The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1821  Monday, 25 October 1999.

From:           Perry Herzfeld <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 25 Oct 1999 23:33:40 +1000
Subject: 10.1801 Re: Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1801 Re: Hamlet

Just on the matter of Hamlet, although slightly unrelated, I have just
been re-reading Bradley's descriptions of Gertrude.  I cannot help but
be totally struck at the, well, 1950-ness of it all.  Gertrude "loved to
be happy, like a sheep in the sun and ... it pleases her to see others
happy, like more sheep in the sun."  Surely such a reading of Gertrude
is totally unfair to her character.  We need not go as far as to say
that she is a seductive temptress (i.e., the Olivier version), but I
think that there is a much stronger case to be made for Gertrude as a
period woman, fulfilling the supportive role that she is expected to
play.  How can Bradley be so incisive at times, and yet support this
"sheep-theory" which clearly does not square with moments such as where
Gertrude defends Claudius from Laertes' fury?  Thank goodness we have
moved on a little.

Perry Herzfeld.

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