The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1721  Monday, 11 October 1999.

From:           Perry Herzfeld <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 9 Oct 1999 22:40:03 +1000
Subject:        Fat Hamlet

In the final scene of Hamlet, while Hamlet is fighting with Laertes
Gertrude says of Hamlet:

He's fat, and scant of breath.

I have always been curious as to what the 'fat' refers to.  My
mathematics lecturer (a Russian lady who has a bit of a thing for
Shakespeare, which she says sounds better in Russian) used this line to
defend the forty-something year old, rather portly Hamlet of the
well-known Russian version of Hamlet.  Is this the real reason?  Or is
there some more satisfactory reason?  Any responses would be much
appreciated: I don't want to have the image of an obese Hamlet in my
mind when writing character analyses!

Kindest regards
Perry Herzfeld

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