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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
What Happens in "Hamlet"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1647  Tuesday, 27 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	Arnie Perlstein <
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	Date: 	Monday, 26 Sep 2005 21:46:47 -0400
	Subj: 	What Happens in Hamlet?

[2] 	From: 	Kezia Vanmeter Sproat <
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	Date: 	Monday, 26 Sep 2005 22:04:34 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1625 What Happens in "Hamlet"

[3] 	From: 	Sebastian Perry <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 27 Sep 2005 09:34:55 +0100 (BST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1625 What Happens in "Hamlet"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Arnie Perlstein <
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Date: 		Monday, 26 Sep 2005 21:46:47 -0400
Subject: 	What Happens in Hamlet?

"Since the ghost walks at the same hour each night, it is to be expected 
that the sentry on duty at that time, but not the sentry he relieves, 
would be alert to the possibility.  Lines 5 and 6 heighten this 
impression-Barnardo is careful to arrive on time and eager to spare 
Francisco the horror or to prevent the incident from becoming general 
knowledge."

Larry, the answer is obvious--we've been sleeping through our collective 
watch, to have missed such a brilliant (and in hindsight, obvious) stroke.

"To my mind, "Who's there?" is the most dramatically effective opening 
line in all of literature."

It's hard to think of a better one, I agree. How to create a sense of 
mystery and fear, but also existential, metaphysical searching for 
answers, in two short ordinary words!

Arnie Perlstein
Weston, Florida

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kezia Vanmeter Sproat <
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Date: 		Monday, 26 Sep 2005 22:04:34 -0400
Subject: 16.1625 What Happens in "Hamlet"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1625 What Happens in "Hamlet"

Larry Weiss wrote: To my mind, "Who's there?" is the most dramatically 
effective opening line in all of literature.

Agreed. I'll risk repeating a most successful teaching experience: 
Spring 1978, Ohio Wesleyan; first day freshman composition, divided the 
class into 4's, each group to perform the first 22 lines of Hamlet the 
next day. They loved it. One student, from a strong family of 
scientists, chose instead to teach high school English.

And while I'm here: Anyone in southern Ohio who wants to join a new 
intergenerational group called "Morgann's Readers" should write to me 
off-list. Based on Maurice Morgann's 1757 brag re. Shakespeare that 
mentions the Appalachian mountains and the Ohio and Scioto Rivers, we'll 
simply meet monthly and read plays aloud, probably at the Pump House 
Center for the Arts. We'll start with Hamlet! [Just decided which play 
to begin with right here on SHAKSPER.]

Kezia Vanmeter Sproat

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sebastian Perry <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 27 Sep 2005 09:34:55 +0100 (BST)
Subject: 16.1625 What Happens in "Hamlet"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1625 What Happens in "Hamlet"

Larry Weiss wrote:

 >To my mind, "Who's there?" is the most dramatically effective opening
 >line [in] all of literature.

My undergraduate tutor once pointed out to me (and it has stuck with me 
ever since) that this kind of claim is utterly meaningless unless one 
has actually read all of literature. What you mean is that it's the most 
dramatically effective opening line of anything you've read.

Seb Perry

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