The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0373 Tuesday, 10 February 2004
Date: Monday, 9 Feb 2004 07:59:18 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Hamlet and Recognition
I have been thinking about the role of recognition in Hamlet. In
contemporary society, we have gotten complacent about estab the identity
of people and we forget that this was once a very real problem.
For one thing, Hamlet had his father's signet, and rings play a central
role in the Aristotelian comedy of identity. However, I suspect that
there were many counterfeit rings going around and that this is the
meaning of the "little pictures" referred to as being sold in Act2, sc
2, ln 385.
Following on these ideas of recognition and identity it has occurred to
me that in Act 5, sc 2, Osric might deliver his first line to Horatio
instead of Hamlet and that this somehow might help make sense of some of
the nonsense in that speech. If it were played so that Osric
recognizes only Horatio and keeps looking back at Horatio for
reassurance, as Hamlet's antic grows. I wonder if anyone knows of any
instances in which this scene has ever been played this way?
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