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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: February ::
Deceitful Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0062  Monday, 20 February 2006

[1] 	From: 	Bill Arnold <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 08:06:19 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0038 Deceitful Plays

[2] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 16 Feb 2006 16:07:47 +0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0038 Deceitful Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Arnold <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 08:06:19 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 17.0038 Deceitful Plays
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0038 Deceitful Plays

Joseph Egert writes, "Early in HAMLET, Claudius chastises the 
inky-garbed Prince for his unmanly grief as 'a fault to nature...whose 
common theme/Is death of fathers.../From the first corse till he that 
died today...' Did the first corpse Abel die a natural death? Does 
anyone in this tragedy, parent or child, die a natural death? Is this 
Shakespeare's way of slyly reminding us that unnatural manslaughter 
comes naturally to Fallen Man?"

I think not.  Let us be scholarly and cite specifically Act I, Scene II, 
as the source.  First of all, this is the new king's scene: Claudius 
deals with affairs of state with Norway; then Laertes and Polonius, the 
father of Laertes and the culprit admin under the new king; then his 
queen, the former queen and all that baggage brought to bear from act 
one information; and the dialogue suggests that all this setup to a 
discussion of the dark cloud hanging over the head of Prince Hamlet is 
just that: a setup!  This act two follows act one which clearly focuses 
on the old king and his son who establish the premise of the play that 
the new king is evil and usurped the throne: and *caveat emptor,* to the 
audience and to readers alike.  Clearly, I am not buying any of that 
doom and gloom of Claudius!

Thus, it is contrary to textual reading that this conclusion of Claudius 
that his evil premise should stick in our sides.  Instead, I stand on it 
as the machinations of an evil man.  And any member of the audience or a 
reasonable reader of the text would share this conclusion.  All deceit 
at this point in the play is caused by the antagonist.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Thursday, 16 Feb 2006 16:07:47 +0000
Subject: 17.0038 Deceitful Plays
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0038 Deceitful Plays

Jim Blackie reassures us: Shakespeare "was by no means some Elizabethan 
celebrity winking at the audience..."

Quite the contrary, Jim. I believe Myriad Man was winking with both 
eyes: one at his coterie, allowing them the frisson of insider 
recognition; the other at his own reflection, for evasively exposing the 
contradictions of the sociopolitical apparatus. Why else deploy so many 
plot points, metaphors, and figures that challenge and subvert his 
surface meanings?

Joe Egert

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