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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
A Claudius Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0458  Thursday, 10 March 2005

[1]     From:   Kathy Dent <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 09 Mar 2005 16:45:10 +0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0445 A Claudius Question

[2]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Mar 2005 12:07:41 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0445 A Claudius Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathy Dent <
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Date:           Wednesday, 09 Mar 2005 16:45:10 +0000
Subject: 16.0445 A Claudius Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0445 A Claudius Question

 >"Good grief!" to quote Charlie Brown!  Is this why the infamous O.J.
 >found his freedom at the hands of an American jury of mostly women,
 >despite *blood* on his hands?  Do not forget he was found guilty in a
 >civil trial!  So, I guess the reason we cannot read Shakespeare with any
 >modicum of consensus is that our value systems have become, after the
 >Feminist Movement, so *sexist*?  God help us if we get a female
 >President of the United States.
 >Where is Margaret Thatcher, when we need her?

I have no intention of making any kind of sweeping generalizations about
*all* men on the basis of the stupidity of this remark from *one* of
them, so perhaps Bill Arnold could reciprocate by withholding his kind
of small-minded bigotry about women - jurors, politicians and feminists
- from this forum.

Kathy Dent.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Mar 2005 12:07:41 -0500
Subject: 16.0445 A Claudius Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0445 A Claudius Question

I do appreciate the odd jumps of Bill Arnold's mind. How he got from
Claudius and Gertrude to OJ to the calamity of a woman president to a
heartfelt cry for Margaret Thatcher to come save us is...is
Nijinsky-like.  Okay, maybe more Evel Knievel.

As for Susan St. John's interpretation, the fans of Lorenzo Alcazar are
making pretty much the same case for his relationship with Carly
Corinthos over at the General Hospital message boards. I'm NOT a fan of
Lorenzo Alcazar. "Newfound sensuality" doesn't trump criminal
destruction of a family IMHO.

What interested me enough to write about it, in my non-academic way, was
the WHY NOW? Why did Claudius, who had been around for a lifetime, kill
his brother at that moment? Why did he ACT? The play puns incessantly on
"to act," "to play," "to do." Why did Claudius act when he did? (And,
let's take note, Claudius brought total disaster on his family and his
nation by acting.) I admit I had to fictionalize what the final
inconsequential too-small-to-be-mentioned-in-a-great-play-like-Hamlet
last straw might have been. The play gives us only "My crown, mine own
ambition, and my queen" which would have been true any old day.

As for Gertrude, it always seemed to me that she was the epitome of
inaction. Her son yells at her, she whines but doesn't DO anything. The
only aggressive, active move she makes is to take the cup of wine. (And
look how much good that does her.) So how on earth does such a passive
woman wind up married to her brother-in-law? I took my cue from the lack
of mourning. It seemed to me that Gertrude is denying that anything has
changed. Certainly her status is unaltered. She's still queen, still
married to the king.

People who take action may be admired by the character, Hamlet, but the
play, Hamlet, doesn't really reward them for it. Fortinbras doesn't
actively seek the throne of Denmark, he lucks into it when the royal
family destroys itself. (Which reminds me that one of my professors
taught that the reason Elizabeth's reign was so long and golden was that
she refused to make up her mind about anything. Whenever someone wanted
her to DO something, she said she was thinking about it. And that reign
was drawing to a close and people were talking about DOING things. Like
that hothead, Essex.)

In my tiny playlet, two people take actions that WE know will bring
disaster, but they don't. Best I could do.

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