The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0041 Monday, 10 January 2005
Date: Friday, 7 Jan 2005 13:45:39 -0800
Subject: 16.0030 Hamlet Questions
Comment: RE: SHK 16.0030 Hamlet Questions
guess that Hamlet is the "author" of Lucianus' "Thoughts blacke":
>... one may argue just as easily that the Pyrrhus speech represents
>notion of a very good speech ...
No argument; Hamlet himself says so. But having the notion doesn't mean
that Hamlet could write in that style if his life depended on it.
JWK again: >... whereas the "Thoughts black" speech is rather
suggestive of Shakespeare's own style at his most lyrical.
I think it's more suggestive of W. S. Gilbert at his most harum-scarum:
Noisome hags of night -
Imps of deadly shade -- [etc.]
Or, if you mean it's somewhat like a Shakespeare song, I can see that;
but Hamlet (according to my premise) intends these lines to be spoken,
not sung; and unfortunately they're precariously close to nonsense for
JWK: >Neither one particularly resembles "Doubt thou".
Hamlet aborted his love lyric, or rather he dropped it painlessly like a
dilettante; but for the "Murder of Gonzago" he might try composing a
poisoner's soliloquy, different in kind but with similar outcome:
jagged verses, heartfelt, strained, reaching, unachieved, and ultimately
interrupted by Hamlet in his own voice with an explanation.
JWK: >Moreover, the "Thoughts black" speech itself does not seem to be
to Hamlet's purpose. It mentions poison, but not the means of
Just so: it's hard to manage exposition in verse that's at the same
Faith I must leaue thee Loue, and shortly too:
My operant Powers my Functions leaue to do: [etc.]
The Players' dramaturg could turn out the stuff with despicable ease
(and the player could summon the appropriate emotion) - but Hamlet, who
has cause, can't. I like this particularly about my reading, because it
gives Hamlet a hard time. More drama! His trouble is our fun:
conflict, suspense, reversal, irony ....
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