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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: October ::
Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1956  Tuesday, 7 October 2003

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Oct 2003 12:41:19 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1909 Hamlet

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 06 Oct 2003 12:50:53 -0400
        Subj:   Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Oct 2003 12:41:19 -0400
Subject: 14.1909 Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1909 Hamlet

Saxo's version includes a test of Hamlet's sanity in which he is spied
upon while a maid is sent to him. The theory is that, if Amleth ravishes
her, it's proof he's not crazy, which Shakespeare has modified to
Polonius' theory that he's not crazy, he's just in love (as he's
modified the nature of the gift). He is warned of the plot in advance,
sleeps with the girl in hiding, and tells such an apparently unlikely
story about it, that, although the story is true, no-one believes him,
and he is still thought to be insane for having passed up his
opportunity. Nothing in Shakespeare's version (as has been discussed on
the list) necessarily suggests his awareness of a plot behind Ophelia's
visitation. The source, however, does raise the question and furthermore
suggests a motive for his denying his dalliance with her.

One of characteristics of the myth hero is concealing true statements in
apparently "whirling words." It's interesting that in Shakespeare's
version we are still trying to find the method in Hamlet's madness so
that his denial of the apparent facts does not amount to a simple
falsehood.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY
http://phoenixandturtle.net

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 06 Oct 2003 12:50:53 -0400
Subject:        Hamlet

Jay Feldman asks:

"What were Fortinbras's 'rights of memory' of 5.2?"

He's rather indirect isn't he?  There is no mention of kinship ties, so
that seems unlikely. Most likely, Fortinbras means that he sees the
opportunity for bloodless revenge. He remembers what old Hamlet did to
his father, and now he can avenge his father and gain all the land his
father lost ? and more.

In effect, Fortinbras succeeds where Hamlet fails. And the fact that
Hamlet names him as his successor suggests that Hamlet, in the end,
realizes exactly this fact.

Ed Taft

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