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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: August ::
Seattle All-Female Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0712  Thursday, 3 August 2006

[Editor's Note: This thread will end tomorrow, Friday, August 4.]

[1] 	From: 	John Briggs <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 1 Aug 2006 19:54:05 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet

[2] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 01 Aug 2006 15:55:49 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet

[3] 	From: 	Jeffrey Jordan <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 2 Aug 2006 13:21:59 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Briggs <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 1 Aug 2006 19:54:05 +0100
Subject: 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet

Jeffrey Jordan wrote:

 >Hamlet's "false fire" line is not in Q2.  It appears first in Q1, then
 >the Folio.  So, it's questionable on that basis, since Q1 is so iffy,
 >and is the ultimate source.  The line may be authorial, or it may be
 >actorial.  I'm not sure it's "Shakespeare."

No, no, no.  The Q1 text derives from the F text, so it is hardly 
surprising that the line appears in F!  F is a revised text, but no-one 
suggests that the reviser was anyone other than Shakespeare himself. 
You can't use Q1 as a stick to beat F.

 >Both Hamlet's "false fire" line, and a later "fire" line by Claudius
 >are not in Q2.  Two "fire" lines, neither in Q2.  It's interesting.
 >A person who engaged in wild surmise might wonder if actors
 >were inclined to add "fire" lines, so that they could yell "fire"
 >occasionally to perk up an inattentive audience, and have an
 >excuse for it.  If so, it would be a wicked irony, since the Globe
 >did burn in later years.  Never mind, just one of those thoughts.
 >I wouldn't put it past the actors to do that, tho.

It was "false fire" that caused the burning, as well.  Put it down to 
dramatic irony :-)

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 01 Aug 2006 15:55:49 -0400
Subject: 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet

Jeff Jordan responds to my skepticism by saying:

 > S was marvelously sharp, and I don't think there's any chance
 >he could have missed having the Ghost rise at Ophelia's line.
 >"The King rises."  It's right there.  Others may think S missed
 >such a fine opportunity, but I refuse to believe he did.  He was
 >too sharp, and it's good theater.

Sure, as I said, it would be an interesting staging.  I would find it a 
bit hokey, but maybe that's just me.

But forgive me if I suggest that it seems a wee bit solipsist to say 
that since Shakespeare was a theatrical genius he must have intended a 
staging that one ingenious reader thinks is inevitable.  Maybe 
Shakespeare would have found it hokey too.  I have never heard that any 
production over the past 405 years adopted this device.  If Shakespeare 
couldn't miss it because he was so sharp, was everyone else a dolt?

P.S. There was a typo in my last post.  The ghost's entrance at 
III.iv.102 is 350 lines from "The king rises," not 250.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jeffrey Jordan <
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 >
Date: 		Wednesday, 2 Aug 2006 13:21:59 -0500
Subject: 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0706 Seattle All-Female Hamlet

Replying to Aaron Azlant.

 >In The Mousetrap, Lucianus is not just a character that,
 >like Claudius, murders a king in a garden by pouring
 >poison in his ear-he is also the nephew of his victim,
 >like Hamlet*.  ...

I must disagree.  The Lucianus character is actually supposed to be the 
brother.  Hamlet's word "nephew" is a mistake by him.  Exactly why 
Hamlet made the mistake is debatable.  "Freudian slip" would do, 
offhand.  The 'Mousetrap' is supposed to show Claudius killing his 
brother, so the correct word, that Hamlet should have said, is 
"brother."  Hamlet blundered.

Hamlet is not perfect.  S shows him making mistakes.  S wrote him very 
human.

The name "Lucianus" provides verification that it's a mistake by Hamlet, 
in the context of the exact wording of Hamlet's line.  Hamlet says, 
"This is one Lucianus, nephew to the King."  Why does he say "one?"  I 
mean, why did S add the word "one" to the line?  Not that the "one" is 
incorrect or obtrusive.

S had Hamlet say "one" because of what the name "Lucianus" means.  A 
person must keep in mind that the name is Hamlet's play name for the 
character based on Claudius.  The name is not going to be complimentary.

The prefix is "Luci-" as in 'Lucifer', which is from the Latin for 
"light,"  That leaves the suffix to be "-anus."  As we know, "anus" is 
an English word.  Put the meanings together, and the name means, (I beg 
your pardon,) "bright asshole."  It's Hamlet's name for the character 
based on Claudius.

Then, look at the exact wording of Hamlet's line, knowing that as they 
all sit there watching the play, Hamlet is the nephew to the King.  Read 
the line with the "Lucianus" meaning in place.  The line becomes Hamlet 
announcing, right out loud to everybody: "this is one bright asshole, 
nephew to the King."

But Hamlet is the nephew to the King.  Oops.

Ophelia immediately compliments him: "you're as good as a chorus, my 
Lord!"  It's nice of her to say so, but no, he isn't.  Hamlet, the 
nephew to the King, has just called himself a "bright a--hole" right out 
loud in front of a roomful of people.  If they only knew.

He certainly meant to say "brother."

The line needs the word "one" in it to work as a self-reference by 
Hamlet, along with the "Lucianus" name meaning.  That's why S wrote the 
line with that exact wording.  Also, it's why S used "This" instead of 
"That."  The word "this" has the necessary ambiguity of reference.

However, the 'Mousetrap' audience doesn't know the name meaning, and 
Hamlet doesn't notice his own mistake, so the show goes on.

Burbage played Hamlet, the nephew to the King in the play.  Was 
Shakespeare also having Richard Burbage unknowingly call himself a 
"bright a--hole" at the top of his voice on the public stage?  I've no 
idea.  An idle thought.

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