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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: December ::
Greenblatt's Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.2062  Tuesday, 7 December 2004

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 03 Dec 2004 09:20:58 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.2049 Greenblatt's Hamlet

[2]     From:   David Basch <
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        Date:   Sunday, 05 Dec 2004 21:47:29 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.2034 Greenblatt's Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Friday, 03 Dec 2004 09:20:58 -0500
Subject: 15.2049 Greenblatt's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.2049 Greenblatt's Hamlet

D Bloom <
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 >

 >It seems unlikely that anyone in the "stage audience" (the Danish court)
 >would be so stupid as to miss the first point: Gonzago equals Old Hamlet
 >and Baptista Gertrude. Therefore, they are not likely to miss the
 >second: Lucianus equals Claudius, who "poisons him in the garden for his
 >estate" and wins the widow's love and hand.

I don't know that that holds. The court is ignorant of the ghost's
accusation, Lucianus is the nephew to the King, royal widows frequently
remarried, and Hamlet says that this is (in today's speech) a docu-drama
about a real event -- in Vienna. And they could easily pass off
Claudius' ire just as the Player does in Stoppard -- well, he's a second
husband, himself.

 >(This sounds, in fact, rather like one of those dreadful heroic
 >tragedies out of the Restoration. Did no one think of it? Or did Charles
 >wisely prohibit any digging up of the bones of his great-grandmother?)

I don't quite see how you could make a play of it. Mary /wasn't/
avenged, and to accuse Elizabeth of outright fraud in the matter could
only be perceived as an attempt to stir up an RC revolt.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Basch <
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 >
Date:           Sunday, 05 Dec 2004 21:47:29 -0500
Subject: 15.2034 Greenblatt's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.2034 Greenblatt's Hamlet

Michael Luskin asserts that

 >I don't think that Hamlet has "exposed" Claudius as the murderer
 >of King Hamlet, or the author of the plot to kill him in England...."

In fact, Hamlet and Horatio-two witnesses-observe Claudius's reaction to
the play reenacting the crime and conclude that he reacted like a guilty
man. That is all they need for evidence. Second, Laertes testifies
against Claudius as the person behind such a plot and of the poisoning
of Gertrude. Hamlet (and all assembled) witnesses that the poisoned
drink was supplied by Claudius so he too is a witness.

Had Claudius survived for trial, he would have been convicted by the
evidence publicly displayed. The story that remains to be told is
Hamlet's failure to overcome his self righteousness, which the Bible's
Ecclesiastes warns will bring a person to self-destruction. Hamlet is a
moral tale.

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