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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1456  Saturday, 3 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	Kenneth Chan <
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	Date: 	Friday, 02 Sep 2005 00:28:05 +0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

[2] 	From: 	Kenneth Chan <
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	Date: 	Friday, 02 Sep 2005 06:50:48 +0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

[3] 	From: 	David Basch <
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	Date: 	Friday, 02 Sep 2005 11:19:20 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kenneth Chan <
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Date: 		Friday, 02 Sep 2005 00:28:05 +0800
Subject: 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Apparently, a few of us are unhappy with my plea to look at the evidence 
that Shakespeare's plays are crafted to convey deep spiritual messages. 
My only concern about this is whether or not they really know what I 
mean by "the evidence." With all due respect to Basch and Amit, the 
evidence I am referring to is very different from those presented by them.

For example, this evidence (that I am referring to) does not rely, in 
any way, on speculations as to what certain terms may be secretly 
alluding to, or on any need to read between the lines, or on any need to 
speculate on hidden actions. The evidence is, instead, all based on 
exactly what Shakespeare openly presents to us in his script.

Shakespeare is very dramatic in conveying his message, and he 
continually repeats his point, in some plays, up to ten times or more. 
In other words, the message is actually staring us in the face. The 
problem is we often choose not to see it.

Shakespeare makes no attempt to hide his meaning at all, and he 
generally crafts every part of the play to fit the message. This 
includes all those scenes that do not move along the action and may thus 
even appear unnecessary to the play. These scenes are, in fact, included 
to help impart the message.

If anyone is not sure what I mean, or doubt my words, please go to my 
previous post at <http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2004/1716.html>, and 
then look at what I have posted on my website at 
<http://homepage.mac.com/sapphirestudios/qod>. It costs nothing, and is 
only one or two clicks away.

My apologies if I am annoying some forum members by repeating all this. 
I do hope, however, that there are others who will seriously consider 
what I am saying. It is important that Shakespeare's priceless legacy is 
not lost on us.

With best wishes,
Kenneth Chan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kenneth Chan <
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Date: 		Friday, 02 Sep 2005 06:50:48 +0800
Subject: 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Bill Arnold writes:

 >"I would be careful of making Will Shakespeare's
 >works into a work of scriptural doctrine and its
 >author a son of God, unless you grant we are all
 >daughters and sons of God!"

Thank you, Bill, for giving me this opportunity to clarify. I am in no 
way suggesting that Shakespeare is the "chosen one" or anything of that 
kind; Shakespeare is not innately different from any of us. Neither am I 
suggesting that his works are scriptural doctrines to be accepted on faith.

What makes Shakespeare different from us, however, is that he has 
actually undertaken the arduous task of transforming his life and 
personality towards the spiritual ideal that he can perceive. This is a 
process any of us, without exception, can undertake.

All we have to do is simply this: Take every step we know we have to 
take in order to transform into a better person. Every one of us knows 
at least one step that we can take to transform into a better person. 
That is the step we have to take. It has nothing to do with blind faith; 
each of us already knows what he or she has to do next. As we accomplish 
each step, we will realize the next step following that. If we continue 
this process, we will eventually attain the same realizations (and more) 
that Shakespeare has tried so hard to convey to us in his plays.

All of us can prove this for ourselves by simply following this path. 
The real question is whether or not we want to do it. What we need to 
realize, however, is that this is the most important thing we have to do 
in life. That is why Shakespeare goes to so much trouble to impart his 
messages to us. It is to encourage us to take this path; he knows that 
it will make a huge difference to our lives.

That is also why I persist in trying to inform people of Shakespeare's 
intent. Do you think I actually enjoy attracting negative comments to 
myself? All this negativity is unfortunately inevitable and is, in fact, 
part of the process.

What I am happy to say, however, is that the process is working. 
Already, thousands of students, around the world, have read the evidence 
that Shakespeare's plays do contain deep messages to humanity, and 
thousands more will continue to do so. This is the internet generation. 
The message is slowly but surely getting through, and the process cannot 
be stopped because the message makes sense. Those who refuse to listen 
will eventually get left behind in the years to come.

With best wishes,
Kenneth Chan
http://homepage.mac.com/sapphirestudios/qod

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Basch <
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Date: 		Friday, 02 Sep 2005 11:19:20 -0400
Subject: 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1444 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Our list has its objectors to seeing a Shakespeare with great spiritual 
depth, preferring to see someone more involved with making a buck and a 
reputation, and whose observable great depth in understanding human 
beings and their dilemmas is just a happy accidental outcome of this 
terrestrial activity. No doubt, this kind of Shakespeare fits in with 
their own world view too, a world view that is seized upon by these 
persons with such zeal that they cannot entertain the possibility that 
Shakespeare is nothing like themselves and the narrow secularist that 
they with to see him as.

They are of course entitled to their opinion but this sets limits to 
what they are able to see and understand in the poet's work. It could 
truly be said of them that they dream of less things than there are in 
heaven and earth and would deserve Hamlet's criticism of such types as 
he expresses to Horatio: "There are more things in heaven and earth, 
Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy." The point of Hamlet's 
comment is that, after having experienced a strange phenomenon of a 
visitation from another world, we must leave open our minds to a strange 
universe that is not bounded by limiting philosophical formulas that 
rationalists are prone to.  This limitation of vision is why 
rationalists again and again attempt to create technocratic utopias 
supposedly founded on scientific socialism but which are not scientific 
nor do they produce the social benefits envisioned since these 
formulations cannot encompass the breadth of complexity and downright 
mysteriousness of our universe.

Again let me reiterate that this is the kind of world recognized by 
Ecclesiastes and which Shakespeare sought to depict in his play and in 
his character Hamlet. In the play, Hamlet represents "man under the 
sun," a phrase that appears 29 times in Ecclesiastes, a man with all his 
idealism and human flaws as surrounded by the venality and corruption, 
the flies in the ointment the Ecclesiastes describes as giving off a 
putrid smell, that accounts for the rottenness in Denmark

Ecclesiastes is a King that ruminates on life. Since he was king, he was 
able to do and to enjoy pleasures, riches, and experiences that other 
men can only dream about and to find out where these lead. As he 
declares in Ecc 7:25:

      I applied mine heart to know, and to search,
      and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things,
      and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness
      and madness:

I gave numerous parallels between Hamlet and Ecclesiastes in earlier 
postings. I will give a few others.

A confident Hamlet is warned by Horatio that he will lose the wager with 
the king in his sport with Laertes. Hamlet disregards Horatio's warning. 
What have we here?

Horatio is a poor man, identified as one who has "only his good spirits 
to feed and clothe him." So when he advises Hamlet and his advice 
rebuffed, it is right out of Ecclesiastes, who observes that "the wisdom 
of the poor is despised and his words are not heard."

Ecclesiastes also observes that

       the race is not to the swift, nor the battle
       to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet
       riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men
       of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Interestingly, all parties connected with the dueling contest think they 
are the swift. Claudius and Laertes think they have the game in the bag 
and that Hamlet must be the loser. Hamlet weighs his odds and thinks 
that he will be the winner, though the game he is trying to win is not 
the game that is actually being played. As Ecclesiastes states:

         For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes
         that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds
         that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of
         men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly
         upon them.  (Ecc 9:12)

Hamlet in the play is an over righteous man who is wise over much, 
characteristics that Ecclesiastes identifies as sure to bring a man to 
self-destruction and we see this in the play. He over righteously spares 
Claudius in his obsession with eventually giving Claudius the exact 
punishment he deserves. And Hamlet becomes so sure that he understand 
God's ways that he can accept whatever God will deliver to him and that 
he need not take charge of his actions to try to make conditions unfold 
in accordance with justice and morality right here on earth. Here Hamlet 
overlooks the caution of Ecclesiastes who tells:

      As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit,
      nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that
      is with child: even so thou knowest not the works
      of God who maketh all. (Ecc 11:5)

And these observations are only the tip of this iceberg, with such 
delicious lines as Hamlet responding to Polonius upon being asked what 
he reads: "Words, words, words." This is a rendering of Ecclesiastes 
comment that "there is no end to the writing of books." The only reason 
that our learned scholars do not take account of the many, many such 
parallels to Ecclesiastes is that they have the preconception of 
Shakespeare as a man who is not involved in such things and in creating 
cautionary tales that flesh out Biblical wisdom and the real human 
condition to which the Bible responds to.

David Basch

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