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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Ghost Appearance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0475  Wednesday, 18 February 2004

[1]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Feb 2004 11:46:28 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0458 Ghost Appearance

[2]     From:   Steve Sohmer <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Feb 2004 14:38:55 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0458 Ghost Appearance


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Tuesday, 17 Feb 2004 11:46:28 -0600
Subject: 15.0458 Ghost Appearance
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0458 Ghost Appearance

John Reed asks:

"So, what does the Ghost look like in this play?  Or rather, what I'm
really curious about, is what did the Ghost look like to the audience --
the original audience?"

At the risk of being obvious, I'd say he looked like a man in full armor:

Hora.386: Two nights together had these gentlemen
387: Marcellus, and Barnardo, on their watch
388: In the dead wast and middle of the night
389: Beene thus incountred, a figure like your father
390: Armed at poynt, exactly Capapea
391: Appeares before them, and with solemne march,
392: Goes slowe and stately by them;
Ham. 420: Arm'd say you?
All. 421: Arm'd my Lord.
Ham. 422: >From top to toe?
All. 423: My Lord from head to foote.
Ham. 424: Then sawe you not his face.
Hora.425: O yes my Lord, he wore his beauer vp. (The electronic SQ from UVA)

Now that, of course, is only how he appeared to Horatio, Marcellus and
Bernardo, but I think it's safe to say that Horatio would not have put
such emphasis on the armor-including helmet-if the Ghost had appeared in
something else. This would, logically, be what he looked like to the
audience.

Directors can, of course, make him appear as they wish, and audiences
will (presumably) see that. But it seems that Shakespeare's audience saw
a man in armor.

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <
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Date:           Tuesday, 17 Feb 2004 14:38:55 EST
Subject: 15.0458 Ghost Appearance
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0458 Ghost Appearance

Dear John Reed et al,

I'm convinced that Shakespeare played the Ghost and doubled as Polonius.

Steve

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