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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: December ::
Shakespeare as Falstaff
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0839  Sunday, 16 December 2007

From:		Steve Sohmer <
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Date:		Friday, 14 Dec 2007 10:47:55 EST
Subject: 18.0832 Shakespeare as Falstaff
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0832 Shakespeare as Falstaff

Dear Friends,

Don Bloom wrote: "A very interesting post from Steve Sohmer, but when he 
writes, "I'm going to suggest that Shakespeare played both Polonius 
(Ophelia's dad) and Old Hamlet (Hamlet's dad)," he seems to have 
forgotten the fact that the cooling corpse of Polonius is lying on stage 
while King Hamlet appears to his son (though not to his widow)."

Not necessarily. It is clear from the text that Polonius is dead and 
down -- and still concealed behind the arras -- at 3.4.23, which 
requires Hamlet to ask Mom, "Is it the King?"

Despite the way some contemporary directors have blocked the scene, the 
text does not require the corpse of Polonius to lie in view throughout 
the closet scene. Hamlet could just as easily raise the arras at 3.4.25 
to reveal the corpse, then drop it closed at 3.4.34 as he turns on 
Gertrude, "Leave wringing of your hands, etc." Ghost doesn't enter for 
another 60-odd lines, and is long gone at 3.4.211 when Hamlet draws the 
arras, pronounces a two-line encomium, and lugs Polonius' guts away.

Hope this helps.

Steve

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