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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: December ::
Jude Law Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0616  Friday, 18 December 2009

[1] From:   David Evett <
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     Date:   Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009 21:30:04 -0500
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0608 Jude Law Hamlet

[2] From:   Aaron Azlant <
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     Date:   Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 18:23:25 -0500
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0608 Jude Law Hamlet

[3] From:   John W Kennedy <
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     Date:   Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 22:01:59 -0500
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0601 Jude Law Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       David Evett <
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Date:       Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009 21:30:04 -0500
Subject: 20.0608 Jude Law Hamlet
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0608 Jude Law Hamlet

 >(As a staging gimmick for the actress it might work well, but it
 >depends on adding Gertrude's incessant drinking, something not
 >even suggested in the text.)

The boozer approach to the play was taken in Tony Richardson's film 
(1969), with Anthony Hopkins as Claudius, Judy Parfitt as Gertrude, and 
Nicol Williamson as a dismally lugubrious Hamlet; the royal couple are 
never more than a step or two away from a glass of wine (and unable to 
keep the hands not occupied with the wine glasses off each other). Not 
my favorite, but it makes a certain sense.

If not being suggested in the text were a decisive criterion for 
features of the productions of Shakespeare most of us are likely to see, 
we would not see many.

Patiently,
Dave Evett

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Aaron Azlant <
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Date:       Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 18:23:25 -0500
Subject: 20.0608 Jude Law Hamlet
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0608 Jude Law Hamlet

I just wanted to note that, although the judgment that Claudius is a 
drunk belongs to Hamlet, it does not necessarily belong to me. Sometimes 
ideas affix themselves to characters without those ideas *necessarily* 
being reflections on the characters themselves: consider how inopportune 
things always happen to Vincent Vega in /Pulp Fiction/ whenever he gets 
anywhere near a bathroom. No interpretive leap necessary here: the idea 
of drink is around Claudius, and is present generally in the play, but 
this doesn't necessarily mean that Hamlet's interpretation is the 
correct one (although it is clearly possible).

The idea of Gertrude-as-drunk is similar, though I like it because it is 
unexpected.

V/r,
Aaron

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John W Kennedy <
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Date:       Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 22:01:59 -0500
Subject: 20.0601 Jude Law Hamlet
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0601 Jude Law Hamlet

From:       Larry Weiss <
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 >

 >There is one character who I think should be seen as an alcoholic:
 >Gertrude. Consider that drunkenness explains much of her conduct,
 >or lack thereof. Most especially, consider Hamlet's diatribe against
 >drink,  a Danish custom of which he disapproves even though he is
 >both "native here*AND* to the manner born." The lawyer in me
 >demands that we give significance to both statements; there is no
 >reason to think they are redundant. So, if Hamlet is "born" to
 >alcoholism, who is his alcoholic parent?  There is no reason to think
 >that he regards Hamlet pere as having been a drunk, and unless he
 >believes (along with T. Hawkes) that he is the bastard son of Claudius,
 >the election must light on Gertrude.

It is indeed common among both directors and actresses to see Gertrude 
as being a bit tipsy, and I am inclined to agree, but I see no reason to 
interpret "I am native here and to the manner born" as particularly 
supporting the notion. The plain reading of the clause is that Hamlet is 
speaking of a national custom, not a family weakness.

John W Kennedy A proud member of the reality-based community.

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