The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0278 Thursday, 5 April 2007
Date: Wednesday, 4 Apr 2007 21:56:30 -0500
Subject: 18.0264 Gertrude done her in?
Comment: Re: SHK 18.0264 Gertrude done her in?
I believe it must have been 50 years ago as an undergraduate that I
first came across Eric Partridge's excellent book "Shakespeare's Bawdy"
at the Lamont Library. I am quite confident that Gertrude's speech is
much more than a report of a messenger.
The report is in fact a prime example of Shakespeare's linguistic
ability to allude and give innuendo to an abusive sexual imagery that
informs Ophelia's life and leads to her madness and death.
A clear understanding of this report will completely reverse those
readings of Hamlet that choose to white wash aspects of the drama,
especially as it relates to Polonius, that some readers find it not
pleasant to examine.
Elliott H. Stone
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