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TOPIC: Hamlet's reaction to the ghost's parting words

Hamlet's reaction to the ghost's parting words 7 years 7 months ago #2428

  • Mike thomas
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Hi all

I get perplexed and, i have to say, somewhat annoyed when studying Hamlet.

Its not because its a crazy kind of play, its because i try reading from hard copies such as the Oxford etc,
and when comparing against the First Folio, everyone, except Gutenberg, seems to chop and change willy nilly.

Is this what scholars do with their time? Why is it, when the very people who put the Folio together (and it must
have taken a great deal of discussion and planning) actually tell the reader that ther are no errors, someone
somewhere decides that there are?

The question I would like to ask those so-called scholars of Shakespeare, is this:

In Hamlet Act 1, sc 3, the King's ghost bids Prince Hamlet farewell: "Adue, adue, Hamlet: remember me."

Why does Hamlet need to make a written copy of those five words? Hamlet repeats the message again,
so he must write all the five words down. If the king says "adue, adue,"
and mentions Hamlet's name, then surely all that is left to remember, is "remember me".

If that is the case, then the act of writing these two words down is a silly idea. Making a note to keep as a
memoir of meeting hi dad's ghost is fine, but all Hamlet has to remember is one single word: me.

I understand Hamlet is supposed to be acting like a madman, but if he is conversing with his father, why would
he still act crazy, when there's nobody to see him but the ghost?

Does anyone know of an astute write up on this matter?

What is going on?

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Re: Hamlet's reaction to the ghost's parting words 5 years 8 months ago #5174

  • Ray Eston Smith Jr
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Good point. It's true he would only need to write down "me" - if he was being true to himself. But that was Shakespeare's point - Hamlet was not being true to himself when he wrote his father's commandment to "live all alone" within the book of his brain. He had erased his "me" and replaced it with his father. Then in his "tablet" (perhaps the appendix to the book of his brain) he also wrote down his uncle.

In a later scene Hamlet is reading a book - the book and volume of his brain in which, though he "holds it not honesty," he has written down these tedious old men. Usurp Your Sovereignty of Reason Old Men in the Book of His Brain

Later, the injunction to remember is mockingly echoed when Hamlet tells Osric (his shadow) to remember:

Osrick was a reflection or shadow of Hamlet. Hamlet said, "to know a man well, were to know himself," but he admitted to the vice of knowing Osric. Osric was rich in the possession of dirt - Hamlet was heir to a graveyard. The king wanted to place a wager on Hamlet's head - Hamlet wanted to place a hat on Osric's head. The old king ordered Hamlet to remember - Hamlet told Osric to remember. Osric's purse was empty, all his golden words were spent. Hamlet's purse, with his father's signet, was finally empty - he was ready for silence. The Voice of Denmark
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