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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Hamlet an Allegory
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1604  Saturday, 24 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	Bill Arnold <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Sep 2005 12:58:43 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1586 Hamlet an Allegory

[2] 	From: 	Steve Roth <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Sep 2005 13:34:35 -0700
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1556 Hamlet an Allegory


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Arnold <
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Date: 		Thursday, 22 Sep 2005 12:58:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1586 Hamlet an Allegory
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1586 Hamlet an Allegory

V. K. Inman writes, "Having been a soldier, actually a Marine, in 
Vietnam in 1969-70, I recall the challenge differs as regards which side 
of line the soldier is approached from.  If approached from within 
friendly lines in times of combat, the challenge indeed may be, 'Who 
goes there?'  If, however,  certain rustlings are heard from outside the 
lines the challenge usually consisted of, 'Di di mau (get out of here) 
M----er F---er,' followed by a grenade and a magazine of ammo. V. K. 
Inman Lt. Col. USMC Ret."

Very good point!  And I will relate this to Hamlet, Act I.  When in the 
USAF on a SAC base [to be unnamed, but overseas, in the 1950s during the 
cold war] I did guard duty one night with several others inside a wire 
fence perimeter with a dark treed forest outside, and one of the guards 
was hollering, "who goes there," and emptied his M-14 into the dark 
night when the intruder hit the fence.  The next morning they found a 
dead horse.  In the case of Hamlet, we do overlook the nature of guard 
duty and the extreme edginess of those on watch.  We note in Act I that 
there was fear, anxiety, sword play with a spirit, and from it all came 
the entire premise for the climax and resolution of the drama as things 
unfolded.  I am reminded of the concept of *Watch* in the NT which 
Shakespeare was amply familiar with, and the edginess of those on watch 
for their moment with ultimate truth: fear of the Unknown, fear of the 
Nature of Spirits, and fear of Death!

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Steve Roth <
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Date: 		Thursday, 22 Sep 2005 13:34:35 -0700
Subject: 16.1556 Hamlet an Allegory
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1556 Hamlet an Allegory

Gabriel Egan:

 >"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?"

I've seen this before, but found it less than useful because I find the 
first "he" to be decidedly ambiguous. Ambiguous to the point that I'm 
not completely sure which side Gabriel is arguing here.

I think that "he" most likely refers to the sentinel, who's standing 
still. On hearing the approach of the officer making the rounds, the 
sentinel should say "who's there?"

If that's right, we still have a conundrum. Are there other similar 
sixteenth-century passages that shed light?

An anonymous commentator who the MLA Variorum editors take to be George 
Henry Lewes concluded in 1847 that Barnardo's call is fairly simply 
explained (though Lewes spends far too many words explaining it): he is 
afraid that the ghost is approaching, so a he calls out.

http://www.leoyan.com/global-language.com/ENFOLDED/output4.php?file=HWORKS0000/HW-3-4cn.xml

Saying that Hamlet is an allegory, by the way, is like saying that a 
jaguar (organic or mechanical) is a bicycle.

Steve

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