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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
HAMLET's Thirties
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0121  Monday, 6 March 2006

From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Monday, 06 Mar 2006 00:53:36 +0000
Subject: 	HAMLET's Thirties

Steve Sohmer writes [SHK 17.0071]:

 >I have argued elsewhere that Hamlet was conceived prior to the
 >marriage of Old Hamlet and Gertrude. Under prevailing law, that
 >made him a bastard eigne whose right to the succession could have
 >been vacated had Gertrude born Claudius a son in wedlock.

Dr Sohmer draws his conclusion from the following passage (Act 3;Sc2) 
among others:

     "Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
      Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed ground,
      And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen
      About the world have times twelve thirties been
      Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
      Unite commutual in most sacred bands."

Dr Sohmer interprets Phoebus' "thirty times" as thirty days, not years; 
and the "thirty dozen moons" as an additional 360 synodal months.

Does anyone else, past or present, agree?

Skeptical,
Joe Egert

[Editor's Note: I would like to give exegesis of _Hamlet_ a rest from 
list discussions for a while. I agree with Holger Schott Syme 
perceptively wrote on November 15, 2005:

Unquestionably _Hamlet_ is a play worthy of much critical attention, but 
its exegesis takes up an excessive amount of space on this listserv (and 
it is of course no coincidence that it's usually the same 10-15 people 
driving those discussions). The list has many well-established figures 
as lurkers who only very occasionally participate in discussions, but 
that is not, I don't think, a sign of academic snobbery or indifference; 
rather, the kinds of arguments that keep reappearing in slightly 
different guises on this list are simply irrelevant to the vast majority 
of scholars working in the field today . . . I frankly don't understand 
why some subjects which _should_ be allowed to develop (the recent 
debate over stage-railings is a case in point: to theatre historians at 
least that's a subject worthy of extended discussion!) are treated the 
same as issues that are clearly only of interest to an extremely 
self-selecting group (almost any thread on _Hamlet_, for instance). My 
main objection is that many of the latter threads incessantly go over 
ground covered in innumerable previous discussions, are more or less out 
of touch with the current state of the field, and often revolve around 
subjects well-treated in the existing (older) literature. 
<http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2005/1893.html>]

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