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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: October ::
no spirit dares stir
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2089  Wednesday, 29 October 2003

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Oct 2003 06:14:51 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2078 no spirit dares stir

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Oct 2003 13:52:41 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 14.2078 no spirit dares stir


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Oct 2003 06:14:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.2078 no spirit dares stir
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2078 no spirit dares stir

Anthony Burton writes, "But unless I've missed a key contribution, it
seems that no one is invoking the principal witness, William
Shakespeare, that 'ghost' really does mean 'spirit' in the broadest of
theological senses and isn't just a Hollowe'en spook."

OK: you make my point after all these discussion, perfectly; and you
take the rug out from under Tom Larque's argument that *none* see the
"spirit" of Hamlet's father in ACT ONE as Caspar the Ghost.  You
*obviously* do; or are you being misread here?  Care to rephrase?

OK, as well: I do believe you have missed a *key* contribution, which is
in the SHAKSPER archives many times by now; and that is Will S's
*contribution* to the translation question of KJV and the opening ACT of
Hamlet the play.  As I have noted: in *Christology* the words "Soul,"
and "Breath," and "Spirit," and "Ghost," and "Will" find themselves
often translated by translators as synonyms: but I would remind you
*all* that they have *connotations* quite different, and inasmuch as
they are unique words, they *are* different.

Beware that various Biblical texts interchange the words according to
the translator's whim!  It might be added, beware of the exegeses of
Hamlet the play by Will S which do not take into account these
Shakespearean Age *usages* of the connotations of these words, which are
quite *different* in their readings.

So, where does *morality* come from according to Hamlet, in his various
monologues and dialogues, particularly with Horatio in ACT ONE?

His answer *IS* from the "spirit" world, from a higher calling?  From a
*meta* physical realm.  Heeding the New Testament, Will S invokes, "They
kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven."  Even Prince
Hamlet invoked this portion of the "Lord's Prayer," in his rebuke to
Horatio, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are
dreamt of in your philosophy."

In this context, the equating of the words "Soul," and "Breath," and
"Spirit," and "Ghost," and "Will" cannot be ignored!

No king was above the law, as far as Will S was concerned.  Queen
Elizabeth I ought to have seen *through* the Hamlet narrative to the
lexical theme: no king or queen was above the law and *all* will pay
with their spirits!  Jesus said: you know a tree by its fruits.  His
point?  Our acts condemn us, our words notwithstanding.  Our *acts* are
like fruit on a tree, and *define* us as individuals.  Hamlet invokes
Meta-physics.  Physics is not the total answer.  If it were, Hamlet
would have merely killed king Claudius in spiteful revenge.  Instead, he
sought the *MANDATE* of heaven, and the right of the Divine Law from on
high.  We can argue till the cows come home whether or not it was New
Testament, which I believe it was--[note Will S's nearly two thousand
Biblical referents; myriad of them from the NT].

But the point is that Hamlet's raison d'etre after his encounter with
the *spirit* of his departed father partook of a *spiritual* quality
that the rest of the characters in the play Hamlet seem to have ignored,
other than Hamlet the father and Hamlet the son and the Holy Ghost on
the battlements, the Trinity of Will S's religion, and the religion of
his queen and king!

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

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Oct 2003 13:52:41 -0500
Subject: no spirit dares stir
Comment:        SHK 14.2078 no spirit dares stir

I think we're missing the point. The Ghost in Hamlet is no gibbering
spook, but a serious contributor to the play's concerns. Its essence
lies in a wholesale involvement in repetition. It never appears, it only
re-appears: 'has this thing appeared again? . . . Look, where it comes
again'. In French (a point made by Derrida) it would be called a
'revenant'.  This constitutes the nub of its direct and unanswerable
challenge to the sort of discursive logic we inherit -one which will
always demand 'Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself'. This Ghost
wholly defeats the 'unfolding', sequential requirement of that kind of
reasoning, particularly its embodiment in the court of Claudius.

T. Hawkes

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