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TOPIC: Hamlet Q2 version

Hamlet Q2 version 7 years 2 months ago #830

Ahhh..there's the miscommunication...Must have missed it by a day or so. Updated now.

But my question remains...

Couldn't an antic disposition (being clownish or buffoonish) *appear* to be madness if a serious individual were to take it on (especially if it were a polar opposite of their normal character)? A bit of devil's advocate here...
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Hamlet Q2 version 7 years 2 months ago #831

Yes, that's the synopsis I wrote, that you have now. You even snagged the pic from Wiki-p, well done. :)

I suppose the ultimate answer to the 'antic disposition' idea is to go through the play, take a look at everything Hamlet does, and show that in none of what he does, is he doing that. It takes a while. But there's world enough, and time. Shorter threads for it, tho, I think. I'll mosey back over to the Closet Scene in the other thread, finish up there, then we can look at the Nunnery Scene, and so on. We shall discover that there is no incident in the play where 'antic disposition' really applies to what Hamlet is saying and doing. His motivations are all explained otherwise.

The reason Hamlet says the phrase originally, is to try to excuse his "wild and whirling" words to Horatio and Marcellus, at that time. He knows he looks and sounds strange to them. He's trying to get by that, by giving them the idea that he's just fooling around. It isn't true as he says it. The Ghost has genuinely had an effect on him.

Not that he's "really mad" there, with Horatio and Marcellus. Hamlet is confused, excited, etc. Entirely to be expected, after such an experience. If he wasn't excited and confused, it would be abnormal.

Hamlet's main problem when he says "antic disposition" is Marcellus. Marcellus is a military officer, sworn to serve the King, on the King's payroll, and he's on military duty at the time they're talking. Marcellus has to be iffy, from Hamlet's point of view. One could assume that since we know Hamlet is the hero, and the good guy, and all that, Marcellus would automatically ally with Hamlet. But, would he? Based on what Hamlet claims a ghost said? Marcellus isn't a close friend of Hamlet, the way Horatio is.

We find out later that Hamlet has told Horatio. But, no sign he ever tells Marcellus. One couldn't blame Hamlet for not fully trusting a soldier who's paid by Claudius, and sworn to serve Claudius. Regicide is awfully touchy. I suppose. I never tried it. If I ever did, I'd sure be dam' careful who I told about it. :D But Horatio isn't sworn to serve Claudius, doesn't take a penny from Claudius, and is Hamlet's best friend.

Anyway, even at the time Hamlet originally says 'antic disposition' it isn't true. He's putting them off, mostly because of Marcellus. Hamlet tells them that maybe sometimes he'll just be clownish, and if so, they should ignore it. Hamlet doesn't care if Marcellus goes back to the barracks and tells his army buddies that.

So, you could say that from Marcellus's point of view, Hamlet does look a little nuts, while he speaks of 'antic disposition.' Marcellus would believe it. But for Hamlet, that isn't really what he's doing.

And there is no place in the play where 'antic disposition' is really what Hamlet's doing. It isn't at all the old, crude Amleth story. Shakespeare was much, much better.
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Hamlet Q2 version 7 years 2 months ago #833

I spotted another thing in the Q2 playtext that needs correction.

A3s4, this.....

Yea, o’er this solidity and compound mass

That's an odd combination of Folio and Q2. Q2 says.....

O’er this solidity and compound mass
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Hamlet Q2 version 7 years 2 months ago #836

Good catch! Fixed. Thanks!
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