The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1569 Tuesday, 20 September 2005
From: L. Swilley <
Date: Monday, 19 Sep 2005 07:05:27 -0500
Subject: 16.1556 Hamlet an Allegory
Comment: Re: SHK 16.1556 Hamlet an Allegory
Gabriel Egan wrote,
>Elliott H. Stone repeats a common fallacy about the beginning of Hamlet.
>>It has been basic soldiering from time immemorial that the man on guard
>>duty always speaks first. "Halt who goes there "or "Halt what is the
>>password" or "Stand and unfold yourself". Why would our Shakespeare get
>>this wrong? Why would he make such a fundamental error?
>Charles Edelman in his essay "Hamlet, soldier manque" (_Around the
>Globe_ 21 (2002) pages 44-45) quotes William Garrard's The Arte of
>"If the Round or any other Officer come to search to watch & Sentinels,
when he doth first heare or see them approch, let him so soone as he doth
perceive them, demand with a lowd voice, Qui va la? Who goes there?"
Happily, military instructions to the approaching soldier coincide with
the effect of the exchange in the play. The soldiers' common knowledge
of the reappearing ghost - and their fear of it - makes the approaching
soldier's question fraught with a nervous element quite beyond military
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