The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0839 Sunday, 16 December 2007
Date: Friday, 14 Dec 2007 10:47:55 EST
Subject: 18.0832 Shakespeare as Falstaff
Comment: Re: SHK 18.0832 Shakespeare as Falstaff
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.
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