The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0011 Monday, 3 January 2005
Date: Sunday, 2 Jan 2005 11:54:00 EST
Subject: Hamlet Questions
In Act II, scene 2, Hamlet and the player king chat after everyone has
exited. Hamlet must already have thought of the mousetrap stratagem,
since he asks the first player to do The Murder of Gonzago.
After the first player leaves, in the Oh what a rogue and peasant save
speech, Hamlet says, line 616, Hum, I have heard... He seems to think
of the mousetrap the first time here, but he clearly had done so before
he talked to the player king about a production of it. How do we
explain this minor discrepancy?
And what is the speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, where would they
be placed, spoken by whom, and what effect was desired? Are they
included in what is given before Claudius calls for lights? I am not
sure why I think so, but I suspect that they were not yet given when the
play breaks up. Since the mousetrap does what it is supposed to, would
they have been needed, if in fact they were not already given?
Michael B. Luskin
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