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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: October ::
no spirit dares stir
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1939  Friday, 3 October 2003

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Oct 2003 06:46:42 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1923 no spirit dares stir [spirit vs. ghost]

[2]     From:   Bob Linn <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Oct 2003 14:07:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1923 no spirit dares stir


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Oct 2003 06:46:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1923 no spirit dares stir [spirit vs. ghost]
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1923 no spirit dares stir [spirit vs. ghost]

Dana Wilson writes, "I suggest that a 'sensible ghost' is more than a
mote of trouble for a sensible eye, to say nothing of aethyreal ghost."

Excuse me?  Who said anything about "ghost"?  Not Horatio!

The characters in Hamlet in the opening scene refer to the visitor which
does *not* speak as "this thing," as "this dreaded sight," as an
"apparition," as "In the same figure, like the king that's / dead," as
"Our last king, / Whose image even but now appear'd to us," as "this
portentous figure," as "illusion," as "you spirits oft walk in death,"
as "so majestical," as "it is, as the air, invulnerable," as "The
extravagant and erring spirit," as "This spirit, dumb to us."  Not once,
not *even* once by the characters of Will S's Hamlet, is this vision
called a ghost!

It is the directorial insertions by later editors, as I do understand
Shakespearean scholars, which refer to the "spirit" as "GHOST."

So, if we focus on the words of Will S, what have we?

We have a spirit, known to look like the dead King, and surrounded with
literary allusions to New Testament events connected with the passion
cycle of the "Saviour" of the author of the play.  The question ought to
be: *WHY*?

There is incredible irony in Hamlet.  It is even more so when we
consider where Will S is taking us as readers and members of an audience
with his literary allusions to the New Testament "Saviour" he embraced
in these opening scenes with this spirit which dares stir.  It is the
same spirit which Will S invoked in his Last Will and Testament.

Do we doubt the sanity of those who saw the spirit?  Do we doubt all the
servants of the castle, including Horatio?  No!  Thus, we cannot doubt
Hamlet.  So, let us *NOT* forget that the literary allusion to the death
and resurrection scenes of the New Testament carry weight with the play
by comparison.  The question of doubt of the risen "Saviour" created the
famous Doubting Thomas, as a key figure in the New Testament.  The
"Saviour" dared stir as a spirit from the tomb when the stone was rolled
away.  Many saw him, reported they saw him, even on the road to Galilee,
going home, literally.  So, why should we be surprised by the spirit of
the dead King Hamlet coming home and being seen in the same *light* and
reported by numerous characters in the opening scenes of the play
Hamlet?  Blame it on Will S if you have trouble with the literary
allusions to the New Testament "Saviour."  They are there and not to be
denied.  It becomes us as Shaespeareans to wonder why?

Does the spirit which dares stir of the dead King Hamlet echo the dead
*King* Jesus?  One is the *Father* of the play and the other is the
*Master* of the New Testament.  The servants and Horatio and young
Hamlet are paralleled by the disciples and followers of the "Saviour."
It is because of the literary allusions that we focus on the *spirit*
and not the *GHOST* referents in the play.  I argue that the word ghost
was an intrusion and has clouded the word "spirit" and its meaning to
the play and its interpretation.  Thus, the spirit of the "goodman" who
was wrongfully killed by his brother Claudius *dares stir* and proves
the validity of the spirit surviving the body after death, and that is
part-and-parcel of the theme of Hamlet and needs to be addressed in
exegeses of the play.  If you have any qualms about this: blame it on
Will S.

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Linn <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Oct 2003 14:07:21 -0400
Subject: 14.1923 no spirit dares stir
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1923 no spirit dares stir

In discussing the murder of Old Hamler, Bill Arnold says.

"It is Will S's referent to this chapter of the New Testament by the
words of Horatio which makes this compelling.  There is irony in the
deed done by Cladius of pouring poison into the sleeping ear of his
brother in his closet aka bedroom, and this passage of deeds done in
"darkness shall be heard in the light...in the ear in closets shall be
proclaimed upon the housetops."  Do I think that Will S wanted us as
audience members to be aware of this passage?  Well, my answer is yes!"

I believe Ophelia was accosted by Hamlet in her "closet." Later Hamlet
goes to see his mother in her "closet."  But, the Ghost clearly says
that he was "Sleeping within my orchard --" when Claudius killed him.
This fact seems to hurt the analysis that Arnold offers.  Maybe we
better think about snakes in gardens.

Bob Linn

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