The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0017 Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Date: Monday, 07 Jan 2008 22:41:02 -0500
Subject: 19.0012 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard
Comment: Re: SHK 19.0012 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard
>To clarify what I am suggesting, in the hopes
>that it might be regarded as an alternative:
>Hamlet never becomes aware of the spies. His
>outburst is a genuine cri de coeur, not a performance,
>and it is the villain who has the upper hand in this
>scene, not the hero.
Interesting as Scott Shepherd's view is, it does not address the crux to
which my suggestion offers a solution. The point I was addressing was
not Hamlet's awareness vel non of the unseen observers, but only how he
became aware of Ophelia's duplicity. That he does come to realize that
Ophelia is not telling him all there is to know about this encounter is
manifest. The scene is unintelligible if we assume that Hamlet is not
alert to that fact. Indeed, that knowledge drives what Scott calls his
cri de coeur. I believe that Hamlet probably takes the next step and
suspects that he is being overheard, but that assumption is not a
predicate for the conclusion that "Ha, ha! Are you honest?" is a
reaction to Ophelia's uncharacteristic aphorism in the preceding speech.
So we are left with the same question I posed last time: If Ophelia's
uncharacteristic speech is not the source of Hamlet's realization, what is?
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