Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
A Claudius Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0702  Wednesday, 13 April 2005

[1]     From:   D Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Apr 2005 12:45:03 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0680 A Claudius Question

[2]     From:   Joseph Egert <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 00:41:50 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0668 A Claudius Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Apr 2005 12:45:03 -0500
Subject: 16.0680 A Claudius Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0680 A Claudius Question

Larry Weiss:

"Can someone point Mr. Bloom to an easy to understand book on
fundamental syllogistic logic?  Are there no other possibilities? Are we
to conclude that O.J. Simpson was innocent or that it is moral to kill
your ex-wife and an inconvenient witness?"

My knowledge of fundamental syllogistic logic may be as faulty as
stated, but the comparison with the O. J. Simpson case baffles me. Mr.
Simpson was tried in legal fashion and acquitted. That acquittal does
not mean he didn't kill his wife, only that the jury felt that the
prosecution hadn't proved it beyond a reasonable doubt. We have only
opinions here: some think he was guilty, some not. Neither side knows
for certain.

If we did, however, know that he was guilty of murder with something
like the certainty that we know Claudius was guilty of it, then we would
be forced to choose between considering it a gross failure of justice
(that is, he should have been condemned and punished) or holding to a
legal and moral philosophy that accepts cold-blooded murder.

Eh?

don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph Egert <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 00:41:50 +0000
Subject: 16.0668 A Claudius Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0668 A Claudius Question

In his litany of homicides linked to young Hamlet, Don Bloom omits the
one he was born to set right, the primal crime in this drama, namely the
slaughter of Old Fortinbras by Old Hamlet in "honorable" combat. Why
else does Shakespeare insist on the same day for both homicide and
birth? Old Hamlet's victory (and possession of his enemy's effects) sets
the wheel of vengeance in motion, puts this world out of joint, until
these effects are returned to young Fortinbras at drama's end by young
Hamlet's dying breath.

Vengeance does not come easily to young Hamlet, fresh from
conscience-moulding Wittenberg. The spirit of war in the armoured shape
of Old Hamlet, however, will not be denied. This Ghost embodies the
feudal war ethos in direct defiance of the Divine injunction against
murder. The result?--the self-slaughter of the royal family of Denmark.
Like bloody Duncan, the Old One's gyves have been converted to graces by
those protesting too much. Underneath his milky surface, self-ignorant
Duncan (?Elizabeth) has denied mercy to Cawdor (?Essex); Macbeth, like
Claudius, has learned by bloody instruction how to rise in this suicidal
culture--a culture that sacrifices its young on the altar of war and
revenge. Duncan, by denying mercy, has created a Frankenstein monster
and sentenced himself to death.

In a larger sense, Old Hamlet and Duncan, though criminal links in this
chain of bloody instruction, are themselves its ignorant victims. In
both plays, foul is fair and fair is foul. Each of us, Shakespeare
suggests, bears the old mole of nature that the Ghost incarnates. Each
of us is born a bloody babe (Wells' ape-man), tainted and rotting with
Original Sin. It is the "evil spirit" appearing to Brutus. It is the
Ghost called forth by Hamlet's "prophetic" soul. It is the Weird Triad
summoned by Macbeth's murderous ambition.

The court world of Hamlet is an inauthentic prison world where the young
are suffocated by their elders' indirect traps, plots, and spies; young
Hamlet feels freer and healthier with honest pirates on the open sea
despite captivity.  It is a world where children cannot be sure of their
father's identity or their mother's fidelity. This issue of suspect
sireship and maternal frailty burns inside young Hamlet as inside
"noble" Brutus with a festering flame. It is the "gener-al cause"
driving them to strike against their (?)natural fathers. Brutus, staring
upon Portia with "ungentle looks," and Hamlet, perusing Ophelia's face,
are wracked by thoughts of their own bastardy and unfaithful elders. Can
anyone be trusted? Though Claudius is the most likely candidate in young
Hamlet's case, the play also hints at Polonius and even remotely at Old
Fortinbras. How long was Old Hamlet away "across the seas" on his
martial adventure before Hamlet was born? Why are young Hamlet and young
Fortinbras, both first-borns, named after their (?)childless fathers, as
under levirate law?

In sum, each cycle of violence in this world of honored war merely
reflects the "newest state" of the "revolt" against Divine Law.
Shakespeare is our reporter. Bill Arnold, let your eye "pry to th'interior."

Follow Shakespeare beneath the surface. It is the "King that was and is
the question of these wars." There is blood on the sun.

Joe Egert

_______________________________________________________________
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.