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Old 21st January 2015, 05:07 PM   #1
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Shakespeare

Do you think WS believed in Ghosts as in Macbeth etc; or was it a dramatic vehicle?
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Old 21st January 2015, 06:19 PM   #2
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I always took it as a construct of the characters' imagination.

Having said that, it wouldn't be surprising (to me at least) if he did.
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Old 21st January 2015, 09:15 PM   #3
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It seems WS lived a good number of years and if he never experienced such manifestations he would have been smart enough to use it as a crutch in his plays.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 05:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by 332nd View Post
I always took it as a construct of the characters' imagination.

Having said that, it wouldn't be surprising (to me at least) if he did.

That's the mass-hallucination theory, since multiple characters do report seeing the ghost. First it's Marcellus and Bernardo, who report it to Horatio, who sees the ghost and reports it to Hamlet and talks (after a fashion) to the ghost. I don't think that WS intended for that interpretation. I think it's a more straight-forward ghost story -- there really is a ghost of King Hamlet, and he really wants his son to get off his duff and get their revenge.

As for WS and his personal belief in ghosts -- not enough data to compute.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 08:44 AM   #5
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Ghosts are good drama for they are sort of like Superman ie beyond the reach of man and of course they aren't bothered by Krytonite
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Old 22nd January 2015, 09:06 AM   #6
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I would think he believed in them. Magic, Witchcraft, Spirits etc were taken to be everyday things.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 09:36 AM   #7
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Here is a previous thread that I believe answers the question about Shakespeare's belief concerning Hamlet's ghost.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 01:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by hgc View Post
That's the mass-hallucination theory, since multiple characters do report seeing the ghost. First it's Marcellus and Bernardo, who report it to Horatio, who sees the ghost and reports it to Hamlet and talks (after a fashion) to the ghost. I don't think that WS intended for that interpretation. I think it's a more straight-forward ghost story -- there really is a ghost of King Hamlet, and he really wants his son to get off his duff and get their revenge.

As for WS and his personal belief in ghosts -- not enough data to compute.
Oh that's what makes WS so great imo. Multiple interpretations work so well with his material. Hell, I was part of a production of Hamlet that ran with the idea that Claudius was actually Hamlet's real father.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 02:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 332nd View Post
Oh that's what makes WS so great imo. Multiple interpretations work so well with his material. Hell, I was part of a production of Hamlet that ran with the idea that Claudius was actually Hamlet's real father.
How could that work without changing the text? Hamlet is thirty and a thirty year affair is not in the text.

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Old 23rd January 2015, 04:50 PM   #10
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WS as a genius, likely decided ghosts were BS but ok for plays. But for the average yeoman the night was faced with only a candle. Whereas with our modern videos and recordings we are able to watch and listen to the departed and our imagination may not be a free ranging. Also, no church burns witches these days.
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Old 23rd January 2015, 08:20 PM   #11
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Shakespeare:
Henry IV Part 1 -- Act 3, Scene 1, Page 3
Quote:
GLENDOWER:
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
HOTSPUR:
Why, so can I, or so can any man,
But will they come when you do call for them?
I think that Shakespeare was as rational as you or I (well I anyway )
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Old 23rd January 2015, 11:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Shakespeare:
Henry IV Part 1 -- Act 3, Scene 1, Page 3


I think that Shakespeare was as rational as you or I (well I anyway )
Very true. I could not compose a line of Hamlet etc. If he lived today what kind of literature do you think he would author? I would guess Sci FI.
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Old 24th January 2015, 03:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Shakespeare:
Henry IV Part 1 -- Act 3, Scene 1, Page 3


I think that Shakespeare was as rational as you or I (well I anyway )
errrr. I think I go along with the earlier posters - "Nobody Knows".

Actually, I've always assumed that Shakespeare would not believe in ghosts because, well, he's Shakespeare. But, after actually giving it a bit of thought, it occurred to me that I'm a sceptic, this is a forum for sceptics, but almost all of Shakespeare's educated contemporaries were not sceptical - they might vacillate, but they were caught between the demon-haunted medieval world and the very beginnings of modern science. We look back on Shakespeare's time from beyond the Age of Reason.

Some examples from after Shakespeare's time:
Sir Thomas Brown, an ardent student of the latest science, believed in witches and ghosts.
So did the most intellectual (male) monarch England has ever had, James I.
Newton believed in astrology and Boyle in alchemy.

Examples of sceptics from Shakespeare's time:
Montaigne
Bacon

Anyway, who's to say that, Shakespeare didn't change his mind about things occasionally? I'll probably change my mind about this topic. And we know almost nothing about him personally.
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Old 24th January 2015, 06:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
Do you think WS believed in Ghosts as in Macbeth etc; or was it a dramatic vehicle?
Well, lest we have to leash in Senex's fertile imagination, let's not tell him, but.....

Different ghosts/different interpretations. Banquo's Ghost, as written could very well be seen as a product of Macbeth's imagination. Macbeth murdered Banquo but the plot failed because it wasn't Banquo he was after, but his heirs - his son was the equal target. (The 3 witches had predicted that Macbeth would be king and Banquo not, but that Banquo would sire a line of kings. Macbeth wanted to prevent that.)

More important is that the ghost is not seen nor reported by anyone else. It is solely visible to Macbeth. The ghost later shows up in a return of the three witches, confirming that a long line of his descendants would be king. But those are the only references - the banquet where the ghost appears to only Macbeth and the witches who are "magical" anyway. I don't personally believe Banquo's Ghost is meant to be an illusion from Macbeth's guilt, but as I said, the argument could be made. (Much better than arguing that about Hamlet's Father. Harrumph!)

Considering that at the time it was written it was widely believed that one of those actual descendants was sitting on the throne of England, and that Wm. Shakespeare was known for not currying royal disfavor, that is also arguably why Banquo is cleaned up (the real Banquo was actually heavily involved in the murder, unlike the fictional one).

I stated in the other thread that Shakespeare WROTE the ghosts to be real. I'm not sure if he believed in ghosts/spirits, or not. What is known is that his audience did and just like Stephen King, it doesn't matter if the demons, spooks, ghosts, etc.... could really exist or whether the author truly believes in them. What matters is that for the purposes of that drama or fiction the ghosts are real... in the story. (Unless the plot reveals otherwise.)
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Old 24th January 2015, 06:46 AM   #15
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As far as I know Shakespeare's ghosts never bring new intelligence to the story. The interpretation that the ghost is all in the character's head always works.

And it works for a reason.
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Old 24th January 2015, 06:48 AM   #16
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Maybe Francis Bacon believed in ghosts for him.
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Old 24th January 2015, 07:23 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Porpoise of Life View Post
Maybe Francis Bacon believed in ghosts for him.
As his ghost writer?
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Old 24th January 2015, 11:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
As far as I know Shakespeare's ghosts never bring new intelligence to the story. The interpretation that the ghost is all in the character's head always works.

And it works for a reason.
How does Hamlet know how Claudius killed his father, if not from The Ghost?

Do you argue that the witches are real but Banquo's ghost is not? If the witches aren't real, how does Macbeth know he is Thane of Cawdor?

Also, the spirits in The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Ariel, Puck) are clearly real in the context of the story. Ariel tells Prospero most of the things that happen offstage in the play. Is Prospero a charlatan?
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Old 24th January 2015, 12:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Rosencrantz View Post
How does Hamlet know how Claudius killed his father, if not from The Ghost?
Poisoning was ubiquatous back then. No ghost was needed to tell you.
Quote:
Do you argue that the witches are real but Banquo's ghost is not? If the witches aren't real, how does Macbeth know he is Thane of Cawdor?
Never underestimate your neighbors' desire to mess with your head.
Quote:
Also, the spirits in The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Ariel, Puck) are clearly real in the context of the story. Ariel tells Prospero most of the things that happen offstage in the play. Is Prospero a charlatan?
Let's stick with ghosts.
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Old 24th January 2015, 04:21 PM   #20
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I've always considered Hamlet's dad's ghost to have been Polonius in disguise, trying to stir up trouble a la Littlefinger. Banquo's ghost, however, was a Shining-style mental projection send unconsciously by Mrs MacBeth, who doesn't know it but has multiple personalities. She's also one of the three witches.

And King Lear isn't King Lear, he's the fourth ungrateful daughter, driven to madness by her father's suicide and now convinced she is him.

I wrote a lot of papers in college, and alternately delighted and terrified my professors.
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Old 24th January 2015, 04:41 PM   #21
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There are ghosts galore in Shakespeare (in 12 of his plays apparently) as well as sorcerers and witches, pagan gods and fairies (I think we can rule out him believing in the last two). I've come across ghosts in Julius Caesar, Richard III and Cymbeline. Cymbeline BTW contains the lovely dirge "Fear No More the Heat of the Sun" which finishes:

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renownèd be thy grave!

Not adding much to the thread perhaps, but I enjoy quoting Shakespeare.
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Old 24th January 2015, 04:59 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by jenspen View Post
There are ghosts galore in Shakespeare (in 12 of his plays apparently) as well as sorcerers and witches, pagan gods and fairies (I think we can rule out him believing in the last two). I've come across ghosts in Julius Caesar, Richard III and Cymbeline. Cymbeline BTW contains the lovely dirge "Fear No More the Heat of the Sun" which finishes:

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renownèd be thy grave!

Not adding much to the thread perhaps, but I enjoy quoting Shakespeare.
If those two, why not the rest?
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Old 24th January 2015, 05:09 PM   #23
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Remember that Shakespeare had his sources. An early Hamlet play, author unknown, was mentioned by Thomas Nashe in a book preface in 1589--presumably the one recalled in 1596 by Thomas Lodge, who made fun of the Ghost for groaning "Hamlet, revenge!" in a voice like an oyster-wife's.

Hamlet is a revenge tragedy, and it follows the conventions of the genre. Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy (ca. 1587) features a similar ghost pleading for vengeance, except it's a murdered son asking his still-living father to avenge him. To do so, the father feigns madness.

Revenge tragedies featured ghosts, so Shakespeare threw in a ghost. Wizards wield wands, so J.K. Rowling gave her characters wands. You don't have to believe in such things to write about them.

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Old 24th January 2015, 06:22 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
If those two, why not the rest?
I was hoping to raise a smile by at least admitting the obvious. As to ghosts? I have no idea what Shakespeare believed and I don't care.

Though I love to speculate, that's just for fun. What little record his contemporaries and near contemporaries have left of him (Jonson, Aubrey) give me the impression that he was a sweet-natured, quiet sort of guy. It seems to me that the various theories about what he thought are based on the (conflicting) internal evidence of his plays and guesswork about his influences.

As Dryden wrote in 1664 - "Shakespeare, of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul". As a besotted amateur reader of Shakespeare, I am relieved that we know so little of his beliefs and can make of him what we will.
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Old 24th January 2015, 07:09 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
Poisoning was ubiquatous back then. No ghost was needed to tell you.

Never underestimate your neighbors' desire to mess with your head.

Let's stick with ghosts.
The ghost train of thought is pretty clear. They are a necessary plot device. Their presence says nothing about whether or not Shakespeare believed in them, but that the audience expectations were that those beings were very real in their world and that there were already memes in the theater, plus the fact that Shakespeare was a very good showman and gave the audience what they wanted/expected.

I don't think that wishing for people we admire, like Shakespeare, to hold our own views on rationalism or humanism (say) does anything more than leads us into a biased and pre-conceived view of the works. It's sort of "I'm hip and smart and I don't believe in the paranormal; Shakespeare was hip and smart so he must not have believed in the paranormal." As I said, it's not a requirement that Lovecraft or King or Rowling actually adheres to the fantasy elements in their art as a personal credo.

I know nothing about Samson Raphaelson's personal beliefs, but I enjoyed Heaven Can Wait with its reincarnation/purgatory theme,... because it was a well-crafted script and it entertained and maybe even enlightened.

Is it significant to the enjoyment of A Christmas Carol to know whether Dickens believed in ghosts or was simply playing to the superstitions of the subscribers to the journal he was writing for?

To take the other side of the coin, does one's appreciation for "the canon" of Sherlock Holmes diminish when we learn of ACD's belief in faeries?
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Old 25th January 2015, 07:30 AM   #26
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My point is that in Hamlet and Macbeth the ghosts work just as well in the story being only in the protagonists head as being honest to goodness specters. They don't bring any additional information to the play that wasn't in Hamlet's or Macbeth's head already. Why doesn't Banquo appear to everyone at the banquet and accuse Macbeth in front of the entire dinner party or why doesn't the ghost of Hamlet appear to all the soldiers and accuse Claudius of murder? They don't because WS wanted to keep alive the possibility the ghosts may all be in the character's minds. The soldiers in Hamlet never heard the ghost speak and only the fellows who had to take the late shift and probably were the simplest minded of the soldiers saw a ghost in armor through the fog. They were probably drinking on the job and put the whole ghost of your dad walking around at night in Hamlet's head to begin with. Hamlet's mind needed a little push to get Hamlet off his butt to seek retribution and the believing his dad was walking around the castle at night looking for vengeance was enough to set him off.
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Old 25th January 2015, 10:20 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by jenspen View Post
I was hoping to raise a smile by at least admitting the obvious. As to ghosts? I have no idea what Shakespeare believed and I don't care.

Though I love to speculate, that's just for fun. What little record his contemporaries and near contemporaries have left of him (Jonson, Aubrey) give me the impression that he was a sweet-natured, quiet sort of guy. It seems to me that the various theories about what he thought are based on the (conflicting) internal evidence of his plays and guesswork about his influences.

As Dryden wrote in 1664 - "Shakespeare, of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul". As a besotted amateur reader of Shakespeare, I am relieved that we know so little of his beliefs and can make of him what we will.

Ah. OK then how about this one?

It's unlikely we will ever know. But it is fun to speculate.
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Old 25th January 2015, 10:52 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
How could that work without changing the text? Hamlet is thirty and a thirty year affair is not in the text.
This is off-topic since it's not actually about ghosts, but there's a big problem with Hamlet's age. Yes, in act five we're told he's thirty. But at the beginning of the play he's just returned from the university in Wittenberg and wants to go back there. And he's been passed over for the throne. Neither of those thing make sense if he's thirty. And the events of the play can't reasonably take ten years or more.

Shakespeare's plays are full of similar discrepancies. They generally go unnoticed in performance, but are very apparent once you take a closer look.
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Old 25th January 2015, 11:45 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
How could that work without changing the text? Hamlet is thirty and a thirty year affair is not in the text.
Its not flat out stated, just VERY heavily implied. Also, it wasn't seen as a 30 year affair, more like an on again , off again thing.
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Old 25th January 2015, 12:16 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by NotJesus View Post
This is off-topic since it's not actually about ghosts, but there's a big problem with Hamlet's age. Yes, in act five we're told he's thirty. But at the beginning of the play he's just returned from the university in Wittenberg and wants to go back there. And he's been passed over for the throne. Neither of those thing make sense if he's thirty. And the events of the play can't reasonably take ten years or more.

Shakespeare's plays are full of similar discrepancies. They generally go unnoticed in performance, but are very apparent once you take a closer look.
IIRC the play otherwise implies Hamlet is about sixteen, but Shakespeare wanted some older actor to play him, and thus simply inflated the stated age.
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Old 25th January 2015, 12:41 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
IIRC the play otherwise implies Hamlet is about sixteen, but Shakespeare wanted some older actor to play him, and thus simply inflated the stated age.
I've never heard that.

What's interesting is that he really does seem much more mature in the last act than in the first. At the beginning, he's emotionally overwhelmed by his death of his father and his mother's remarriage (Oedipus, anyone?). By the end he's acquired a mature stoicism, as in:

Originally Posted by Hamlet
There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all. Since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes?
It's very hard to imagine a teenager saying something like that.
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Old 25th January 2015, 03:29 PM   #32
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Shakespeare and many other playwrights of his era routinely compressed time lines. 1 Henry IV covers fourteen months of history in two hours or so; 2 Henry IV covers ten years, and Macbeth at least ten or twelve years.

It's possible that Hamlet is about twenty in Act 1 and thirty by Act 5. Audiences seemed to accept that compression as another stage convention, though some people (Ben Jonson, for instance) complained that it was at best unseemly for a poet to violate the unities in such a manner.

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Old 25th January 2015, 08:13 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Spektator View Post
It's possible that Hamlet is about twenty in Act 1 and thirty by Act 5. Audiences seemed to accept that compression as another stage convention, though some people (Ben Jonson, for instance) complained that it was at best unseemly for a poet to violate the unities in such a manner.
But consider Fortinbras. At the start of the play, he's threatening Denmark with his army. Claudius sends emissaries to the King of Norway, who puts a stop to this, and Fortinbras heads for Poland instead. In Act 4 we see Fortinbras' army crossing Denmark on their way to Poland, and at the end of Act 5 he returns to Elsinore directly from his Polish campaign . The fight with Poland isn't a major war. It concerns some tiny, almost worthless scrap of land, as a Norwegian captain tells Hamlet. Do these events occupy ten years? I don't think so.

The timescale of the play isn't just compressed. It's hopelessly confused.
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Old 25th January 2015, 08:34 PM   #34
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Shakespeare didn't realize he was writing "canon". He was making plays that people would pay to see. The explanation of the age is that the play was revised. Quarto 1 does not contain the explicit speech of the gravedigger/sexton with the abject statements that would make Hamlet out to be 30 years old.

The problem is that Quarto 1 is a hodgepodge, written by a performer or director and is somewhat disputed, not to the authenticity of the document but as to whether the person committing the words to paper really got them all correct. But it seems a leap from arguing about a single word to leaving out a whole speech/scene.

More authoritative is the First Folio, and the word "sexton" appears to be an editor's creation. The gravedigger did not say "sexton", he said "sixeteene" in response to how long he'd been at his job. And since he took on his job the day Young Hamlet was born, that'd make Hamlet 16 at the time of the play.

Ah, but.... just to keep the problem going. The First Folio actually INLUDES the gravedigger's comments about how long Yorick had been in the grave and of Hamlet kissing Yorick when he was 4 or 7. That'd make Hamlet 23+4 or 23+7.

Ah, but.... that's the First Folio. The scribbled Quarto 1 does NOT include the line about Yorick being 23 years in the grave.

So the debate isn't dead but the accumulated evidence is that Shakespeare or an appointed subordinate may have jockeyed those lines for a later production so that the role being played by a well-known thirty-year-old actor was justified.
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Old 25th January 2015, 09:15 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba
Originally Posted by NotJesus View Post
This is off-topic since it's not actually about ghosts, but there's a big problem with Hamlet's age. Yes, in act five we're told he's thirty. But at the beginning of the play he's just returned from the university in Wittenberg and wants to go back there. And he's been passed over for the throne. Neither of those thing make sense if he's thirty. And the events of the play can't reasonably take ten years or more.

Shakespeare's plays are full of similar discrepancies. They generally go unnoticed in performance, but are very apparent once you take a closer look.
IIRC the play otherwise implies Hamlet is about sixteen, but Shakespeare wanted some older actor to play him, and thus simply inflated the stated age.
Note: As I was typing this, the conversation has moved along. Others have said some of the things I've said here. Sorry.

Part of the confusion over Hamlet's age comes from the various texts of the play.

First Quarto (Q1) 1603:

The gravedigger has unearthed a skull (Yorick).

"Looke you, heres a scull hath bin here this dozen yeare,
Let me see, I euer since our last king Hamlet
Slew Fortenbrasse in combat, yong Hamlets father,
Hee that's mad."

A few lines later, Hamlet says, "...he hath caried mee twenty times vpon his backe..." So, if we assume that Hamlet was eight or younger when Yorick last carried him on his back, Hamlet would presumably be under twenty.

Second Quarto (Q2) 1604

Hamlet: ...How long hast thou been Graue-maker?
Clown: Of the dayes i'th yere I came too't that day that our last king Hamlet ouercame Fortenbrasse
Hamlet: How long is that since?
Clown: Can you not tell that? euery foole can tell that, it was that very day that young Hamlet was born: hee that is mad and is sente into England.
[discussion of Hamlet's madness]
Clown:...I haue been sexton here man and boy thirty yeeres.

Note: the text (from the Folger Shakespeare Library) appears to be damaged and possibly patched. Half the "o" in "sexton" and "here man" are in the damaged area. However, I have looked at the facsimile of another copy (from Internet Shakespeare Editions), and it clearly says "sexten," so "sexton" is not, as FMW said above, a purely editorial invention.

Regarding Yorick's skull: "heer's a scull now hath lyen you i'th earth 23. yeeres." Hamlet comments on Yorick carrying him on his back. Hamlet seems to be 30.

First Folio (F1) 1623

Essentially the same as QI, except the gravedigger, in response to Hamlet's question ("Vpon what grounde?" a follow-up to the question about how long he's been a gravedigger) says, "Why heere in Denmarke: I haue bin sixeteene heere, man and Boy thirty yeares" It has been suggested that "sixeteene" is meant to be "16" not "sexton," meaning he's been in Denmark 30 years, a gravedigger for 16. That would mean that the gravedigger is 30, and Hamlet is 16. However, a few lines later, he says that Yorick has been in the grave for 23 years, and Hamlet says that Yorick used to carry him on his back, so Hamlet can't be 16.

As I said, it's confusing. One could argue that the texts are a sign of revision with Q1 retaining Shakespeare's original idea about Hamlet's age. However, while Q2 and F1 are both authorized texts, Q1 is not. It is a "bad quarto," a pirated text. Not all bad quartos are bad texts. Some do seem to retain older readings (or passages as they may have appeared in performance). The bad quarto of Hamlet, however..... Well, do you remember this speech?

To be, or not to be, I there's the point,
To Die, to sleepe, is that all? I all:
No, to sleepe, to dreame, I mary there it goes,
For in that dreme of death, when wee awake,
And borne before an euerlasting Iudge
From whence no passenger ever retur'nd,
The vndiscouered country, at whose sight
The happy smile, and the accursed damn'd.

There's more, but I won't torture you with it.
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Old 25th January 2015, 10:36 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
My point is that in Hamlet and Macbeth the ghosts work just as well in the story being only in the protagonists head as being honest to goodness specters. They don't bring any additional information to the play that wasn't in Hamlet's or Macbeth's head already. Why doesn't Banquo appear to everyone at the banquet and accuse Macbeth in front of the entire dinner party or why doesn't the ghost of Hamlet appear to all the soldiers and accuse Claudius of murder? They don't because WS wanted to keep alive the possibility the ghosts may all be in the character's minds. The soldiers in Hamlet never heard the ghost speak and only the fellows who had to take the late shift and probably were the simplest minded of the soldiers saw a ghost in armor through the fog. They were probably drinking on the job and put the whole ghost of your dad walking around at night in Hamlet's head to begin with. Hamlet's mind needed a little push to get Hamlet off his butt to seek retribution and the believing his dad was walking around the castle at night looking for vengeance was enough to set him off.
Really? I don't see that myself.

Besides, we can agree that the witches made some kind of supernatural premonitions which sounded so outlandish that we could not believe them. But they turned out to be true, nonetheless, if you allow for a bit of poetic license.
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Old 25th January 2015, 11:20 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
The soldiers in Hamlet never heard the ghost speak and only the fellows who had to take the late shift and probably were the simplest minded of the soldiers saw a ghost in armor through the fog. They were probably drinking on the job and put the whole ghost of your dad walking around at night in Hamlet's head to begin with. Hamlet's mind needed a little push to get Hamlet off his butt to seek retribution and the believing his dad was walking around the castle at night looking for vengeance was enough to set him off.
Horatio sees the ghost too, and he's not simple-minded. In fact, he's quite skeptical at first.

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Old 26th January 2015, 01:11 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by NotJesus View Post
Horatio sees the ghost too, and he's not simple-minded. In fact, he's quite skeptical at first.
Hamlet's also skeptical at first as mentioned by someone posting above. This, I believe, is consistent with the beliefs of the time that demons might come to you and misrepresent themselves as ghosts and trick you into doing their bidding.

Again, though, there's nothing in the play to indicate that Hamlet (or Shakespeare) doesn't believe in demons and ghosts. He's just trying to ascertain if this ghost is the real deal.
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Old 26th January 2015, 09:31 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post

Besides, we can agree that the witches made some kind of supernatural premonitions which sounded so outlandish that we could not believe them. But they turned out to be true, nonetheless, if you allow for a bit of poetic license.
One, We are talking ghosts and the witches are not ghosts. Two, we don't know how many false predictions those witches made. They may stop every traveler on the road and tell them some bullcrap story about their future and they might be right like a stopped watch twice a day. And three, they sound a lot like "does a name starting with the letter J have any meaning?"
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Old 26th January 2015, 09:51 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
One, We are talking ghosts and the witches are not ghosts. Two, we don't know how many false predictions those witches made. They may stop every traveler on the road and tell them some bullcrap story about their future and they might be right like a stopped watch twice a day. And three, they sound a lot like "does a name starting with the letter J have any meaning?"


Ya know, you can't just make up anything and add it to the story as it suits you. Well, you can but it becomes alt.shakespeare. My son explained the great wire work scenes to me in Crouching/Hidden in a similar fashion. "They must have been to see Santa Claus. Santa has a special powder that he throws on the reindeer so they can fly and they must have used that."

This is similar to the commentary in another thread about great movies, where at least two posters are insisting that their interpretation of the end of Taxi Driver (that it was a dream sequence) could possibly correct; this in spite of quoted interviews with the screenwriter and director saying specifically that this was not so. Even in the face of that evidence, their opinions stand as "well I could be right".

The predictions are not Sylvia or John Edward style. They are very specific. "You, you're going to be king/thane. You other guy, you're not going to be but many of your descendants will."

Your anachronistic projections make for interesting stories. You ought to pen some of them. Shakespeare wrote the stories he wrote, though. Not the ones you imagine.
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