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ConnieAnnKirk
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HAMLET: Act I (Feb. 1-12, 2010)

We will be on this play for 2 months, so I'm scheduling discussions by Act for approximately 2-week stints.  Hope that makes sense!

 

EnJOY!

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Melissa_W
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Re: HAMLET: Act I (Feb. 1-12, 2010)

I love Horatio's line in the first scene, when asked if he is there: "A piece of him."  It goes so far in establishing that it is bitterly cold and then mirror's Hamlet's line "The air bites shrewdly" to open scene 4.

Melissa W.
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Lmfwhite
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Re: HAMLET: Act I (Feb. 1-12, 2010)


Melissa_W wrote:

I love Horatio's line in the first scene, when asked if he is there: "A piece of him."  It goes so far in establishing that it is bitterly cold and then mirror's Hamlet's line "The air bites shrewdly" to open scene 4.


 

My children had to read Hamlet as seniors in high school and my son just finished reading it.  Since B&N is having a discussion on it, I thought this would be a perfect time for me to read it as well.  We have the NO FEAR SHAKESPEARE translation.(Shakespeare's complete text on the left side and an easy to understand translation on the right).

 

The line you are referring to when asked if he is there: "A piece of him", is translated into "more or less" in my translation.  That can either be understood as only a part of him is there because it is so cold or he really doesn't want to be there but he is.   I am finding it fascinating to read Shakespeare as an adult rather than a high school student who HAS to read him! 

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Avid_Book_Reader10
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Re: HAMLET: Act I (Feb. 1-12, 2010)

I read Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare) senior year of high school and again (Riverside Shakespeare) for a Shakespeare class in college. I'm happy I get the chance to read it again!

 

In Act I.ii, Claudius shows off to the Danish court that he has everything under control as the new king. He stricks me as a man who loves theatrics, espeically when they are in use to show him in a good light. Claudius displays:

his grief for Old Hamlet's death, his thanks to everyone who supported his marriage to Gertrude, his defiance against the threat of Fortinbras, shows favor to Laertes going to France (putting on a huge show of "Well, has Polonius said yes? Because if he says yes, I say sure!", making the whole conversation with Laertes sound staged), and lovingly urging Hamlet to stop mourning and to think of him as his father now.

 

However, Claudius' desire to put on a happy environment in front of the court is somewhat put off by Hamlet, who insists that his grief at his father's death is true and subtly hints that the cheery atmosphere around him is inappropriate. This leads to lines 69-121 having the feeling of a conversation that should be given behind closed doors, rather than in such a public place. In order to save face, Claudius speaks in what he sees as a gentle yet firm way to Hamlet, so that the Danish court believes that not only Claudius is a good king, but also a good family man as well.

 

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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: HAMLET: Act I (Feb. 1-12, 2010)

What do you all think of the "ghost"?  Is he a "real" ghost, or a figment of the prince's imagination?  Do you think Hamlet's wondering this same thing echoes the reader's question about it, too?

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Peppermill
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Re: HAMLET: Act I (Feb. 1-12, 2010)

 


ConnieK wrote:

What do you all think of the "ghost"?  Is he a "real" ghost, or a figment of the prince's imagination?  Do you think Hamlet's wondering this same thing echoes the reader's question about it, too?


 

 

Not sure what I am going to say will make sense, but I'll put it this way -- for the purposes of the play, I am okay with the ghost being "real" and being seen by others as well as Hamlet.  It/He "acts" and "plays" well.

 

But, in terms of "reality" I am no believer in ghosts, but I certainly do acknowledge that those who have left this earth leave behind memories that we re-create and re-construct to confirm or create knowledge we remained oblivious to during their lifetimes.  Hamlet's father also seems like that kind of ghost/reality that Shakespeare brings to us as a "real ghost" in the real unreality that is the theatre.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Avid_Book_Reader10
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Re: HAMLET: Act I (Feb. 1-12, 2010)

Ah, the ghost. It could be Hamlet's imagination. But then how would that account for Horatio and the guards' seeing it too? But then, power of suggestion could cause group imaginings...I forget the proper word for such a phenomenon, it was on House a few seasons back...

 

If the ghost was a supernatural being, then is he really Old Hamlet or a demon taking the guise of Old Hamlet in order to damn Hamlet? It could go either way, we can take the ghost at his word or we can not believe him and wish that Hamlet would see through his tricks. I guess it all depends on one's viewpoint.

Let books be your dining table,
And you shall be full of delights
Let them be your mattress
And you shall sleep restful nights.
~Author Unknown
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: HAMLET: Act I (Feb. 1-12, 2010)


Avid_Book_Reader10 wrote, in part:

 

If the ghost was a supernatural being, then is he really Old Hamlet or a demon taking the guise of Old Hamlet in order to damn Hamlet? It could go either way, we can take the ghost at his word or we can not believe him and wish that Hamlet would see through his tricks. I guess it all depends on one's viewpoint.


Ooh.  Great question, Avid!  What do others of you think?  I think all of these questions about the ghost are what torment Hamlet as well?  Is it "real"?  Is it "Dad"?  Should I act on what he's telling me with such flimsy evidence (do I believe a ghost, for pete's sake?).

 

Also, if it's ghost of the father or demon pretending--either way--is he setting me up to kill my uncle just because he's jealous of his brother wooing his wife so quickly after he died?  i.e. no murder, just quick seduction?

~ConnieAnnKirk




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