, just before Hamlet meets Ophelia in 3.1, he seems to say in
soliloquy that he has decided against action -- that is, against
revenge. Yet the scene itself has often been read as Hamlet's attempt to
tell Ophelia to "get out of Dodge" - "get thee to a nunnery" -
presumably because he IS going to take revenge against Claudius.

Is there any way to make sense of this -- and of so much more - in
_Hamlet_ -- Perhaps. What if the encounter with the Ghost has left
Hamlet a divided man? What if he feels emotionally compelled to believe
That the ghost is his father, but, at the same time, he is
intellectually doubtful?

If this hypothesis is correct, then throughout the play, Hamlet's words
and actions would often point in opposite directions, leaving us
confused about what he is really thinking and what he really intends to
do. I'd submit that that is what happens over and over again from 1.5
on.

Perhaps Hamlet wants to drive Ophelia crazy, but it is also likely that
the Ghost is driving Hamlet crazy. To put it differently, what the Ghost
does to Hamlet, Hamlet does to Ophelia -- whether he intends to do it or
not!

Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 01 Oct 2003 16:01:23 -0400
Subject: 14.1909 Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1909 Hamlet

I don't put too much freight on Hamlet's "I never gave you aught."  I
have always understand this to be nothing more than a gracious way to
reject the proffered return of his gifts, much as we would say "it's
nothing," or "they're trifles," or "forget about it."  Ophelia, simple
creature that she is, takes this to be a symptom of madness.

I am far more interested in Ophelia's statement at the end of this
speech: "for to the noble mind/ Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove
unkind."  I think that is one of the crucial moments of the play.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen H. Gordon <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Oct 2003 22:30:32 -0700
Subject: 14.1909 Hamlet
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1909 Hamlet

Thank you all.  These are very helpful comments.

HHG

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