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Dying Unshriven
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.1090  Tuesday, 12 December 2006

[1] 	From: 	Dan Smith <
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 	Date: 	Monday, 11 Dec 2006 09:52:40 +0000
 	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.1088 Dying Unshriven

[2] 	From: 	Jeffrey Jordan <
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 	Date: 	Monday, 11 Dec 2006 04:54:37 -0600
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1088 Dying Unshriven

[3] 	From: 	Hardy M. Cook <
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 	Date: 	Tuesday, December 12, 2006
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1088 Dying Unshriven


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Dan Smith <
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Date: 		Monday, 11 Dec 2006 09:52:40 +0000
Subject: 17.1088 Dying Unshriven
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.1088 Dying Unshriven

1) Hamlet's inappropriate comedy in response to his murder of Polonius, 
his cool dispatch [unshriven to hell] of R&G and low feeling tone about it 
in retrospect, his egotistical disruption of Ophelia's funeral, his 
carelessness about his own life in the duel - I believe Shakespeare is 
seeking to depict something that we would now label as a psychotic 
breakdown (someone with a lot in common with Macbeth and scoring well in 
DSM IV TR for a lengthy Section).

2) I think that Shakespeare believes that good Kings need to be above 
normal human sentiment but this is also a characteristic of madmen and 
tyrants - I think Shakespeare leaves it as an open question which of the 
three Hamlet would have been if he survived.

3) The interesting question for me in performance is whether Hamlet meets 
his death as a sane man, whether his madness dies before he does...

Dan Smith

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jeffrey Jordan <
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Date: 		Monday, 11 Dec 2006 04:54:37 -0600
Subject: 17.1088 Dying Unshriven
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1088 Dying Unshriven

Replying to Kenneth Chan.

>In response to Will Sharpe's comments, perhaps
>I can amend my statement ...

I don't think amendment is needed.  Your original statement wasn't 
controversial, or at least I didn't see it so, and why it produced the 
response it did is a mystery to me.  If one wants to know what's valid, to 
say about a play, one looks at the entire play, not merely at an excerpt. 
That's so noncontroversial it's a truism, or ought to be.  That's what you 
meant, isn't it?

>if we have to fit our interpretation to the entire
>play ...
>we will find that there is actually very little
>room for multiple varying interpretations.

I'm sure you're right.  The death of Ophelia would be an example, rather 
classic around here by now.  According to what the play dialogue says, she 
either died by accident, or by her own desire.   Characters speak of both 
alternatives; Gertrude speaks of the former, the Clown, the latter.  Those 
are the alternatives in the playscript.  Some other notion, such as that 
Gertrude killed Ophelia, can be easily rejected, because there's no such 
meaning in the words of the play.  No character makes such an accusation.

Replying to Editor.

>[Editor's Note: Regarding "The way to know the meaning of the
>play, as Shakespeare intended, is to look at the words he actually
>used to write the play," please tell me what Shakespeare intended
>when he wrote,

>What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
>Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
>Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
>What's in a name? That which we call a rose
>By any other word would smell as sweet. (Rom. 2.2.82-85, Oxford)

Is that passage supposed to be unfathomable?  Or do I misunderstand what 
you mean?  The meaning seems fairly clear, to me.

In modern printing, put quotes around "Montague."  She says that the name, 
"Montague," is not a physical part of Romeo's physique, like a hand or a 
foot, so his name could be changed with no change to him.   So, she wishes 
he had some other name, which would solve the social problem while leaving 
him as he is.  What's in a name, is nothing physical.  The "rose" lines 
emphasize the point, poetically; change the name, the sweetness is 
untouched.  S's intent in the passage, fundamentally, is to make the point 
that a name is not a physical thing, intrinsic to the person.  Romeo could 
change his name to Ganymede, or Aliena, or Falstaff, and still be the same 
person she loves.  In context, she's musing on getting rid of the 
"Montague? problem, while still keeping him.  Juliet is wishing Romeo's 
last name was Jones.  One could say much more about it, as always.  It 
relates to the change-of-name/change-of-identify concept the Bard used 
fairly often in his plays.

Or do I misunderstand what you're asking?  The passage does have meaning, 
in context, in respect to R & J's situation in the play.

Replying to Joseph Egert.

>... Jeffrey Jordan's roll of unshriven
>deaths in HAMLET omits King Fortinbras, the "first corse"
>of this play. Are we permitted to speculate whether King
>Hamlet's victim died unshriven ...

Yes, I did leave Fortinbrasse Sr out, because of what you mention. 
Horatio described the single combat being done in the formal way, 
ceremonial, all legal and proper, I's dotted, T's crossed.  But I don't 
know if that would include a cleric in attendance.  The 'Hamlet' playtext 
doesn't allude to any cleric for the single combat, as far as I can tell. 
If the Single Combat Rule Book calls for a cleric in attendance, the Bard 
may well have known that, but I don't.

>Jordan's roll goes on to include Gertrude. Yet didn't
>the Prince, acting as her priestly confessor, shrive the
>Queen at least partially during their closet encounter,
>forcing her to confront her own sins. ...

In the Second Quarto, no, she couldn't follow him.  One would have to go 
through the Closet Scene in intimate detail.  There's no royal road 
through Gertrude's closet, in Q2.  It requires a line-by-line and 
phrase-by-phrase examination.  Q1 is different, simpler.  Which version of 
'Hamlet' do you mean?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Subject: 17.1088 Dying Unshriven
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1088 Dying Unshriven

Jeffrey Jordan boldly claimed that "The way to know the meaning of the 
play, as Shakespeare intended, is to look at the words he actually used to 
write the play."

I asked him to tell me what Shakespeare intended when he wrote,

What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet. (Rom. 2.2.82-85, Oxford)

Or

Is it e'en so? Then I defy you, stars. (Rom. 5.1.24, Oxford)?

I was trying to make a point about the confidence displayed by those who 
declare that they can ascertain Shakespeare's intentions or THE 
irrefutable meaning of this, that, or the other thing. I asked that 
Jeffrey explain what Shakespeare INTENDED when he wrote the two passages 
that I quoted from the Oxford Shakespeare. What I was attempting to 
demonstrate was that we cannot confidently say what Shakespeare INTENDED 
because we cannot confidently claim that Shakespeare, in fact, wrote these 
passages, and I am here not drifting into the forbidden authorship zone. 
We have no original witness to these words being written in these word 
orders: these passages have been constructed by editors. In my note, I 
quoted from the Oxford Shakespeare. For the following, I am using the 
edition of <I>Romeo and Juliet</I> edited by Roger Apfelbaum for the 
Internet Shakespeare Editions, Coordinating Editor, Michael Best: 
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/Texts/Rom/#versionM. What follows illustrates 
the amazing usefulness of the Internet Shakespeare Editions and some of 
the ways its wealth of information can be harnessed for critical 
discourse.

Q1: AN EXCELLENT conceited Tragedie OF Romeo and Iuliet. (1597)

Whats <I>Mountague?</I> It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, nor any other part.
Whats in a name? That which we call a Rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet:

Diplomatic Transcription: http://ise.uvic.ca/Annex/Texts/Rom/Q1/Page/22
Facsimile: 
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/BL_Q1_Rom/24/?size=small&view_mode=normal&content_type=

Q2: THE MOST EX / ellent and lamentable Tragedie, of Romeo and <I>Iuliet 
Newly corrected, augmented, and amended:</I> As it hath bene sundry times 
publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his 
Seruants  (1599)

Whats <I>Mountague</I>? it is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme nor face, ^o be some other name
Belonging to a man.
Whats in a name that which we call a rose,
By any other word would smell as sweete,

Diplomatic Transcription:
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/Texts/Rom/Q2/Page/25
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/Texts/Rom/Q2/Page/26
Facsimile:
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/BL_Q2_Rom/27/?size=large&view_mode=normal&content_type=
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/BL_Q2_Rom/28/?size=large&view_mode=normal&content_type=

F1: THE TRAGEDIE OF ROMEO and IVLIET. (1623)

What's <I>Mountague</I>? it is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, O be some other name
Belonging to a man.
What? in a names that which we call a Rose,
By any other word would smell as sweete,

Diplomatic Transcription: http://ise.uvic.ca/Annex/Texts/Rom/F1/Page/7
Facsimile: 
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/SLNSW_F1/675/?size=large&view_mode=normal&content_type=

Modern:

What's Montague? It is nor hand nor foot,
Nor arm nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. Oh, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.
(http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/Texts/Rom/M/Scene/2.2)

Q1: Is it euen so? then I defie my Starres.
http://ise.uvic.ca/Annex/Texts/Rom/Q1/Page/65

Q2: Is it in so? then I denie you starres.
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/Texts/Rom/Q2/Page/77

F1: Is it euen so?
Then I denie you Starres.
http://ise.uvic.ca/Annex/Texts/Rom/F1/Page/22

Modern: Is it e'en so? Then I defy you, stars! --
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/Texts/Rom/M/Scene/5.1

I was apprehensive when I posted Louis Swilley's initial inquiry in this 
thread. I feared that the discussion would migrate away from matters of 
"dying unshriven" and into more expansive and speculative matters as it 
has. For this reason, I am closing this thread now. Of course, anyone 
desiring to carry on this conversation is welcome to do so privately.

Hardy

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