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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: December ::
Living Characters Penultimate
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.2030  Thursday, 8 December 2005

[1] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 07 Dec 2005 15:09:47 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.2019 Living Characters

[2] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 07 Dec 2005 20:19:51 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.2003 Living Characters [4]

[3] 	From: 	John V. Knapp <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 8 Dec 2005 00:28:04 -0600 (CST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.2019 Living Characters


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 07 Dec 2005 15:09:47 -0500
Subject: 16.2019 Living Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.2019 Living Characters

 >Polonius. Rosencrantz. Guildenstern. Laertes and Claudius were 
self-defense.

Hardly:

Polonius -- He was behind a tapestry, hardly in a position to make a 
fatal thrust.  Indeed, he was himself calling for "help!"

R&G -- They were not the agents of death, even if they knew of 
Claudius's plan (which is problematical).  In any case, Hamlet could and 
did escape their clutches.  Moreover, self-defense is an immediate 
response, not a request that someone else do the deed at a future time.

Laertes -- Hamlet had already suffered the fatal wound when he stabbed 
Laertes.  Perhaps he did not know it, but any further danger was past, 
as Hamlet now held the fatal instrument.

Claudius -- Again, all the damage had been done.  There was nothing 
further to fear from Claudius.  His killing was pure revenge.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 07 Dec 2005 20:19:51 +0000
Subject: 16.2003 Living Characters [4]
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.2003 Living Characters [4]

Larry Weiss on the arch-intriguer Claudius: "He is a deliberate and 
careful ruler."

Indeed. He may also be "sick" (guilt-ridden?)  Norway's instrument of 
revenge against King Hamlet for slaying his brother Fortinbras. Do the 
relations between Norway and Claudius seem a bit too cozy? Does Norway 
owe Claudius for services rendered in an unholy alliance?

Idly speculating,
Joe Egert

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John V. Knapp <
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Date: 		Thursday, 8 Dec 2005 00:28:04 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 16.2019 Living Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.2019 Living Characters

Abigail, Don, et al., --

Giving a literary character a thematic label like "murderer" tells us 
relatively little else about his (or her) mimetic attributes.  In fact, 
while Claudius was a fratricide, regicide, a drinker of some note, and 
perhaps a card-cheat too for all we know, he ALSO displayed those 
mimetic attributes associated with effective political action, genuine 
emotion for his new bride, a modest conscience, and some early attempts 
to coordinate what was in her best interests, vis a vie young Hamlet, 
and his own.  Outside of his murdering his brother, his obvious bad 
press comes largely from the mouths of his (now dead) sibling and 
nephew-quite understandable from their perspective but limiting for 
those reading/viewing the play who have not been co-opted into the 
obviously furious Hamlet family, and its system.

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