Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: September ::
The Meaning of Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1770  Tuesday, 28 September 2004

[1]     From:   Colin Cox <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 17 Sep 2004 08:54:09 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1746 The Meaning of Hamlet

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 17 Sep 2004 12:54:24 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 15.1746 The Meaning of Hamlet

[3]     From:   John Reed <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Sep 2004 10:04:45 -0700
        Subj:   Re: The Meaning of Hamlet

[4]     From:   Kenneth Chan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 25 Sep 2004 00:11:49 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1746 The Meaning of Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 17 Sep 2004 08:54:09 -0700
Subject: 15.1746 The Meaning of Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1746 The Meaning of Hamlet

 >As Hamlet puts it: "The play's the thing ..."

The quote seems most appropriate for the topic you seek:

. . . "Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king."

On a very practical level, the delay is caused by Hamlet's need for
concrete proof, not divinely suggested, that Claudius actually committed
the crime.

Colin Cox

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 17 Sep 2004 12:54:24 -0400
Subject: The Meaning of Hamlet
Comment:        SHK 15.1746 The Meaning of Hamlet

Kenneth Chan announces that 'Shakespeare needed Hamlet to follow the
course of action in the play. . . ', adding  'I am quite sure this is a
contentious issue, so let us discuss it.'

No it isn't. Please let's not.

T. Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Reed <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 18 Sep 2004 10:04:45 -0700
Subject:        Re: The Meaning of Hamlet

Kenneth: I agree with you almost completely (I kicking myself having to
admit I agree with anyone on anything), and I want to thank you for
resurrecting this issue.  However I can't quite agree on everything (whew).

Kenneth Chan wrote:

 >To show [why seeking revenge is a moral disaster],
 >Shakespeare needed Hamlet to follow the course of action in
 >the play. If Hamlet had debated the moral issue with himself, he would
 >either conclude that it is morally acceptable, which would contradict
 >what Shakespeare wanted to convey, or he would conclude that it is
 >morally wrong and abandon his course of vengeance. Since neither
 >alternative was conducive to Shakespeare's plan, he allowed Hamlet to
 >delay without explicitly debating the moral issue.

1. I think Hamlet does debate the issue with himself.  He does so all
over the place: every soliloquy he has is concerned with this issue.

2. He, Hamlet appears to finally reach the conclusion that it is morally
acceptable to kill Claudius, since near the end of the play (in 5.2) he
tells Horatio, "...is't not perfect conscience/To quit him with this
arm?"  And that's not counting what he says right after that, either.

3. I wonder how we know what Shakespeare's plans were or what he wanted
to convey?

4. Why Hamlet delays is an interesting and much debated issue, of
course; it is also fairly specific.  Another issue, perhaps more
interesting, or at least more general, is whether it is all
right/ok/acceptable/proper/required whatever for Hamlet to kill Claudius?

I touched on some of these points in another thread (it's the Best
Cinematic Hamlet thread of 09-09-94, not the one of 08-19-04; I don't
know why there are two of them).  Since no one has responded I conclude
I have explained it correctly and no more need be said on the issue -
or...more likely: it adopted certain fundamental assumptions that are
disturbing to the readership.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth Chan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 25 Sep 2004 00:11:49 +0800
Subject: 15.1746 The Meaning of Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1746 The Meaning of Hamlet

Dear SHAKSPEReans

In line with recent suggestions on reducing the length of our posts, I
have now placed two additional articles on my own website to help
explain the spiritual message in Hamlet. These articles should be
readily accessible at http://www.hamlet.vze.com and should, hopefully,
reduce the need for me to submit long explanatory posts to this list.

The first article, entitled "Why Hamlet Delays His Revenge," explains in
more detail why I consider Hamlet's inner conscience to be the cause of
his delay.

The second paper, entitled "The Meaning Behind the Dialogue Between
Polonius and Reynaldo," traces how the three motifs highlighted by the
dialogue, resonate continually through the entire play to reach a
thundering climax in the final duel scene. The three motifs are critical
to the meaning of the play.

These two papers, together with the commentary on Act 1, Scene 2 (which
is also posted on my website), should provide the reader with the main
points of the spiritual theme in Hamlet. I will, of course, be happy to
fill in any explanatory gaps here on the forum.

I feel that a discussion on the meaning of Hamlet is highly beneficial
and am grateful that this forum provides us with the opportunity.
Something of this nature would simply not have been possible a few years
ago. Our Editor deserves our sincere thanks for his tireless efforts in
maintaining this forum.

Regards
Kenneth Chan
http://www.hamlet.vze.com

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail 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.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.