The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.105 Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Date: March 12, 2012 1:02:14 PM EDT
Subject: Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes
>“He’s fat, and scant of breath.”
>He let himself go!
>Now with Laertes having been Ben Franklin-ing it up in Paris, one
>may wonder what physical shape he’s in, too . . .
Fat for Shakespeare means “out of breath.” If I recall. (Might not!)
-- Harold Jenkin’s Arden.
[Editor’s Note: In 1999, there was a thread on “Fat Hamlet.” In the December posts that concluded the thread, Louis Marder maintained that “fat” meant “sweating,” while Alan Dessen called attention to “The Impediment of Adipose—A Celebrated Case,” The Popular Science Monthly, 17 (May to October, 1880): 60-71. In it, the author E. Vale Blake argues that Hamlet is “impeded at every step by a superfluity of adipose” (71).
Searching the Archive can be great fun. –Hardy]