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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: September ::
Best Cinematic Hamlet?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1634  Thursday, 2 September 2004

[1]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 07:57:29 -0500
        Subj:   Hamlet mad?

[2]     From:   HR Greenberg <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 12:34:42 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1624 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[3]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 10:36:12 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Hamlet's madness

[4]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 22:31:33 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1624 Best Cinematic Hamlet?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 07:57:29 -0500
Subject:        Hamlet mad?

Kenneth Chan writes,

 >In the play, I believe Shakespeare has
 >deliberately kept the status of Hamlet's madness ambiguous. That is, in
 >fact, the reason why there is no general consensus on the issue."

If Hamlet is mad, the inevitable consequence of his madness is that he
is not responsible for his actions; he becomes only an inert issue, like
the mad Ophelia, for the other characters.  Has there ever been an
interpretation that moves the moral, the responsible *center* of the
play to any other character?

L. Swilley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           HR Greenberg <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 12:34:42 EDT
Subject: 15.1624 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1624 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

 From a psychiatric point of view, Hamlet has been rated with just about
every DMSIV diagnosis -- yet another signifier of the text's openness. I
wrote a piece about not being able to write about Hamlet, in which I
suggested a variety of scenarios, based on common and uncommon
psychoanalytic and other theories, as to why the sea change occurs after
the Pirate episode. think it may still be on my website
www.doctorgreenberg.net.

I believe one must be extraordinarily war about monistic interpretations
of this most open and in many ways strangest of Shakespeare's plays.
That goes for lit crit and psych crit crits.

HR Greenberg MD ENDIT

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 10:36:12 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Hamlet's madness

Dear fellow SHAKSPEReans:

I would be interested in hearing how proponents of the theory of
Hamlet's genuine rather than feigned madness deal with the following
passages:

To Horatio (Riverside, 1.5.169):

        Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
        How strange or odd some'er I bear myself--
        As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
        To put an antic disposition on--
        That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
                                        . . . to note,
        That you know aught of me--this do swear, . . .

To Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (2.2.364):

        . . . but my uncle-father and mother are deceiv'd. . . . I am
        but mad north-north-west.  When the wind is southerly I know a
        hawk from a hand-saw.

To Gertrude (3.4.141):

                                It is not madness
        That I have utt'red.  Bring me to the test,
        And [I] the matter will reword, which madness
        Would gambol from.

To Gertrude (3.4.181):

        Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
        Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed, . . .
        Or . . .
        Make you to ravel all this matter out,
        That I essentially am not in madness,
        But mad in craft.

All the best,
Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 22:31:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1624 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1624 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

Stephen Rose writes: "I suppose it means the thread should be renamed
Sanity and Madness in Hamlet. That's progress. I think Hamlet is
eminently sane, as is Ophelia. And that that is the story left to
Horatio to tell. I wonder what a movie that takes that POV would look like?"

A very good point. Unfortunately, sometimes economics gets in the way.
Michael Almereyda's Hamlet with Ethan Hawke was planning to address this
issue (along with others) but ran out of funding. According to the
screenplay, Casey Affleck as Fortinbras was to descend onto the death
scene - the rooftop of the Denmark Corp. - with a handheld camera. The
final shot was to be Fortinbras quickly panning the scene and finishing
by panning the camera out to us: ready to hear Horatio's story, while
implicating us as a kind of Horatio to this film, and holding the mirror
up to nature as reflected in the film. If only...too bad the gravedigger
was cut out or we would have heard him sing "All Along the Watchtower"
as well.

Brian Willis

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