The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0593 Friday, 11 December 2009
Date: Thursday, 10 Dec 2009 14:29:44 EST
Subject: Knowing A Hawk from a Handsaw.
HAMLET You are welcome: but my
uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.
GUILDENSTERN In what, my dear lord?
HAMLET I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is
southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Hamlet is angry and appears mad to all who hear him. But his rage is
hardly kept in check when one realizes that he is on a manhunt to the
hunting grounds to avenge his dead relative, his father, slain by his
uncle, devilishly. He looks madly north-north-west, but when the wind is
southerly, hunters and the hawks know the herons (heronshaw) are in
flight, right into the claws of the hunters.
A Southerly Wind
A southerly wind and a cloudy sky
Proclaims of a hunting morning
Before the sun rises away we'll fly
Away from our drowsy beds scorning...
And when the players leave and the hunter's trap is set, Hamlet
soliloquizes: "Now I am alone" and pregnant of his cause to spring the
trapsychologically, for mother, though she have no tongue, "will speak /
With most miraculous organ."
He'll "have grounds more relative than this," (what could be more
relative than uncle-father, aunt-mother) "the play's the thing / Wherein
I'll catch the conscience of the King."
The King flew right onto the trap and took mot-her-on as well.
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