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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
no spirit dares stir
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1867  Friday, 26 September 2003

[1]     From:   Edward Brown <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 08:46:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1852 no spirit dares stir

[2]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 06:37:13 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1855 no spirit dares stir

[3]     From:   Steve Roth <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 09:21:16 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1855 no spirit dares stir


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Brown <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 08:46:31 -0400
Subject: 14.1852 no spirit dares stir
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1852 no spirit dares stir

Thank you so much Tony Burton!

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 06:37:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1855 no spirit dares stir
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1855 no spirit dares stir

Tony Burton writes, "It may be wintry cold, but the references all point
out the contrast to, not the identity with, Christmas day as the time of
the play's opening."

Carol Barton writes, "Nothing says it IS the "season . . . wherein our
Saviour's birth is celebrated," Bill: they are merely commenting about
WHEN Christmas comes, so there's nothing unusual in that sense about
this particular spirit stirring...."

Jay Feldman writes, "I certainly agree with Tony's opinion about it not
being near Christmas Day."

Excuse me?  Reread the "words" I quoted.  They are "words" written in
*English* by Will S and you all would deny the words?  Who said anything
about Christmas?  Not me.

OK: accept that Will S is the world's *greatest* dramatist, and he opens
his drama with a *HOOK* as we mystery writers are wont to say.  The
*HOOK* is a chilling premise, or intellectual idea posited with the
audience.  The *hook* which Will S instills in the audience is an
*other-worldly* spiritual event which must be resolved by the
flesh-and-blood actions of the characters in the play.

Twice, the spirit comes and goes, does *not* speak.  Then in the spirit
of the classic *thrice* the cock crows: cumulatively, the spirit comes
and goes twice, and then on the nonce of the third time, the cock crows!

It is Will S who through his *words* invokes "the Saviour."  And the
Saviour *said* of his betrayal before the cock crows--that is, before
the *light* of day--he would be betrayed, by one of his own!  The
audience is whetted with the idea that something is *rotten* in Denmark
in *front* of an English audience steeped in the Bible!  Something
horrible has happened *before* the opening of the play.

To be precise, we note, from the KJV, Matthew, C 26, V 34, "Jesus said
unto him, 'Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock
crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.'"  And: V's 40-41, "And he cometh unto
the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, 'What,
could ye not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray, that ye enter not
into temptation: the spirit indeed *is* willing, but the flesh *is*
weak.'"

That word *watch* is echoed loudly in the opening scenes of Hamlet!  The
parallels between this *betrayal* passage of the spirit of the Saviour
by a Judas figure, one of his own men, and the spirit of Hamlet's
father, and Hamlet as the *spiritual* embodiment of the Father, are
self-evident.  Is Claudius a Judas figure?  "Mark" them, to echo the
Ghost of Hamlet's father's own words!

This is *dramatic" structural events unfolding!  And the hero of the
play, Hamlet, is being presaged as the white *Knight* on horseback or
the spiritual "Saviour" who will enter the stage at the *behest* of the
spirit of his father, and Horatio!  And for Doubting-Thomases, I would
remind you all that I am focused on the opening scene of the play Hamlet
and *not* the death and resurrection scenes of the New Testament.  If
some readers accept the parallels, then blame it on Will S.  We note,
for the record, that the father of Hamlet has been *resurrected* and the
parallels deemed invoked by Will S.

How can you deny the facts of Hamlet, the play?  It is Will S, who was
writing to and for an English audience, who created this *hook* opening,
not me.

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

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 Sep 2003 09:21:16 -0700
Subject: 14.1855 no spirit dares stir
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1855 no spirit dares stir

Regarding the "season . . . wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,"
some might be interested in the following  inordinately long footnote
from a piece of mine.

http://www.shu.ac.uk/emls/07-3/2RothHam.htm#fn13

I've broken it out into paragraphs for (slightly) easier reading.

13. There is a fairly close parallel to Marcellus' language in a
sixteenth-century treatise on holiday practices, here discussing Twelfth
Night/Epiphany: "And rounde about the house they go, with torch or taper
clere,/That neither bread nor meat do want, nor witch with dreadful
charm,/Have powre to hurt their children, or to do their cattell harme."
Popular and Popish Superstitions and Customs On Saints'-Days and
Holy-Days in Germany and Other Papist Lands A. D. 1553, Being the Fourth
Booke of "The Popish Kingdome, or reigne of Anitchrist, written in
Latine verse by Thomas Naogeorgus (or Kirchmaier), and englyshed by
Barnabe Googe. . . Anno 1570." Reprinted as an appendix in Phillip
Stubbes's Anatomie of the Abuses in England in Shakespeare's Youth. A.D.
1583. Part I. Frederick J.  Furnivall, ed. (London: N. Tr

 

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