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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: January ::
Good Marriages in Shakespeare


	

			

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0045  Saturday, 30 January 2010

 

[1] From:    Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:    January 15, 2010 12:31:58 PM EST

     Subj:    Re: SHK 21.0037  Good Marriages in Shakespeare 

 

[2] From:    David Basch < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:    January 15, 2010 3:47:03 PM EST

     Subj:    Re: SHK 21.0037  Good Marriages in Shakespeare 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 15, 2010 12:31:58 PM EST

Subject: 21.0037  Good Marriages in Shakespeare

Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0037  Good Marriages in Shakespeare

 

I'm honestly skeptical of giving to Claudius ("no place indeed should murder sanctuarize") the ethical summary of the play. Villains typically don't get to play that role; in fact, it's usually the reverse.

 

I have always understood this as an ironic comment (by WS, not Claudius) on Hamlet's reluctance to kill Claudius in the "chapel scene."

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:          David Basch < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:          January 15, 2010 3:47:03 PM EST

Subject: 21.0037  Good Marriages in Shakespeare

Comment:       Re: SHK 21.0037  Good Marriages in Shakespeare

 

As his first point, Justin Alexander notes that in Hamlet even Gertrude mentions the hastiness of her marriage to Claudius. But there is no indication that anyone considers this a gross impropriety but merely something that the situation had called for, created by the sudden vacuum of King Hamlet's death and the challenge made by Fortinbras.

 

This outcome is not acceptable to young Hamlet for obvious reasons. But he goes on not only to revile the hasty marriage but also the very idea of a middle-aged Queen seeming to want and enjoy her new marriage. Lynn Brenner commented on Hamlet's reaction as revealing him grossly disgusted at his mother, about which I agree with her reaction to young Hamlet.

 

Concerning Justin's second point, I am not clear as to what he means by the words, "giving to Claudius the ethical summary of the play."

 

From the events of the play to that point it appears that King Claudius is almost perfectly in the right. He justifies the hastiness of the marriage on grounds of necessity, posed by the challenge of Fortinbras that had to be answered. The implication is that it had already been assumed by the Danish court council that Hamlet, who was away at the university, was young and untried and that a mature, capable Claudius answered the country's need.

 

Claudius quickly demonstrates his capability by taking proper diplomatic moves to quiet the challenge, keeping the nation out of war. The new king seemed to have justified to all the wisdom of the decision to raise him to kingship and marriage to the queen. It is within this context that Hamlet reveals his state of mind and disgust at his mother's action. How does this lead to a moral justification of Claudius beyond the immediate setting, in which no one knows that he had murdered his brother?

 

David Basch

 

 

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