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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: February ::
Solid Flesh
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0095  Thursday, 14 February 2008

[1] 	From:	Cheryl Newton <
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	Date:	Monday, 11 Feb 2008 13:13:53 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0090 Solid Flesh

[2] 	From:	Connie Geller <
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	Date:	Monday, 11 Feb 2008 14:15:46 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0090 Solid Flesh

[3] 	From:	William Godshalk <
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	Date:	Monday, 11 Feb 2008 22:46:28 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0090 Solid Flesh

[4] 	From:	Aaron Azlant <
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	Date:	Monday, 11 Feb 2008 23:38:00 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0090 Solid Flesh


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Cheryl Newton <
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Date:		Monday, 11 Feb 2008 13:13:53 -0500
Subject: 19.0090 Solid Flesh
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0090 Solid Flesh

I've always thought of this as "solid flesh," while the speech ends not 
with "a dew" but "adieu." As early as this, Hamlet is contemplating suicide.

Cheryl Newton

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Connie Geller <
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Date:		Monday, 11 Feb 2008 14:15:46 -0500
Subject: 19.0090 Solid Flesh
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0090 Solid Flesh

I hope a non-scholar can venture a question here: Is there any 
possibility that "a dew" is meant to be adieu"? That would leave the 
ambiguity of "solid" open.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		William Godshalk <
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Date:		Monday, 11 Feb 2008 22:46:28 -0500
Subject: 19.0090 Solid Flesh
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0090 Solid Flesh

Gordon Williams in his Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in 
Shakespearean and Stuart Literature defines "dew" as "sexual emission." 
Williams defines "flesh" (entry 5), as "allusive of erection." I leave 
"solid flesh" to your imagination. Of course, you will point out that 
this is completely out of context. Hamlet could hardly be referring to 
coition at this point in the action, could he? Well, two points: death 
is a well known aphrodisiac, and Shakespeare could never resist a pun 
(as Johnson almost said).

Bill

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Aaron Azlant <
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Date:		Monday, 11 Feb 2008 23:38:00 -0500
Subject: 19.0090 Solid Flesh
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0090 Solid Flesh

Please pardon a moderate diversion from the topic at hand, but whatever 
the resolution of sallied /sullied / solid (and there are a number of 
convincing cases for the latter in this thread), I find it interesting 
that the same line also contains "too too" and appears in a speech that 
evolves into a discussion of the two months since King Hamlet has passed.

I don't remember if I've bombarded this list with an inventory of the 
many superfluous doubles in Hamlet, but these range quite spectacularly 
from doubled characters such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (and the 
Ambassadors and Voltemond / Cornelius) to the double interruptions of 
the ghost in the first scene (while characters discuss what they have 
twice seen two nights' previously) to, as George Wright discusses, the 
many hendiadys constructions ("slings AND arrows", "stand AND unfold") 
in the play.

"Too too" risks an roll of the eyes, I know, because it doesn't call 
much attention to itself-certainly less attention than I have called to 
it-but it does have something of an subsequent revival in "double, 
double, toil and trouble." I am happy to expand the above list upon 
request (and ad nauseum); The Mousetrap contains an unusually large 
number of doubles. The pattern is throughout Shakespeare but is most 
prevalent in Hamlet and is maybe the most impressively diverse motif 
that I know of in literature.

--Aaron Azlant


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