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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Ghost Appearance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0564  Friday, 27 February 2004

From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Feb 2004 05:15:11 -0800
Subject: 15.0552 Ghost Appearance
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0552 Ghost Appearance

Holger Schott writes


 >If "tradition" is all we rely on in assigning old Hamlet to Shakespeare
 >(tradition and Stephen Daedalus?), I personally would be more
comfortable with
 >giving up on that idea and replacing it with Steve's theory (based on
 >arguments).

Hi guys, I've been wandering the wilds of the beautiful Wyoming plains
and so am just catching up with the thread.

I think Holger is absolutely correct in asserting we must be very
careful in applying hearsay to hypotheses; but, Holger you must admit a
good bit o' gossip is mighty juicy at times! However, applying the
premise that the evidence come from the text I have a few tidbits in
defense of my notion that William played the Player King.

When the players enter (II,ii), though it seems there could be as many
as five, I think there are only two. One of them is clearly a boy. A boy
that has grown by the height of a chopine since his last performance and
is close to having his voice break as he approaches puberty. Is this the
young Rosalind? Or perhaps Calpurnia? Who then is the other 'player'? I
think it's William. He is bearded (valanced). From Hamlet's comments his
previous role was clearly non-bearded. (any thoughts Steve?)

Now here comes the fun part. Hamlet, we know, is being played by Richard
Burbage, William's best friend. Though this be little more than
intuition, Holger, I have no doubt of the amazing synergy between
Burbage and Shakespeare. London did think the roles would die upon
Richard's demise.  If we accept Richard as Hamlet and William as the
player, then look at the fun they're having.

"I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted, or if it
was not above once - for the play, I remember, pleased not the million .
. ." Are they knocking their old rival Kit? Or perhaps the scoundrel
Jonson?  (aside: Steve, Polonius' comment at the end of the speech 'This
is too long' smacks of Heminges.)

And then, to me, one of the most glorious moments in theatre, a space in
time worthy of a Wellesian time machine, (III,ii) Burbage walks on stage
to tell William how to act, "speak the speech, I pray you, as I
pronoounced it to you, tripppingly on the tongue . . ." How many times
has William the director screamed this at them in rehearsal? Then they
go on to bash their other great rival Ned Alleyn and get a few digs in
at Kempe, recently departed with his usual Kempeian huff. Naughty, but
oh what fun!

Your thoughts?

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