The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1434 Friday, 11 July 2003
Date: Thursday, 10 Jul 2003 12:10:09 EDT
Subject: 14.1407 Re: Swear!
Comment: Re: SHK 14.1407 Re: Swear!
Thank you all for your interesting and differing responses. It seems
clear that a definitive decision is not possible for this question.
Nevertheless, I have to wonder why a ghost who can make himself visible
and audible to Hamlet, should allow Horatio and Marcellus to see him but
not to hear him. Particularly when his command to "Swear" is directed
to their ears and not Hamlet's. Since Carol Barton and Emma Cooper's
responses reinforce my own thinking, I will remain convinced they do
hear the ghost.
As to Gertrude's inability to see or hear the ghost I have no idea of
that cause; perhaps the ghost does not choose to further aggravate his
former wife's fighting soul. On the other hand, in the first encounter
the ghost gave Hamlet information no one else could provide and there
were witnesses to the visit. In the queen's chamber neither of these
conditions were met, perhaps indicating it was a symptom of madness, or
at the very least the result of the powerful and emotional dynamics of
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