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TOPIC: "To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . .

"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1158

Willedever wrote:
Charles wrote:
I haven't found evidence that Hamlet was in Wittenberg when his father died, ...

Where was he, then?
I think we can both agree that he was in Shakespeare's head. But for the sake of a back story to the plot, if you have some irrefutable evidence that he was in Wittenberg, please provide it. My preference is that he was on his way to Wittenberg, but I can certainly live with the notion that he had arrived.

What you seem to have missed was the real crux of my question, one that I would love to hear your thoughts about.

Regards, Charles
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1160

Which was?
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1161

Charles wrote:
I am still having a problem connecting: How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable/Seem to me all the uses of this world! with: ...of late (Hamlet) made many tenders/Of his affection to me. A Hamlet who in one moment is sure that Frailty, thy name is woman! and in the next can write: I love thee best, O most best, believe it.

Regards, Charles
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1164

When Hamlet says, "Frailty, thy name is woman," he's talking about Gertrude marrying Claudius. He doesn't apply the same idea to Ophelia until he finds reason to do so, which occurs in the Nunnery Scene.

In the interim, between "Frailty..." and the Nunnery Scene, Hamlet says this to the Players:

~~~~~
... nor no
matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affection,
but called it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very
much, more handsome then fine; one speech in it I chiefly loved,
~~~~~

Hamlet's lines from "affection" to "loved" have an undertone of allusion to Ophelia. Honest, wholesome, sweet, handsome. That's how he views Ophelia at that time. It's in the Nunnery Scene that Hamlet changes his mind, when he makes the tragic mistake about what's going on. The word "honest" is particularly notable in Hamlet's speech to the Players, in anticipation of his question to Ophelia in the Nunnery Scene: "Are you honest?" So, it's the Nunnery Scene which raises his doubts about Ophelia.

At least through the rest of the day, after he appears in Ophelia's room with "doublet unbraced, etc," he still views her as "honest, wholesome," and so on, as his remarks to the Players reveal. Since he still views her that way, during that interval of time, it's credible he'd write her a note of reassurance, which could be the letter Polonius reads (and Ophelia may never see.)

About Wittenberg, the evidence is from Claudius's statement that Hamlet wants to go back. Hamlet couldn't go back if he hadn't been there.

The timing that works directly is:

Hamlet's in school at Wittenberg.

He's informed his father has died.

Hamlet returns for the funeral, and also as the favorite to become the next king.

As events proceed, Claudius is elected instead.

Having lost the election, Hamlet wants to go back to school in Wittenberg, but stays in obedience to Gertrude's request, as we see in the play.

All of the above follows directly from the play dialogue.
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1166

Willedever wrote:
When Hamlet says, "Frailty, thy name is woman," he's talking about Gertrude marrying Claudius. He doesn't apply the same idea to Ophelia until he finds reason to do so, which occurs in the Nunnery Scene.

Notice he says: "Frailty, thy name is woman", he doesn't differentiate but takes the entire gender to task. His mood is dark and will become darker - his emotions do not tend toward tenderness nor affect affection.

While his view of Ophelia may remain undisturbed, as you suggest, we cannot at this time expect him to importune Ophelia with tenders of love. When he does reach out his letters are repelled and his access denied, it is then he finds reason to doubt Ophelia as his distraught state indicates during his visit to her closet. That emotional distance is further evidenced by Hamlet's "carrion" and "conception" remarks to Polonius.

In the nunnery scene his growing indifference is perceptible by his impatient "well, well, well" and his sense of abandonment proven by his "I never gave you aught" which comes before Ophelia's blatantly inappropriate: "Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind."

It is sad that he blames his mother so vehemently for her hasty re-marriage since it is clear that Claudius is the one who is making haste to ensure his ascension to the throne i.e., popping between the election and Hamlet's hopes.
Willedever wrote:
About Wittenberg, the evidence is from Claudius's statement that Hamlet wants to go back. Hamlet couldn't go back if he hadn't been there.

I'm not suggesting that Hamlet had never been to Wittenberg, only that he was on his way back when Claudius killed his father. We know that Laertes left France: "I came to Denmark/To show my duty in your coronation..." but have nothing of equivalent value concerning Hamlet's whereabouts. Prior to Hamlet's leaving for Wittenberg all seemed well in the kingdom and Hamlet, about to depart, was particularly affectionate with Ophelia leaving her with his final "never doubt I love" letter.
Willedever wrote:
~~~~~
... nor no
matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affection,
but called it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very
much, more handsome then fine; one speech in it I chiefly loved,
~~~~~

Hamlet's lines from "affection" to "loved" have an undertone of allusion to Ophelia.

Hamlet is repeating what someone else said about the play, not his feelings about Ophelia. The players have drawn him back to happier memories of the theater and a speech he loved. Connecting his hearsay to the "Are you honest?" question to Ophelia, seems too flimsy a bridge for me to traverse.

Regards, Charles
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1167

Charles wrote:
Notice he says: "Frailty, thy name is woman", he doesn't differentiate but takes the entire gender to task.

He's speaking based on Gertrude's behavior. That's it.
... we cannot at this time expect him to importune Ophelia with tenders of love.

Yes, we can.
In the nunnery scene ...

I've already posted a walkthrough of the Nunnery Scene for the benefit of those who would actually like to learn the play.
I'm not suggesting that Hamlet had never been to Wittenberg, only that he was on his way back when Claudius killed his father.

Your idea has no support anywhere in the play dialogue. The actual sequence of events is as I already gave.
Hamlet is repeating what someone else said about the play, not his feelings about Ophelia.

Those who can read the play know better. What I wrote about that is entirely correct.
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1168

Willedever wrote:
Charles wrote:
Hamlet is repeating what someone else said about the play, not his feelings about Ophelia.

Those who can read the play know better. What I wrote about that is entirely correct.

I have to agree with Charles here. In that scene Hamlet is reproducing the phrasing of somebody else's review of that play.
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1169

Willedever wrote:
Charles wrote:
Notice he says: "Frailty, thy name is woman", he doesn't differentiate but takes the entire gender to task.

He's speaking based on Gertrude's behavior. That's it.
Yes, he is speaking about Gertrude's behavior, but that's not the issue I'm trying to explore. I'm making the argument that the level of disgust indicated by his statement reflects Hamlet's overall emotional stature, how he is feeling about his mother specifically and the world in general. His mood is dark and that permeates his thoughts and his behavior. I have difficulty imagining him writing love letters and making tenders of affection toward Ophelia after the death of his father, particularly after the interchange with the ghost. I have to wonder why you are so sure that he could so bifurcate his feelings to be able to do so? Are you speaking from personal experience -or- are you Shakespeare reincarnated :D

There are others who read these threads - I wonder if they care to share their thoughts and ideas?

Regards, Charles
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1170

Willedever wrote:
... very different interpretations of this play can make a lot of sense in each their own way.

The correct interpretation is the one that works for the words Shakespeare actually wrote. That's what I've been presenting. People who can't read Hamlet, or who don't want to, can imagine it means anything.

Again, we're speaking in "absolutes" here. Like in any play, there's the author's intention (which is impossible for us to fully determine and verify) and there's the interpretation. It's possible that the interpretation is "more perfect" than the original intention (I've seen playwrights admit this) but it's based on the original intention. Being based on the original intention, it's not the original intention, however "right" or "perfect" it may be.

So, in speaking of any piece of art, there are no such things as absolutes and anything being 100% accurate. There's always room for more than one interpretation of a work of art, just like an actor has "choices" and "intentions" when forming a character. Some of them are stronger than others but each is valid in its own way.
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"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1171

sorensonian wrote:
... In that scene Hamlet is reproducing the phrasing of somebody else's review of that play.

Hamlet is not quoting anybody there. Hamlet is describing what somebody else said, and in the process he adds an undertone of allusion to Ophelia, just exactly as I already pointed out. That is to say, Shakespeare added an undertone of allusion to Ophelia in Hamlet's speech.
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