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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: October ::
Greenblatt on Hamnet & Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1866  Friday, 8 October 2004

From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Thursday, 7 Oct 2004 22:15:26 +0100
Subject: 15.1853 Greenblatt on Hamnet & Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1853 Greenblatt on Hamnet & Hamlet

Abigail Quart writes ...

 >Mary. Bloody Mary. Mary, Queen of Scots. The spectre of bloody
 >counter-reformation and civil war is encompassed in those names. Didn't
 >name his daughters Mary, either.

No he didn't, but all the Marys in the plays (Maria in Twelfth Night,
Mariana in Measure for Measure, Marina in Pericles) are sympathetic
characters.

These are the only words WS ever wrote about 'Bloody' Mary Tudor ...

KATHERINE:  ... I have commended to his goodness
The model of our chaste loves, his young daughter -
The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her -
Beseeching him to give her virtuous breeding.
She is young, and of a nobel modest nature.
I hope she will deserve well - and a little
To love her for her mother's sake, that loved him,
Heaven knows how dearly.  (All is True, 4.2)

As for references to Mary Queen of Scots, we should perhaps look in King
John, in which WS equates John with Elizabeth I (excommunication,
'armada of sail' etc.), and then goes on to equate John's victim Prince
Arthur with Elizabeth's victim, Mary ...

WS invents a will barring Arthur from the throne.  While there was no
such will barring Arthur, Shakespeare's audience would have known that
Henry VIII's will barred Mary from the throne.  And when John orders
Hubert to murder Arthur, and pretends rage when he thinks the deed is
carried out, this would have reminded the audience of how Elizabeth put
the blame upon her secretary William Davidson for implementing Mary's
execution (she even put him on trial!), when it was Elizabeth herself
who had signed the death warrant.  These are the words said over
Arthur's body ...

 >From forth this morsel of dead royalty

The life, the right and truth of this realm
Is fled to heaven.

Peter Bridgman

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