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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Dating Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0864  Wednesday, 4 May 2005

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 May 2005 11:51:58 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 16.0853

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 May 2005 10:59:13 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0853 Dating Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 May 2005 11:51:58 -0400
Subject: Comment:        SHK 16.0853

Joseph Egert writes, "To reiterate, the primal crime in this drama is
the slaughter of Old Fortinbras by Old Hamlet."

Exactly. And in the end, Denmark loses this blood territory, and the
entire kingdom to boot, in expiation for the original "land-grab."
Ironically, Hamlet is the principal means whereby his father's sin is
expiated. But the picture is not pretty, because the new ruler
(Fortinbras) harbors the same "old-fashioned" values that animated the
damned Hamlet, Sr. So the cycle of violence and revenge goes on,
unabated, into the future.

In this play, new, humanistic values challenge older, coarser, more
selfish values, and the old order wins decisively.

In fact, Hamlet takes a trip back in time from the Renaissance to the
middle ages; he regresses from an enlightened Renaissance courtier to an
image of his father, by the end of the play.

In short, Egert's got it basically right, and Bill Arnold needs to
listen to what Joe has written.

Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 May 2005 10:59:13 -0500
Subject: 16.0853 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0853 Dating Hamlet

Joseph Egert writes:

"I refer Bill Arnold to SHK 16.0702 which encapsulates my reading of the
play. To reiterate, the primal crime in this drama is the slaughter of
Old Fortinbras by Old Hamlet."

A previous posting (by one Horatio) flatly contradicts this

Our last King,
98: Whose Image euen but now appear'd to vs,
99: Was (as you know) by Fortinbras of Norway,
100: (Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate Pride)
101: Dar'd to the Combate. In which, our Valiant Hamlet,
102: (For so this side of our knowne world esteem'd him)
103: Did slay this Fortinbras: who by a Seal'd Compact,
104: Well ratified by Law, and Heraldrie,
105: Did forfeite (with his life) all those his Lands
106: Which he stood seiz'd on, to the Conqueror:
107: Against the which, a Moity competent
108: Was gaged by our King: which had return'd
109: To the Inheritance of Fortinbras,
110: Had he bin Vanquisher, as by the same Cou'nant
111: And carriage of the Article designe,
112: His fell to Hamlet.

Now, this Horatio chap might be wrong-that it was not a fair fight, that
Old Hamlet cheated, that there hadn't been any betting of land on the
outcome, that this was all a bit of propaganda cooked up Hamlet's spin
doctors to cover up his crime-but I'm inclined to take his word.  He was
there, after all. And nobody seems to dispute it, even Young Fortinbras.

Cheers,
don

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