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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: April ::
Dumbshows?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0354  Tuesday, 25 April 2006

[1] 	From: 	David Bishop <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 01:39:10 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0345 Dumbshows?

[2] 	From: 	Jack Heller <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 08:08:05 -0400 (EDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0345 Dumbshows?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Bishop <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 01:39:10 -0500
Subject: 17.0345 Dumbshows?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0345 Dumbshows?

Kenneth Chan says I suggested that "Claudius does get disturbed by [the 
dumbshow], at least at a subconscious level."

I said nothing about Claudius's subconscious. No doubt Kenneth Chan's 
subconscious supplied the reference.

I don't think talking about a character's subconscious is necessarily 
wrong, as when a character, for example, wonders why he has not done 
something he has every reason to do. But it's a delicate matter. It's 
hard to stick to just the level of suggestion put there by Shakespeare 
and not push it too far, into what is often misleadingly called treating 
a character as a real person. To experience, let alone understand, the 
play we have to treat the characters as people, in a sense. To 
understand what's happening, and why, you have to enter into the 
imaginative world of the play, without letting your imagination run 
wild, as for example by imagining that Claudius significantly fails to 
react to the dumbshow.

Psychoanalytic criticism supplies plenty of examples of how criticism 
can spill sloppily out of the bounds of the play, though whether its 
characteristic ways of going wrong should really be described as 
"treating characters as real people" can be questioned, along with the 
truth of psychoanalytic theory. To take a clearer example, Terence 
Hawkes believes that Fortinbras's "and for his passage,/The soldier's 
music and the rite of war/Speak loudly for him" refers to Claudius. If 
this were life, this final attention to the king would be plausible. But 
it's a play, and The Tragedy of Hamlet does not end with the funeral of 
Claudius.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jack Heller <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 08:08:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 17.0345 Dumbshows?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0345 Dumbshows?

Dumbshows are a significant topic, and in particular the one in HAMLET. 
  However, I would suggest that much of this subject has been discussed 
at length in 2004's Murder of Gonzago thread, which I remember as the 
longest thread I ever started. (Perhaps I still owe Hardy my regrets for 
that one.)The thread may be found in SHAKSPER's archives.

Heller

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