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TOPIC: Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II

Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1751

I am a senior English teacher trying to teach Hamlet for the first time. I was using the Hamlet regained website, but got confused about the nightmare Hamlet has before Act II. Mr. Jordan makes a few brief references to it but I need more than that. The other senior English teachers are not believing that the text supports the idea that Hamlet had a nightmare about Ophelia. Can Mr. Jordan or someone else provide me some textual evidence to support this idea?

I am just now getting to Act II. The students are working on a quiz today on Act I.
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1753

I believe the nightmare Mr. Jordan is referring to what occurs between I, 5 and II, 2 when Hamlet mentions to R & G:

HAM. O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space—were it not that I have bad dreams.

The dream could possibly have been about Hamlet killing Claudius and he himself was killed in the process (especially if he's unsuccessful). He likely hasn't come to terms with sacrificing his own life until III, 3.

But I'm not sure one could make the case that his nightmare was about Ophelia.
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1758

...then again, you could just switch to Q2 (like the Arden edition) and this passage is deleted out... :)
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1759

BamaFlum - I don't envy you teaching Hamlet for the first time. I am concerned you are using the Hamlet regained site. I don't know where you live, but, if possible, I strongly suggest getting a copy of Shakespeare After All by Marjorie Garber. It's in paperback. Garber devotes a chapter to each play plus she provides good suggestions for further reading and lists film versions for many plays. There is also a new book, Looking for Hamlet by Marvin W. Hunt, which is good. You might find Shakespeare For Dummies (awful title) worth your time. Even Cliff's Notes for Hamlet is better than Hamlet regained.

Yes, scholars have different views about Hamlet. Notice, I refer to scholars. Jeffrey Paul Jordan is not a scholar. He isn't even a good informed reader. Mr. Jordan has no basic understanding of Elizabethan drama and theatre.

I did a quick look at his site and found many errors. For example:
1. There is no textual evidence to support his claim that Hamlet is secretly engaged to Ophelia.
2. There is no textual evidence to support his claim that "Politically, Hamlet is more popular than he knows."
3. There is no textual evidence to support his claim that Claudius was in love with Gertrude when he was young. There is no mention of his youth in the play.
4. There is nothing in the text to support his claim that the second clown is a court Bailiff.
5. There is no textual evidence that Claudius orders the death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Claudius gives a note to R & G address to the English king telling him to kill Hamlet. In Act V Scene 2, Hamlet tells Horatio that he took the letter and changed it to read that R and G are the ones who should be killed. Has Mr. Jordan read the play?
6. Mr. Jordan says that Amleth does not pretend to be mad. That is not true. Amleth does pretend to be mad.
7. There is no textual evidence to support the claim that Laertes kills Reynaldo.
8. Mr. Jordan claims that Hamlet has nightmares. Yes, Hamlet mentions bad dreams, but this does not mean they were nightmares. In fact, bad dreams were a symptom of the melancholic.
9. Mr. Jordan doesn't understand that Claudius does flee in the middle of the Mousetrap play because it caught his conscience.
10. Mr. Jordan claims that Polonius summons the Ghost in Act III Scene 4. The Ghost appears after Polonius has been killed. When does Mr. Jordan think Polonius summoned him?
11. There is no evidence that the Sexton clown is based on Ben Jonson. Mr. Jordan must have dreamed this.
12. I know that the Oxfordian crowd believes that the character of Hamlet is based on Edward de Vere. No serious scholar would agree.

As for Mr. Jordan's Timeline, it's not worth much. He bases it on a mention of St. Patrick. Okay, but no serious scholar would agree.
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1761

I've noticed a few errors myself. I have talked with a good friend who taugh Hamlet last year who said that some of the stuff is interesting and plausible while other stuff is just an overzealous student of Shakespeare trying to read too much into the play.

The only thing in your list I could add to is that I believe the line "And hath given countenance to his speech, my Lord, With almost all the holy vows of heaven..." makes it plausible that Hamlet has asked Ophelia to marry him but that have not formally make the announcement, hence the "almost."
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1764

Soothsayer wrote:
8. Mr. Jordan claims that Hamlet has nightmares. Yes, Hamlet mentions bad dreams, but this does not mean they were nightmares. In fact, bad dreams were a symptom of the melancholic.

Yep, that's it exactly. These bad dreams do not refer to anything specific, but relate to Hamlet's humour.
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1766

sorensonian wrote:
Soothsayer wrote:
8. Mr. Jordan claims that Hamlet has nightmares. Yes, Hamlet mentions bad dreams, but this does not mean they were nightmares. In fact, bad dreams were a symptom of the melancholic.

Yep, that's it exactly. These bad dreams do not refer to anything specific, but relate to Hamlet's humour.

That is how I interpret it. It would be normal for Hamlet to have "bad dreams" after everything he has been through the past two months.
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1770

Bama Flum,

A very good (and recent) resource for Shakespeare and his plays is The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare edited by Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells. While the hardcover edition retails for $65.00, amazon.com is currently offering it for $24.47.

http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Companion- ... 198117353/

I hope this helps!
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1775

Soothsayer wrote:
BamaFlum - I don't envy you teaching Hamlet for the first time. I am concerned you are using the Hamlet regained site. I don't know where you live, but, if possible, I strongly suggest getting a copy of Shakespeare After All by Marjorie Garber. It's in paperback. Garber devotes a chapter to each play plus she provides good suggestions for further reading and lists film versions for many plays. There is also a new book, Looking for Hamlet by Marvin W. Hunt, which is good. You might find Shakespeare For Dummies (awful title) worth your time. Even Cliff's Notes for Hamlet is better than Hamlet regained.

Soothsayer -- I'm confused. What, how and why is Hamlet "regained" on Mr. Jordan's website?
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Hamlet's "bad dream" before Act II 6 years 6 months ago #1779

Paul - According to Mr. Jordan scholars writing about Hamlet are wrong in every way. He has a beef with the Arden editions of the play. He's not clear on the matter, but I assume he believes he is taking the play back from the scholars. Go to Google, type in Hamlet Regained, and you'll be taken to the site. To me, it's good for a laugh; nothing more.
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