Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: December ::
Living Characters
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.2003  Monday, 5 December 2005

[1] 	From: 	Peter Goldman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 02 Dec 2005 09:40:04 -0700
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

[2] 	From: 	Tom Krause <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 2 Dec 2005 12:15:59 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

[3] 	From: 	Sarah Cohen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 02 Dec 2005 10:54:13 -0800
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

[4] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 02 Dec 2005 14:07:06 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

[5] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Sunday, 04 Dec 2005 22:36:08 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Goldman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 02 Dec 2005 09:40:04 -0700
Subject: 16.1992 Living Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

Claudius has his defenders, both within and without the play. Gertrude 
likes him enough to marry him, and Claudius expresses his devotion to 
her in his dialogue with Laertes later in the play. Polonius and the 
other nobles support his bid for kingship. Critics often defend Claudius 
as a competent king however unscrupulous, just as they do R3 sometimes.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Tom Krause <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 2 Dec 2005 12:15:59 -0500
Subject: 16.1992 Living Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

Don Bloom asks:

"Does anyone ever say anything good about Claudius?"

Many scholars (e.g. Jenkins, Bradley) seem to believe that Hamlet's remark

"It is not very strange; for my uncle is king of Denmark, and those that 
would make mouths at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, 
fifty,  a hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little. 'Sblood, 
there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find 
it out." (Arden 2.2.359-64)

reflects well on Claudius because Hamlet is whining about Claudius's 
seeming popularity (which is almost the same as "saying something good 
about Claudius").  My own reading is different -- if one understands 
"picture in little" to refer to coins, one can see that, consistent with 
Hamlet's contemptuous treatment of Claudius throughout the play, this 
was meant as an insult, not a whine -- people are being forced to "pay 
for" Claudius's picture, because it is the currency, not because he is 
popular.

Tom Krause

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sarah Cohen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 02 Dec 2005 10:54:13 -0800
Subject: 16.1992 Living Characters
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

 >Does anyone ever say anything good about Claudius?

Hamlet does admit that the bloody, bawdy villain has a conscience - 
otherwise he never would try to catch it.

That's pretty much it, leaving aside Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's 
apple-polishing remarks about kingship in general.

Sarah Cohen

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 02 Dec 2005 14:07:06 -0500
Subject: 16.1992 Living Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

 >Does anyone ever say anything good about Claudius?

We have had discussions about this.  I for one am a great admirer.

To begin with, consider that Claudius became king as a result of a 
contested election in which the more likely and popular candidate was 
defeated.  Assuming his state to be disjoint, a foreign prince 
threatened an invasion for which the country was evidently ill-prepared. 
  Claudius took steps to mobilize the country and simultaneously 
initiated diplomatic efforts which resulted in the diversion of the 
attack from his country to a traditional enemy of his country.  Pretty 
neat, eh?

Later on, Claudius quietly and bloodlessly quells a popular rebellion.

He is a deliberate and careful ruler, who does not immediately trust the 
intelligence he receives from his advisors and declines to take action 
until the need is manifest.

Grebanier also has some nice things to say about him.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Sunday, 04 Dec 2005 22:36:08 +0000
Subject: 16.1992 Living Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1992 Living Characters

Don Bloom asks: "Does anyone ever say anything good about Claudius?"

His principal accuser, the Spook, gripes about Claudius' bewitching 
"wit" and seductive "gifts." Indeed, Gertrude's "o'erhasty marriage" 
testifies loudly to the Serpent King's allure. Even Prince Hamlet 
acknowledges him a "mighty opposite."

Yet Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not the only ones caught between 
"mighty opposites." Young Hamlet himself has been trapped since birth 
and baptism between mighty spirits contending for his soul. Like R&G, 
Hamlet has been assigned a slaughterous task by his "king."  Horatio's 
"Why, what a king is this!" could as easily apply to King Hamlet as to 
his brother Claudius.

Viva Goddard!
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.