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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1395  Thursday, 25 August 2005

[1] 	From: 	Stephen Rose <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 24 Aug 2005 05:38:53 -0700
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

[2] 	From: 	Kevin De Ornellas <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 24 Aug 2005 13:44:34 +0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

[3] 	From: 	Jim Blackie <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 24 Aug 2005 12:23:15 -0400 (EDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1358 Shylock, Hamlet, et al

[4] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 24 Aug 2005 18:00:12 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stephen Rose <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 24 Aug 2005 05:38:53 -0700
Subject: 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Kenneth Chan Writes:

In the end, I believe we would be more likely to interpret Shakespeare 
correctly if we accept that he did intend to convey profound messages, 
and that he did carefully craft his plays for this purpose. END QUOTE

I think he crafted his plays to entertain, that he was a genius who 
brought his mind to the entertainment, that his brilliance is so diffuse 
that it is prodigal. And that he therefore left us with a surfeit. I do 
not think there are that many authors who say I will try to convey a 
profound message and craft my play to do so. Maybe Mao had he written 
plays. I think Shakespeare had a more open mind and thought many things 
about many things. A moralist he was not. Goddard remains the best 
interpreter of his general drift and I do think that comports with 
Kenneth's general drift. Best, S

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kevin De Ornellas <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 24 Aug 2005 13:44:34 +0000
Subject: 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Kenneth Chan insists: "I am trying to make the important point that 
Shakespeare's messages are directed squarely at us (including myself), 
the average person".

Could Kenneth Chan define exactly what an "average person" is? What sort 
of qualities does one need to become "average". How does one qualify to 
join this club of the "average"? What sort of person is excluded from 
this "average" status? In a poem addressed to Kingsley Amis' infant 
daughter, Philip Larkin expresses his hope that the subject will develop 
into an "ordinary" person with "average" attributes. Like Kenneth Chan, 
Larkin refers casually to - but fails to define - the precise nature of 
the "average". One of the most exciting things about Shakespearean 
scholarship over the past decade or so has been the dignification and 
validation of many different audiences' responses to Shakespeare. 
Different audiences in different geographical and social contexts and at 
different historical moments react very differently to Shakespeare. To 
write vaguely about a Shakespearean impact upon "the average person" 
seems to jar with the academy's new-found appreciation of variegated, 
unapologetically subjective responses to Shakespearean performances and 
texts. I don't think that there is any such thing as an "average" 
response to Shakespeare; indeed, I don't believe that there is any such 
thing as an "average person".

Kevin De Ornellas
Queen's University, Belfast

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jim Blackie <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 24 Aug 2005 12:23:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 16.1358 Shylock, Hamlet, et al
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1358 Shylock, Hamlet, et al

Joseph Egert asked us "WHO then is Hamlet's father?"

I readily enjoyed the surmises and implications that Mr. Egert gave us - 
food for thought. And while I might entertain the notion that Claudius 
may be such a candidate, supported by some evidence given by the ghost 
consisting of his wife's cheating on him (as the song asks, "How long 
has this been going on?"), the reactions of Gertrude toward Claudius 
throughout, the "o'er hasty marriage" and other little "clues;" I still 
wonder about what the impact would be if considered in light of the 
entire "ghostly visitation" scenes? I assume the ghost would know the 
parentage truth as well as he knows of his own murder? Would he be as 
invested in Hamlet's avenging his death as he is? Perhaps, in that it 
gives perverse satisfaction to the ghost that he has his brother 
murdered by his brother's son... This is a new notion and I appreciate 
the thought behind it and the fact that it led me to follow my own 
rationale in re-examining the play in light of the possibility.

But Polonius? Are you being facetious, Mr. Egert? I confess I can't 
tell. Then the "Changeling" and "Nativity" considerations?! This seems 
tongue-in-cheek and follows a circuitous path throughout not the play, 
but much of everything else. I just cannot believe that there is nothing 
that was intended for the audience to know or suppose that is not 
clearly extant in the body of the play itself. We can read things into 
the play and these thoughts are as wonderful and fun to enjoy as the 
"real thing" but surely these more outlandish interpretations could 
never have been on the Bard's mind as he dipped pen in ink? I find the 
possibility frightening, because I will NEVER be able to decipher these 
plays without someone providing me a road map.

Gee, I just got into this about a year or so ago and thought I was doing 
pretty well... Now I don't know.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 24 Aug 2005 18:00:12 +0000
Subject: 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1380 Shylock, Hamlet, et al.

Stuart Manger asks, "Does it matter who the hell Hamlet's father is/was?"

It clearly mattered to Hamlet and Brutus, to their creator, and to his 
audience then (and now?). In fact, both Renaissance Humanism and the 
Reformation can be seen as quests for the authentic classical and sacred 
Father with Hamlet caught in these struggles (a Luther/Essex/Sydney figure).

Let's push the hare along.

The "King that was and is the question of these Wars" may have been 
Henry VIII, the"bloat king" and "puff'd reckless libertine"--the levir 
for his late childless brother Arthur. Henry had his own Round Table 
designed with his royal mug as legendary King Arthur. The intricate 
issues of bastardy, incest, and temporal/religious usurpation 
surrounding Henry and his many unloves are clearly reflected in the play 
and have no doubt been aired in this Forum. I'd only note that 
Shakespeare deviated from his sources in naming both father and son 
Hamlet, as was customary in levirate marriage where the son was named 
after his late childless father. Is Claudius the levir here to childless 
King Hamlet? "Claudius" also recalls of course the Roman emperor, uncle 
to the incestuous brother/sister pair Caligula and Drusilla (Hamlet and 
Ophelia?). Finally, {WARNING: SPECULATION ALERT} some scholars believe 
the original King Arthur (the illegtimate Cerdig of Wessex) may have 
been grandson to the original Hamlet (Amlawdd) in Welsh tradition.

On with the hunt!
Joe Egert

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