Hamlet’s Abrupt Reversal at III.4.125-130

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.100  Friday, 9 March 2012

 

From:        Andrew Wilson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 9, 2012 12:17:54 AM EST

Subject:     Hamlet’s Abrupt Reversal at III.4.125-130

 

Hamlet III.4.125-130 has me puzzled.  Here it is with surrounding text added.

 

Queen

                                          . . . O gentle son,

Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper

Sprinkle cool patience.  Whereon do you look?

 

Hamlet

On him, on him.  Look you how pale he glares.

His form and cause conjoin’d, preaching to stones,

Would make them capable.--Do not look upon me,

Lest with this piteous action you convert

My stern effects.  Then what I have to do

Will want true colour -- tears perchance for blood.

 

Queen

To whom do you speak this?

 

Hamlet

Do you see nothing there?

 

Queen

Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.

(Ham III.4.122-133 Arden II)

 

Here is my reading:

 

First . . . line 125 up to the hyphen in line 127 . . . Hamlet is talking to his mother about the ghost.  She asks the question “Whereon do you look?”  And Hamlet responds, “On him, on him . . .”

 

Second . . . after the hyphen in line 127 through line 130 . . . Something shifts at the hyphen.  All of a sudden Hamlet is now talking directly to the ghost.  He must be addressing the ghost based on Gertrude’s “To whom do you speak this?”  (Obviously Gertrude thinks Hamlet is talking to somebody else, not her.)  and also, Hamlet’s response, “Do you see nothing there?” (Hamlet agrees.  He was talking to somebody else, the ghost Gertrude can’t see.)

 

Third . . . If the above two points are correct then Hamlet’s speech contains a spectacular, turn-on-a-dime reversal I had not appreciated before.  Line 126 up to the hyphen in line 127 loosely paraphrased is, “Who could look on him (i.e. the ghost) and not take up his cause?”  The last half of line 127 to line 130 loosely paraphrased is, “Stop looking at me lest I lose my resolve to carry out your will”.  A direct contradiction.

 

Wow!  What a turnaround in only four lines!  Is my reading legitimate or do I jump off the rails somewhere?  What alternative readings are possible?  If you agree with my reading, what do you think explains Hamlet’s abrupt reversal?

 

Thanks,

Andrew Wilson

Stacy Keach, The Shakespeare Society, “Shakespeare’s Sisters”

 

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.099  Friday, 9 March 2012

 

From:        John F Andrews <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Thursday, 8 Mar 2012 14:27:14 -0700

Subject:     Stacy Keach, The Shakespeare Society, “Shakespeare’s Sisters” 

_________________________________________

A Conversation with Actor Stacy Keach

MONDAY, MARCH 19, at 8:00 p.m.  

DICAPO OPERA THEATRE, 184 East 76th Street, Manhattan

General Admission $30; Special Discount $25

 

STACY KEACH is currently starring in Broadway’s acclaimed Other Desert Cities. Best known to many of his television fans as Mickey Spillane detective Mike Hammer, Mr. Keach is also familiar for such popular films as Brewster McCloud, Doc, End of the Road, Escape from LA, Fat City, Luther, Nice Dreams, That Championship Season, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Killer Inside Me, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The New Centurians, The Ninth Configuration, and Up in Smoke. But what he finds most satisfying is the Shakespearean acting he has done in such classic roles as Falstaff, Henry V, King Lear, Macbeth, and Richard III. Clive Barnes, who observed a number of superb Hamlets during his many years as drama critic for the New York Times, has commented that the best ever “was Keach, whose neurotic passion and fierce poetry were quite wonderful.” Described by one reviewer as “the finest American classical actor since John Barrymore,” Mr. Keach has received a Golden Globe, three Obies, and multiple nominations for Emmy and Tony awards. Last year he garnered his third Helen Hayes Award for a Kennedy Center production of Frost/Nixon in which he portrayed a disgraced former President. Mr. Keach has performed not only on Broadway but in such additional settings as Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, Lincoln Center, the National Theatre of Great Britain, the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the London West End’s Wyndham Theatre. He was recently honored with the prestigious Millennium Recognition Award for his many contributions to the classical repertory.

 

This event will be hosted by Artistic Director MICHAEL CAPASSO of the Dicapo Opera Theatre and co-sponsored by The Shakespeare Society, whose Artistic Director, MICHAEL SEXTON, will join the Guild’s JOHN ANDREWS in conversation with Mr. Keach. It is open to the general public at $30 (plus a $3 service charge for orders placed online). For tickets at the $25 member rate (plus a $2.50 service charge for orders placed online), visit http://www.smarttix.com/show.aspx?showcode=CON100, click on the “Enter Discount Code” link below the “General Admission” price, type in SHAKES, click on the “Use Code” box to the immediate right, and then click on “Find Tickets” to proceed. If you have any difficulty with these steps, simply reply to this e-mail or call (505) 988-9560, and the Guild will be happy to assist you. For the Dicapo Box Office, call (212) 288-9438, extension 10.

 

_________________________________________

An Evening with The Shakespeare Society

TUESDAY, MARCH 20, at 8:00 p.m.  

NATIONAL ARTS CLUB, 15 Gramercy Park South, Manhattan

No Admission Charge, but Reservations Requested

 

Since its founding by Nancy Becker and Adriana Mnuchin in 1997, THE SHAKESPEARE SOCIETY has presented scores of challenging programs for general audiences and served thousands of students and teachers through its many educational initiatives. We’re thus delighted to welcome Executive Director MADELINE AUSTIN, Artistic Director MICHAEL SEXTON, and Society board President K. ANN MCDONALD, who’ll talk with the Guild’s JOHN ANDREWS about the Society’s history, mission, and recent offerings, among them evenings with such stars as F. Murray Abraham, Zoe Caldwell, Richard Easton, Ralph Fiennes, Roger Rees, and Marian Seldes. Ms. Austin is an experienced Off-Broadway producer, actor, and theater administrator. For a decade she worked alongside Gerald Schoenfeld, legendary Chairman of the Shubert Organization, and for five years in Washington she was a performing member of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s touring company. Mr. Sexton recently directed Titus Andronicus for the Public Theater. Last spring he created Margaret: A Tyger’s Heart, a Red Bull Theater adaptation of the three Henry VI plays and Richard III. He has directed for the Humana Festival, the Juilliard School, New Dramatists, NYTW, NYU, Soho Rep, and the Sundance Theater Lab. A litigator who is now affiliated with Robinson McDonald & Canna, Ms. McDonald has served on the Society’s board since 1998 and presided over it as President since 2007. 

 

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Georgianna Ziegler & ‘Shakespeare’s Sisters’

MONDAY, APRIL 16, at 8:00 p.m.  

NATIONAL ARTS CLUB, 15 Gramercy Park South, Manhattan

No Admission Charge, but Reservations Requested

 

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf lamented that if Shakespeare had “had a wonderfully gifted sister, called Judith,” she would never have been able to develop her talents and achieve success in  the way her famous brother did. Perhaps so. But in Edward Rothstein’s enthusiastic February 24 New York Times review of “Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Writers, 1500-1700” (http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/r/edward_rothstein/index.html), an exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill that closes May 20, we learn that there were dozens of “women from Britain, France, and Italy, many of them celebrated in their own time,” whose brilliant careers prove that Ms. Woolf was unduly melancholy. The curator who organized this show is GEORGIANNA ZIEGLER, who oversees the Folger’s Reference department and occupies a post that has been endowed by Louis B. Thalheimer. A former President of the Shakespeare Association of America, Dr. Ziegler spent a decade at the University of Pennsylvania’s renowned Furness Library before she moved to Washington in 1992. Her previous exhibitions have introduced viewers to “Shakespeare’s Unruly Women,” to “Elizabeth I, Then and Now,” to “Shakespeare for Children,” and to “Marketing Shakespeare: The Boydell Gallery (1789-1805) and Beyond.” Dr. Ziegler’s conversation with the Guild’s John Andrews will be illustrated with images of the most notable female authors of the period and with copies of pages from many of their publications.  

 

_____________________________________________

For more information about these and other programs, among them a new CENTENNIAL FRIDAYS series at the St. Francis Auditorium in Santa Fe’s New Mexico Museum of Art, visit the website below and take a look at the Current Events page. To reserve space for events that will occur at the National Arts Club, all you need to do is reply to this message or call the telephone number below.

 

John F. Andrews

The Shakespeare Guild

5B Calle San Martin       

Santa Fe, NM 87506

Phone 505 988 9560

www.shakesguild.org 

CFP: 36th Annual Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference

 

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.098  Friday, 9 March 2012

 

From:        Joseph Sullivan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 9, 2012 9:28:56 AM EST

Subject:     CFP: 36th Annual Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference

 

Extreme(ly) Shakespeare(an) 

The 36th Annual Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference 

Marietta College 

October 18-20, 2012 

  

The planning committee of the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference seeks proposals for papers or panels from across today’s theoretical and methodological landscape that engage some facet of the amalgam “Extreme(ly) Shakespeare(an).”     

  

“Extreme Shakespeare” alludes to the wide variety of extremities that can be found in Shakespeare’s work.  It brings to mind those occasions where the playwright demonstrates either a lack of regard for or a lack of control over the principles of proportionality and balance, to the degree either of those principles were prioritized by dramatists of the early modern period.  

  

Of course, extremity is an inherently relative value, which leads to a second facet of the amalgam open to conferees.  “Extremely Shakespearean” refers to the fundamental characteristics of Shakespeare’s art, craft, thought, philosophy, etc.  How might we best operationalize the term “Shakespearean”?  What quality or qualities should we identify as the quintessence of Shakespeare’s work?  Conversely, where do we observe Shakespeare at his least Shakespearean?  Have we in the past, do we now, and/or might we ever share a persuasive understanding of what constitutes the most significant attributes of Shakespeare?  Is the pursuit a noble quest, or a fool’s errand?  

  

The OVSC publishes a volume of selected papers each year and conferees are welcome to submit revised versions of their papers for consideration. 

  

2012 Plenary Speakers: 

  

Ralph Alan Cohen 

The American Shakespeare Center and Mary Baldwin College 

  

Lina Perkins Wilder 

Connecticut College 

  

Abstracts and panel proposals are due by June 8th for an early decision.  The final deadline is August 31st.  All submissions and inquiries should be directed to Joseph Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail to Joseph Sullivan / English Department / Marietta College / Marietta, OH 45750. 

  

Conference updates will be posted on our webpage as they become available: 

 http://www.marietta.edu/departments/English/OVSC/

Whipping a gig

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.097  Thursday, 8 March 2012

 

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

Date:         March 7, 2012 9:16:49 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Gig

 

>S.v. “whipping-top” the OED gives: “A toy of various shapes 

>(cylindrical, obconic, etc.), but always of circular section, with 

>a point on which it is made to spin, usually by the sudden 

>pulling of a string wound round it; the common whip-[top] or 

>whipping-top is kept spinning by lashing it with a whip.”

  

Strange.  Every spinning top I have ever seen is more or less conical, surely not cylindrical; otherwise it would not have a point on which it could spin.  And, as for whether or not the section is circular, doesn't that depend on the angle of the intersecting plane.

 

Laertes, the Superior Fencer?

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.096  Thursday, 8 March 2012

 

[1] From:        Paul Barry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         March 7, 2012 4:39:43 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes

 

[2] From:        Paul Barry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         March 7, 2012 4:39:43 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes

 

[3] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         March 7, 2012 9:16:49 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes

 

 

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

From:        Paul Barry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 7, 2012 4:39:43 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes

 

A son of a king would have the best fencing teachers in the realm. German universities were famous for fencing. Hamlet and Laertes are evenly matched.  Hamlet gets the early advantage, and Laertes cheats.

 

Paul

 

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

From:        Paul Barry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 7, 2012 4:52:43 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes

 

Laertes has one line to substantiate this theory: “Yet it is almost against my conscience.”  Otherwise, they’re too busy fencing to add much nuance.

 

Paul

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         March 7, 2012 9:16:49 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes

 

>Issac Asimov.  He wrote that Laertes, playing against his 

>conscience during the match, couldn’t hit Hamlet and had 

>to cheat. When Hamlet gets the unbated weapon, Laertes 

>knows the weapon is poisoned and therefore is fighting 

>for his life.

>

>I’m going from memory, and it has been some time.  It’s 

>worth a read. Find this in Asimov’s book on Shakespeare, 

>in the chapter on Hamlet.

 

Asimov says nothing like this in my copy.  2 Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare 144-45 (Doubleday 1970).

 

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