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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Re: Bloom on Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1567  Wednesday, 5 August 2003

From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Aug 2003 06:48:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1558 Re: Bloom on Hamlet [The Ghost, of course!]
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1558 Re: Bloom on Hamlet [The Ghost, of course!]

Hugh Grady writes, "OK, let's get real, by all means. Tell me what
you're thinking about.  I don't get it. Context is all."

If context is all, what is all the discussion all about?

You wrote, "The main problem here, of course, is that there is no
innocent interpretation of the theories of Shakespeare's
contemporaries.  Just to pick an example on which there is nearly
universal contemporary consensus, E. M.  W. Tillyard presented a highly
truncated, ideologically informed 'Elizabethan World Picture' in an
attempt to do exactly what Sutton proposes, focus on Shakespeare's
contemporaries to illuminate his plays."

And I wrote, "OK: now let's get real, shall we?  Bring in the ghost!"

So, I say again, let's get real, and bring in the ghost!  This is a
discussion about Hamlet by Will S, is it not?  Bring him in, and the
context proves that a number of characters in the play Hamlet believe
the ghost to be real, do they not?  You see, I am discussing reality
within the context of the play, as I assume you are, as well.  I assume
we are on the same page, and if we are, that in the context of the play
the ghost is real, then I say again, "Bring him in!" the discussion!

Now, that does not imply nor should it in any way challenge the sanity
of Hamlet the character, inasmuch as he among a number of characters saw
the ghost and believed the ghost to be real, in the objective sense,
within the context of the play, agreed?  Thus, the Will S audience also
believed the ghost to be real, in the context of the play.  Just as
today, when we watch, say, E.T., we believe E.T. to be real, in the
context of the movie.

So, does it matter outside the context of the play what an Elizabethan
believed about ghosts, or not?  You tell me.  Does it matter outside the
movie E.T. what an American or a Brit, for that matter, believes about
extraterrestrials, or not?

Now, is that what you mean by your contextual reference to "Context is
all"?

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

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