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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
The Three Sons in Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0802  Thursday, 1 April 2004

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Mar 2004 12:33:46 -0500
        Subj:   The Three Sons in Hamlet

[2]     From:   Stephen C. Rose <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Mar 2004 13:40:07 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0795 The Three Sons in Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Wednesday, 31 Mar 2004 12:33:46 -0500
Subject:        The Three Sons in Hamlet

Philip Tomposki writes of Lee's strategy in the Civil War:

 >Clausewitz advised that the purpose of war was to destroy the
opponents will to resist.  A serious >threat to Elsinore could have
accomplished exactly that.

The key word is "serious." Though poorly supplied near the end and
suffering from lack of numbers, Lee's men were superbly trained and
fanatically dedicated to the mission at hand. With such an army, Lee
twice employed the strategy you suggest. But contrast Lee's army with
what Fortinbras is still in the process of procuring:

                         "Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
                   Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
                   Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
                   Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes. . . .
                                           (1.1.99-102)

Is this a serious threat?  If designed for anything, such an army would
be appropriate for taking back by force the lands Fortinbras feels are
his. In fact, he later uses this army in a similar venture: not against
all of Poland, but "to gain a little patch of ground." It's good for
little else.

Isn't the real threat in Fortinbras's note, in which he says or implies
that he doesn't think much of Claudius?  So, to answer Sean's charge
that my argument is somehow illogical: Fortinbras's army is not a real
threat to Denmark, at least as of now, but Claudius feels deeply
threatened by the note Fortinbras sends him, which seems to express
contempt. In short, Fortinbras shares Hamlet's view of Claudius.

Fortinbras's note puts Claudius under psychological pressure. Now all
Fortinbras has to do is wait and see what happens. It's a bit like
*Richard 2*, as one list member suggested to me in a private post.

Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen C. Rose <
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Date:           Wednesday, 31 Mar 2004 13:40:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 15.0795 The Three Sons in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0795 The Three Sons in Hamlet

Seems to me at the end it is simply a sort of default-Denmark is out of
rulers. There is an implied quid pro quo which does not make H1's
position any better. Symmetrical default?

Cheers,
S

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