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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: October ::
no spirit dares stir
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1966  Wednesday, 8 October 2003

[1]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Oct 2003 00:20:19 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1957 no spirit dares stir

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Oct 2003 08:21:11 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 14.1957 no spirit dares stir


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Wednesday, 8 Oct 2003 00:20:19 +0100
Subject: 14.1957 no spirit dares stir
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1957 no spirit dares stir

Re: Bill's rather emotive response:

"OK: where is the *GHOST* in all this descriptive detail?  No where to
be heard, not by any member of the Elizabethan audience!  The members of
the Elizabethan audience did *NOT* read nor did they have the benefit of
stage directions!!  Period!!!"

(1) We don't know that the play wasn't read - certainly it may have been
at least once by at least one audience member prior to one performance -
ref. the sequence of different published Hamlet 'Q' texts which are
extant and may have been read and accessible prior to their performance
(I won't argue the order here).

For an aside on the debate on Elizabethan 'reading' see the
'Shakespeare's First Serious critic' thread here on SHAKSPER and perhaps
even consider the Troublesome Reign thread - e.g it is enough that
*some* Elizabethans had access to written scripts in order that we may
debate the in-depth details of textual interpretation. (i.e. do we not
think Shakespeare *read* some of the texts he rewrote before rewriting
them?)

(2) Question: How does a parallel between the scene of Christ's
resurrection and the possible 'resurrection' of Hamlet's father as a
'spirit' or (SD: 'Ghost') invalidate the idea that the Elizabethan
audience *saw* a 'ghost' and that their conception of such a thing (be
it a *spirit* or not) could be conflated / confused / ambiguous with
their conception of 'ghosts'? On this I suggest a reading of Nashe's
'Terrors of the Night' - a standard handbook to the deeply superstitious
as well as confused Elizabethan outlook on the realm of the undead /
unearthly / ghostly / apparitions / spirits etc. Or for another example
compare the use of the word demons / spirits in early Shakespeare /
Marlowe - each use is subtly different.

(3) Nashe is often taken in his preface to Greene's Menaphon as looking
down on the 'famished followers [of]...Kyd' who so often confuse in
their rhetoric the exactitudes of the poetic canon or conventions of
classical and religious law - thrusting 'elysium into hell' and such
like ('handfuls of tragical speeches' etc) Given that 'Hamlet' has
rarely been seen by critics as a play without contradiction, in this
regard it may be better to consider the possible ambiguities the text
had to an audience rather than deciding on exactly *how* an Elizabethan
audience *would have* seen the text's allusions to Religion and
Mythology.

Cheers,
Marcus

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Wednesday, 8 Oct 2003 08:21:11 +0100
Subject: no spirit dares stir
Comment:        SHK 14.1957 no spirit dares stir

Clearly the *author* Will A is ALLUDING with his words to the KJV, Acts,
C12 V23, "and he was eaten of [politic?] worms, and gave up the GHOST."

m

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