PlayShakespeare.com
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

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

"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1182

Jim wrote:
... First the letter. We don't really know the circumstances surrounding this letter. ... Maybe the letter represents his true feelings or maybe its meant to give a false impression.

There's no reason to think Hamlet intends a false impression in the letter to Ophelia. Also, the sentiment of the letter is verified by what Ophelia says to Polonius. It's further verified when Hamlet says "I did love you once." The reasonable interpretation is that the letter expressed Hamlet's true feelings to Ophelia at the time he wrote it.

It's also reasonable that the letter Polonius chooses to read is Hamlet's latest. That would be why Polonius is so confident to proceed with the spying plan for the Nunnery Scene. Polonius wouldn't be suggesting the spying plan if he was in doubt that Hamlet would express love for Ophelia. That indicates the letter being very recent (or effectively the same as any more recent ones.)
Hamlet's statement, "Frailty thy name is woman", is a generalization based on a single observation: his mother, Gertrude. This is faulty inductive reasoning and it is a product of his adolescence. ...

Yes, exactly. He's talking about Gertrude, with no direct pertinence to Ophelia in that speech. It's isn't really any reasoning at all, it's emotional.

Of course it always has to be kept in mind that Gertrude married the man who beat Hamlet in the election for King. Whatever Hamlet says, that has to hurt.
... in the nunnery scene. He rails at Ophelia for what he sees his mother has become. ...

Can't be. What his mother has become is a lawfully married woman. Hamlet's behavior toward Ophelia in the Nunnery Scene is motivated by what he perceives at that time.
... As he sees it she [Gerrtrude] chose lust over love ...

Well, it isn't particularly an expression of lust to get married.

It's necessary to be very careful about what the Ghost says.
... I think it is accepted that Gertrude and Claudius didn't become officially an item until an indeterminant time after King Hamlet died. ...

The timing of their marriage is explicitly stated in the play dialogue, so that constrains the timing of them becoming a known item. The marriage was "within a month" after the funeral.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1183

This is a bit off topic for this thread, but I just wanted to add something because it's somewhat relevant to the discussion:
Willedever wrote:
The correct interpretation of Hamlet is the one that works for what Shakespeare actually wrote (as best we can determine that.)

Yes, but it depends on how you define "correct". What's correct in your mind is not what's correct in mine, or in other's...even Shakespeare's.
Willedever wrote:
If you ignore what Shakespeare wrote, you are obviously not going to produce a valid interpretation of the play (except by sheer, meaningless coincidence.)

Nobody's talking about ignoring what he wrote. All I've seen are discussions about what he wrote and the various interpretations of such...right or wrong. Also, coincidences happen all the time and, as an actor on the stage, I've made choices based on intuition that were later confirmed in the text. Yes, they started as coincidences and then became conscious choices.

This is a bit off topic for this thread, but I just wanted to add something because it's somewhat relevant to the discussion:
Willedever wrote:
The correct interpretation of Hamlet is the one that works for what Shakespeare actually wrote (as best we can determine that.)

Yes, but it depends on how you define "correct". What's correct in your mind is not what's correct in mine, or in other's...even Shakespeare's.
Willedever wrote:
Or, why were you so interested in getting Q2 right, if you don't think it matters what the Bard wrote? Isn't that rather "absolute?" ;)

No, I wasn't trying to get Q2 right. I was trying to get it correct. :P Naturally, one can see by the thread documenting the process that there were choices made which didn't necessarily adhere to "correctness" as it appears you define it. Maybe the phrase absolutely correct is the one I'm groping for.
Willedever wrote:
It should also be clear, just as a matter of common sense, that trying to interpret the play based on a single quote taken out of context is not a very smart, or useful, thing to do.

It didn't appear to me that's what was going on. The interpretation of all the quotes (hence the entire play) is what's obviously needed.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1184

Willedever wrote:
There's no reason to think Hamlet intends a false impression in the letter to Ophelia.

I can think of a reason. Hamlet takes every opportunity he can to jerk Polonius' chain This is no different. I am not saying this is the only interpretation, just that Hamlet's motivation is ambiguous.
Willedever wrote:
Also, the sentiment of the letter is verified by what Ophelia says to Polonius. It's further verified when Hamlet says "I did love you once." The reasonable interpretation is that the letter expressed Hamlet's true feelings to Ophelia at the time he wrote it.

Well, of course the sentiment is verified but not its motivation. I had already established that. Hamlet makes that clear in the nunnery scene. And yes Hamlet says, "I did love you once." He also follows that with, "I loved you not."
Willedever wrote:
It's isn't really any reasoning at all, it's emotional.

It's faulty inductive reasoning. Hamlte is drawing a universal principle from one observation emotionally driven or not. Its not the only time he does it.
Willedever wrote:
What his mother has become is a lawfully married woman. Hamlet's behavior toward Ophelia in the Nunnery Scene is motivated by what he perceives at that time.

That Gertrude is married is beside the point. Hamlet is angry with his mother for forgetting her first husband and marrying Claudius. After Hamlet's meeting with the Ghost Hamlet is even angrier. He suspects her involvent in King Hamlet's murder. But more to my point is that he sees Gertrude's unfaithfulness and it is this on this point that he lectures Ophelia in the nunnery scene. Later Hamlet takes Gertrude to task in the closet scene.
Willedever wrote:
Well, it isn't particularly an expression of lust to get married.

It is to be unfaithful. The Ghost is pretty clear on this, Claudius seduced and won to his shameful lust the will of the seeming virtuous queen.
Willedever wrote:
It's necessary to be very careful about what the Ghost says.

The Ghost is an honest ghost. Whether Gertrude was an accomplice in the murder is a question left to the first part of The Mousetrap. But then the Ghost doesn't say she was involved only that she was unfaithful.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

"To the celestial, and my soul's idol . . . 6 years 10 months ago #1185

Willedever wrote:
...are you ignorant of the fact that there are other Scenes in the play?
...The shortcomings of your personal imagination have nothing to do with the play.
...If you're ignorant, and too lazy to study the play, then of course you won't understand what I tell you.
...Have you ever even read the entire play?
You would be completely correct if you believed that I thoroughly respect your thoughts and opinions and appreciate the time you take to provide them. However, it seems your patience for ignorant opinions (a vile phrase) is very limited and I wonder if you think censure and invective are useful tools for encouraging discussion? Have your ideas about the play matured over the years from your study and the shared ideas of others, or have they came to you full blown? And yes, I have read the entire play.

Just as you like to be thanked for your efforts, others like to be listened to - if you feel you can not get your ideas across, I suggest that an agreement to disagree will work fine - insults reflect your character and never sit well with those that must suffer them. Here's a thought, why not consider emulating Hamlet's: "That I have shot my arrow o'er the house/And hurt my brother." I don't need an apology, but one would be nice (you may not do "nice", but surely you can do Hamlet).

On a happier note, I am glad we have a rousing good conversation going and I have learned much about how other perceive the play and Hamlet's sentiments.

Thank you all - please don't stop the friendly interchange.

Regards, Charles
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Moderators: William Shakespeare
Time to create page: 0.157 seconds