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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: December ::
Celtic or English Folklore Purgatory
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.2015  Wednesday, 7 December 2005

From: 		Bill Arnold <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 6 Dec 2005 18:50:43 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 	Celtic or English Folklore Purgatory

Thanks to Peter Bridgman, perhaps the premise of Shakespeare's Hamlet 
might be brought into a more proper focus.  Note online, the Celtic or 
English Folklore Purgatory which Prince Hamlet refers to in Act One, 
Scene 5, lines 136-143:

Hamlet:
Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,
And much offence too. Touching this vision here,
It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you:
For your desire to know what is between us,
O'ermaster 't as you may.  and now, good friends,
As you are friends, scholars and soldiers,
Give me one poor request...
Never make know what you have seen to-night.

If Peter is correct, that this is a direct reference to the Celtic 
Purgatory aka Folklore Afterworld Beliefs, then Shakespeare's Hamlet 
rests on the Ancient Greek Mysteries which long predate Christian 
doctrine on the subject.  These ancient mysteries were taught in caves, 
hence underground, and all participants were sworn to secrecy. 
Certainly, this puts a whole new spin of interpretation upon 
Shakespeare's Hamlet.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/ffcc310.htm

Bill Arnold

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