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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
The Three Sons in Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0795  Wednesday, 31 March 2004

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004 14:12:34 -0500
        Subj:   The Three Sons in Hamlet

[2]     From:   Jay Feldman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004 18:08:58 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0784 The Three Sons in Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004 14:12:34 -0500
Subject:        The Three Sons in Hamlet

Sean's ad hominem response will be noted but not responded to. He seems
not to have read the final paragraph of my last post:

"For what it's worth, I think Fortinbras puts on the pressure and then
waits for Claudius's Denmark to fall of its own weight, now that old
Hamlet is dead. It's a pretty clever device, potentially a kind of
revenge, and it is based on the old idea that patience can be the best
way to get even. In other words, he out-Hamlets Hamlet."

Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jay Feldman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004 18:08:58 EST
Subject: 15.0784 The Three Sons in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0784 The Three Sons in Hamlet

Jack Heller says: "...I don't believe the supposed reports of the
changes in Fortinbras's purposes, and I do believe the sounds of war
Hamlet, Osric, and Horatio hear as Hamlet is dying. ... Show us the text
indicating troops "returning battleworn and surely in need of resupply."
...Whatever one may say about Branagh's filming of Fortinbras's arrival,
it has some textual support."

Dear Jack, you are correct, nothing I said concerning the physical state
of Fortinbras' army (battleworn and in need of resupply) is textually
supported, however that was not the thrust of my question. What I want
to know is where is the logic of Fortinbras marching his army through
Denmark, fighting a war in Poland, and only then returning to attack his
real target of Denmark? "Hamlet" is a fiction and so anything goes, but
surely this does not make sense in real or imagined life.

As for the sounds of war heard by Hamlet, Horatio, and Osric, that is
Fortinbras' army marching by. The SD that mentions a "shot within" is
elsewhere a "shout within" and the "warlike volley" is apparently a
diplomatic protocol directed at the English ambassadors, at least that's
my reading of the line (5.2.356 Arden). Horatio asks "Why does the drum
come hither?" That seems to be another protocol announcing the entry of
a foreign prince, given the SD that can include a drum, colors, and
attendants.

That there is actually a battle for the castle in progress seems
unlikely given that Denmark is well armed and the castle well fortified.
Please remember we are told there are soldiers on the battlements with
drums, trumpets, and ordnance at the ready (5.2.267-74 ) and apparently
functioning given the SD at line 284. Nowhere can I find in anything
Fortinbras says an indication that he has conquered Denmark by arms or
even arrived with a warlike intention, rather, only sadness at the
dismal sight and a willingness to embrace his good fortune. I simply
don't believe there is textual support for a Fortinbras covert offensive
or that Branagh's depiction of his bloody arrival was in any way justified.

Jay Feldman

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