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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
The Murder of Gonzago
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0907  Tuesday, 20 April 2004

[1]     From:   Douglas Brooks <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 Apr 2004 07:43:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0890 The Murder of Gonzago

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 Apr 2004 09:28:20 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0890 The Murder of Gonzago

[3]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 Apr 2004 20:14:11 -0400
        Subj:   The Murder of Gonzago


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Brooks <
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Date:           Monday, 19 Apr 2004 07:43:59 -0500
Subject: 15.0890 The Murder of Gonzago
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0890 The Murder of Gonzago

Richard Brome's The Antipodes (1640) makes fascinating use of a play
within a play.

As for the other question regarding earlier revenge tragedies, several
English translations of Seneca's revenge tragedies appeared in print
between 1558 and 1587.  They are the models for many of the revenge
tragedies to follow, including Hamlet. Indeed, Freud got it very wrong
with regard to the links between Hamlet and Oedipus, because he assumed
it was Sophocles' play that lies behind the Shakespearean text. Rather
it was Seneca's Oedipus, a very different play.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 19 Apr 2004 09:28:20 -0700
Subject: 15.0890 The Murder of Gonzago
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0890 The Murder of Gonzago

Ed Taft writes,

 >Just about everybody (except Don) accepts that, among other things, the
 >play *Hamlet* is an intellectual tour-de-force. Such plays are designed
 >to examine the very questions that Don wants us not to look at.

On the contrary, by avoiding speculations in historical metaphysics, we
give ourselves greater scope to examine the intellectual and exigent
questions surrounding suicide, being and nothingness, ethics and the Other.

Yours,
Sean.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 19 Apr 2004 20:14:11 -0400
Subject:        The Murder of Gonzago

Thomas Larque writes: "I'm not sure whether anybody has pointed out that
- theology aside - Shakespeare *needs* purgatory for the literary
situation in "Hamlet". This is an interesting observation, but I
disagree on two counts.

First, Old Hamlet need not resemble at all the place where he comes
from. He would not have to be besoiled and covered with grime and blood
if he came from hell. That's because, as both Milton and Hamlet himself
point out, "the devil [and those who do his bidding] can assume a
pleasing shape." Nor would his discourse have to be unbearably vile. Ask
Eve - Satan can be quite pleasing to the ear.

Second, the Ghost does not have to say a word about the afterlife - what
it's like, whether he suffers torments or not, etc. He need only tell
young Hamlet the manner of his father's death and how and why it
constitutes murder that needs to be revenged.

So the Ghost tells us things that Shakespeare wants told, not things
that somehow Shakespeare has to tell us -- things that complicate the
issue in important and meaningful ways. What does seem clear is that
Shakespeare wants these complications -- not that, for some reason, he
has to have them. Thomas seems to assume as fact that the Ghost comes
from purgatory. But it's not a fact. That's the subject at issue - and a
very important issue it is, too.

Ed Taft

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