The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0071  Tuesday, 15 January 2002

From:           EdmundTaft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 13 Jan 2002 13:09:49 -0500
Subject:        The Abused R&G

I disagree with Andy White's assertion that the provenance of the Ghost
has been made clear by 3.1. What has been proven is that the Ghost told
the truth about Hamlet, Sr.'s murder -- period. Where the Ghost comes
from and who he really is is still a mystery. Revenge is not
automatically justified once you know for sure who the perpetrator of an
earlier crime is.  If that were so, then once a murderer were found
guilty, any injured party could then take revenge on him or her with
impunity. Remember, the devil (or his agent) can cite scripture for his
own purposes.

But I do tend to agree with Andy that

"The tragedy of the scene lies in the audience's awareness of both
Ophelia's real situation (Polonius made her do it) and Hamlet's sad but
inescapable _ignorance_ of her real situation, hence the awareness that
there could be no other possible outcome from this disastrous encounter
for either of them."

Except that either Ophelia or Hamlet could have whispered to each other
to meet privately somewhere else so that they could talk freely. Each
would have had to take a risk (Ophelia, that she could face a "mad"
Hamlet; Hamlet, that Ophelia would not again tell her father.) Neither
feels able to take such a risk, alas. And that's my point: they are
mirror images of each other. Frankly, I feel sorrier for Ophelia than
for Hamlet.

--Ed Taft

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