2004

Lengthy Hiatus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1952  Friday, 29 October 2004

From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, October 29, 2004
Subject:        Lengthy Hiatus

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

Because of a family tragedy, there will be a long hiatus in my posting
digests to the list.

Hardy M. Cook
Editor

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The Meaning of Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1951  Thursday, 28 October 2004

[1]     From:   John Reed <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Oct 2004 20:13:03 -0700
        Subj:   Re: The Meaning of Hamlet

[2]     From:   Kenneth Chan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 23:30:27 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1944 The Meaning of Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Reed <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Oct 2004 20:13:03 -0700
Subject:        Re: The Meaning of Hamlet

What is a through line, and why is it important?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth Chan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 23:30:27 +0800
Subject: 15.1944 The Meaning of Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1944 The Meaning of Hamlet

John Reed writes:

 >"Nowadays the main religious world view of most people, especially most
 >educated people, in the West, as I keep harping on, is Enlightenment
 >Philosophy.  Part of the attitude of EP towards other religions seems to
 >be that they are all about equally valid, or what is really more
 >probable, equally invalid.  Equally invalid in relation to itself, that
 >is.  So some people have the idea that other major religions are similar
 >in outlook at their center.  I don't believe that to be the case, and on
 >the contrary, the closer one approaches the heart, the doctrinal heart,
 >of a major religion, the more distinct they become.  So It seems to me
 >you are approaching Shakespeare from a Buddhist perspective that also
 >contains elements of Enlightenment Philosophy."

Thank you, John, for your informed response. The spiritual message in
Hamlet, however, does not depend on which personal perspective we
approach it from, but rather on what the script of the play itself tells
us. While we may vary, to some extent, in our interpretation of
Shakespeare's words, we have to remain constrained by what his script
actually says. Thus, we have to try to see the meaning from
Shakespeare's viewpoint based on his writing.

I am trying throughout this thread to delineate clearly that this play
does reveal a spiritual message that fits with every Scene the author
has scripted. May it merit serious consideration now. If an alternative
interpretation and analysis closely referencing the script could be
offered, let us examine it in the interest of scholarship and passion
for the Bard. This is precisely what makes such a forum valuable.

Let me summarize the central spiritual message in Hamlet. It is twofold:

One, is the need for us to be true to ourselves, to accept our personal
mortality, and to face up to the profound. It is delineated in my
article - which is an analysis based closely on Shakespeare's script -
at <http://homepage.mac.com/sapphirestudios/qod/article2.html>

The second, is that the path of vengeance is incompatible with the
spiritual path. I discuss this at
<http://homepage.mac.com/sapphirestudios/qod/excerpt.html>as well as in
a number of my previous posts in this thread. Again, this interpretation
is in keeping with Shakespeare's own words.

The spiritual message in Hamlet that I delineate is derived from the
words of Shakespeare himself. If anyone among us would refute it, I
propose that such refutation specifically, and I might add,
appropriately, reference the script. It helps us keep in context.

Evidence for the spiritual message in the text is overwhelming. It does
not reflect purely my personal viewpoint.

Apart from this main message, there is much more in the text that
concerns the spiritual meaning of this play. For example, each of the
scenes in Act III touches, in turn, on different and important
characteristics of the spiritual path. The way this is structured
suggests, again, that Shakespeare has carefully and skillfully crafted
the entire play to convey his meaning.

In Act III, Scene 1, Hamlet's soliloquy presents the suffering nature of
our mundane existence, and his dialogue with Ophelia presents the sinful
nature of man. The first serves as another powerful motivation for us to
embark on the route to salvation, while the second essentially tells us
what needs to be done.

Act III, Scene 2 focuses on the need for sustained effort at any quest
for transformation - this theme recurs many times in this scene. The
relevance to the spiritual message here is that the need for sustained
effort particularly applies to the spiritual quest. We cannot hope to
succeed merely through intermittent commitment at times of passion.

Act III, Scene 3 stresses the need for us to act on our convictions and
aspirations. The King's failure in prayer demonstrates the inadequacy of
merely repenting without transforming ourselves to fit our aspirations.

In Act III, Scene 4, the words of Hamlet present the basic requirement
at each step in transforming our being:

Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency.

Whether or not all this suggests an Enlightenment Philosophy does not
change the fact that it is derived from the text of Hamlet as
Shakespeare wrote it. If we are looking to see through Shakespeare's
eyes, it is not our personal viewpoint that counts but what is actually
found in the script. What is significant here is that there is a
spiritual message in Hamlet that fits every part of the play.

Regards,
Kenneth Chan
http://homepage.mac.com/sapphirestudios/qod/

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

The Meaning of Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1949  Thursday, 28 October 2004

From:           Colin Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Oct 2004 16:06:43 -0700
Subject: 15.1944 The Meaning of Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1944 The Meaning of Hamlet

 >Is anyone interested in discussing Ran in relation to King Lear?

What a great topic, would love to get into it.

Colin Cox

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Greenblatt

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1950  Thursday, 28 October 2004

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 00:44:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 00:48:02 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 02:31:22 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

[4]     From:   John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 09:24:57 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

[5]     From:   Arthur Lindley<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 21:31:29 +0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

[6]     From:   Debra Murphy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 06:32:33 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Greenblatt


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 00:44:34 -0400
Subject: 15.1943 Greenblatt
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

 >look at how thematically revealing this possible doubling
 >could be: Sebastian and Maria are both social climbers, both
 >opportunists, and both are possessed of a "pleasing personality."

I am not sure I am convinced of this, but the subject of thematic
doubling fascinates me.  Some obvious ones that come to mind immediately
are:  Arthur & Henry III; Theseus & Oberon; Hyppolyta & Titania;
Mamillius & Perdita; Posthumus & Cloten; Cordelia & The Fool.

It becomes less obvious when the doubled roles are not thematically
connected.  For example, it is likely that the actor who played Lady
Montague must have doubled in a character on stage at the end of the
play (Shakespeare is forced to explain her absence by having her die of
grief); but was it Paris? Friar Laurence?  Similarly, it seems probable
that Laertes was played by one of the better actors -- it is a
significant part -- so it would have been uneconomical to make no use of
him for three full acts.  But which was the doubled role(s)?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 00:48:02 -0400
Subject: 15.1943 Greenblatt
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

 >if there actually were inns or places where
 >male/male relations took place, then that fact (if it could be
 >established) would challenge Foucault's insistence that in the
 >Renaissance, people did NOT define themselves by the type or types of
 >sex acts in which they engaged.

Hmmm.  One may speculate about the nature of the Widow Bull's
establishment in Deptford.  Why was there a bed in a dining room?  Or
did they serve dinner in a bedroom?  Or did Marlowe, Frizer and Skerres
repair to a bedroom after dinner?  If so to what end?  Or whose end?  (I
am not saying anything salacious -- just an innuendo.)

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 02:31:22 -0400
Subject: 15.1943 Greenblatt
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/sainta06.htm

ANTHONY the Abbot
Also known as Anthony of Egypt; Anthony the Great; Father of Cenobites;
Father of Western Monasticism

Memorial
     17 January

"Descriptions paint him as uniformly modest and courteous. His example
led many to take up the monastic life, and to follow his way. Friend
late in life of Saint Paul the Hermit, and buried the aged anchorite,
leading to his patronage of gravediggers. His biography was written by
his friend Saint Athanasius.

His relationship with pigs and patronage of swineherds is a little
complicated. Skin diseases were sometimes treated with applications of
pork fat, which reduced inflammation and itching. As Anthony's
intervention aided in the same conditions, he was shown in art
accompanied by a pig. People who saw the art work, but did not have it
explained, thought there was a direct connection between Anthony and
pigs - and people who worked with swine took him as their patron.

Name Meaning
     inestimable

Patronage
     against pestilence, amputees, animals, basket makers, basket
weavers, brushmakers, butchers, cemetery workers, domestic animals,
eczema, epilepsy, epileptics, ergotism (Saint Anthony's fire),
erysipelas, gravediggers, graveyards, hermits, hogs, Hospitallers,
monks, pigs, relief from pestilence, skin diseases, skin rashes, swine,
swineherds

Representation
     bell; book; crutch; hermit; man with a pig at his side; pig; Saint
Anthony's cross (T or tau-shaped); tau cross with a bell on the end.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 09:24:57 -0400
Subject: 15.1943 Greenblatt
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

 >(Incidentally, the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia has no mention of that
 >story or pigs in general. Is she merely pulling our legs - or hams as
 >the case may be?)

<URL:http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/sainta06.htm>

[St. Anthony's] relationship with pigs and patronage of swineherds is a
little complicated. Skin diseases were sometimes treated with
applications of pork fat, which reduced inflammation and itching. As
Anthony's intervention aided in the same conditions, he was shown in art
accompanied by a pig. People who saw the art work, but did not have it
explained, thought there was a direct connection between Anthony and
pigs - and people who worked with swine took him as their patron.

And on the other hand, from
<URL:http://www.pighealth.com/reviews/tantony.htm>:

While on a year of solitary retreat and prayer, St. Anthony had the
experience of being tempted by Satan who allegedly came to him in the
form of a fierce pig which viciously attacked him. Anthony saintly
resisted the temptation to return the favour and beat the pig to death,
whereupon he was enveloped by a "wondrous light" and the pig was
transformed into a humble and docile porcine companion.

(Either version, of course, confirms the connection.)

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Lindley<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 21:31:29 +0800
Subject: 15.1943 Greenblatt
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1943 Greenblatt

Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

 >Even though the word "homosexual" did not exist, certainly early modern
 >Englishmen in the theatre business were aware of same-sex erotic
 >resonances. So the question can be answered yes, "Sebastian" had
 >homoerotic connotations. To see this at work in a play, I would direct
 >one to the character of Sebastian Wengrave in Middleton and Dekker's The
 >Roaring Girl; he is consistently represented as erotically interested in
 >women dressed as men.
 >
 >Heller

I'm aware of that, Jack; I was making the customary distinction between
'homosexual' as designating an identity or personality type as vs.
someone who performs homosexual acts.  The persona of the Sonnets, for
example, represents himself as attracted both to the young man and the
dark lady.  He does not, on the whole, represent the latter desire as
contradicting some homosexual/sodomitic/whatever 'identity'. If the
audience of TN saw Antonio and Sebastian as essentially gay or straight,
I think, they would have missed the point of the play's presentation of
gender as fluid and performative.  The homoerotic feeling in that
relationship, however, seems to be almost entirely Antonio's rather than
Sebastian's.

Arthur

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Debra Murphy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 06:32:33 -0700
Subject:        Re: Greenblatt

Speaking of Greenblatt, I have an editor of a Catholic magazine sending
me a review copy of Greenblatt's Will in the World with an eye for me to
review it, particularly with regard to Greenblatt's treatment of the
Catholic issues in the book.  But before I dig into it, I'd be curious
to hear what listmembers, especially those in academia, have to say
about the current status of Theory and New Historicism in general, and
Greenblatt in particular, in academic circles.  I hear it noised abroad
that Theory has lost a good deal of its former cachet of late, in Europe
even before in America, and would enjoy reading anyone's comments on the
subject.

For my own part, I am temperamentally and philosophically allergic to
the so-called School of Resentment, but always thought Greenblatt well
worth the read anyway, though it's been a few years.

Best regards,
Debra Murphy

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2 Gents on pinkmonkey

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1948  Thursday, 28 October 2004

From:           Alan Horn <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 25 Oct 2004 17:39:52 EDT
Subject: 15.1939 2 Gents on pinkmonkey
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1939 2 Gents on pinkmonkey

Reading Larry Weiss's description of The New Yorker as a "flaccid
left-leaning organ," I found myself wondering whether it leans to the
left at all times or only in a flaccid state.

Alan

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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