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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: January ::
Collapsing Ambiguities in Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.004  Tuesday, 6 January 2009

From:        Alan Pierpoint <
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Date:        Friday, 21 Nov 2008 01:05:23 -0500
Subject: 19.0662 Collapsing Ambiguities in Hamlet
Comment:     Re: SHK 19.0662 Collapsing Ambiguities in Hamlet

Would we say then that Claudius "collapses" Hamlet's implied insult in 
I.ii -- I shall in all my best obey you -- into a "loving and fair 
reply" and a "gentle and unforced accord," of which it is obviously 
neither?  The pattern of coded provocation by Hamlet and feigned 
incomprehension by Claudius persists through The Mousetrap into Act IV 
(I see a cherub that sees them), creating dramatic tension and 
foregrounding the fact that neither antagonist feels strong enough to 
move openly against the other, and finally reaching absurdity in V,ii 
(She swoons to see them bleed.) Claudius can do no more collapsing; he's 
lost what the Bushies would call the power to make his own meaning just 
as he's lost control over his Switzers.

-Alan Pierpoint


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