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Home :: Archive :: 2012 :: April ::
Hamlet's Fat


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.146  Monday, 2 April 2012


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

Date:         April 2, 2012 11:02:38 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Fat


Sorry all but I just can’t resist taking one more shot at the “fat” Hamlet business. Gertrude’s usage echoes for me with all the suggestions in Hamlet that the world is in some kind of moral decline, a “drossy age.” It grows fat. So this line glancingly shows “the very age and | body of the time his forme and pressure.”


2743+20 {This is th'Imposthume of much wealth and peace,} 4.4.28

2743+21 {That inward breakes, and showes no cause without} 4.4.29


3330-1 haue {tooke} <taken> note of it, | the age is growne so picked, that the toe of the

3331-3 pesant | coms so neere the {heele} <heeles> of {the} <our> Courtier he galls his | kybe. 


3652-3 {many} <mine> more of the same {breede} <Beauy> | that I know the drossy age dotes on,

3653-4 only got the tune of | the time, and {out of an} <outward> habit of incounter, a

3654-5 kind of {histy} | <yesty> colection, which carries them through and through

3656     the most {prophane and trennowed} <fond and winnowed> opinions, and doe but blowe 5.2.193

3657     them to their {triall,} <tryalls:> the bubbles are out. 5.2.194


So like so many in Hamlet, Gertrude is applying a sort of hackneyed but widely bruited truism to Hamlet, to her own ends—in this case (per Tony Burton) to smooth over discord that threatens to burst its cerements, while allowing Shakespeare to add a few more intertwined threads to the density of his artistic tapestry.


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