Hamlet:Getting Inside the Between: Interiority
The Birth of Interiority:Hamletastransitiontoward a modern notion of consciousness or subjectivity as interiority.From theopening, Hamlet stands apart as spokesman foran authenticindividualidentity:Film clip of Hamlet’s first appearance and soliloquy (Olivier, 13:15 – 18:52),1.2.61-158; pp.12-15.Hamlet rejects identity as something that is exterior, like clothes, that can be put on and taken off:Seems, madam? Nay, it is. I know not "seems.". . .I have that within which passes show;These but the trappings and the suits of woe.(1.2.76, 85-86)Hamletproposes identity asunique,interior,andcontinuous.
Individuality, Continuity,andthe Specter of Suicide:Therepeated word in Hamlet's initial exchange with Gertrude and Claudius is "common.“if Hamlet agrees that death is common, he denieshis ownindividual identity.Hamlet thus must hold on to the memory of his father in the past in order to maintain his own sense of individual identity in the present.
Hamlet's First Soliloquypp.14-15; 1.2.129-159
Hamlet’s lament that his mother has failed properly to remember the past--his dead father--necessarily takes the form of an urge to terminate his self in the present.
But there is an editoral dispute over this first soliloquy:
Quarto 2 (1604) reads “O that this tootoosallied[sullied] flesh would melt / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.”The Folio (1623) reads “O that this tootoosolidflesh would melt / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.”
Which do you think is the best editorial choice?A) “sallied”?orB) “solid”?
The Ghost of a Self:
Hamlet's second long soliloquy:The idea ofrememberinghis idealized father resurfaces in response to the ghost's commandment for revenge:p. 31;1.5.92 - 112Film Clip of Olivier’sSecond Soliloquy, 37:38 - 41:36
Hamlet's Second Soliloquy,p. 31; 1.5.92-112:
The ghost’s parting line before Hamlet’s soliloquy is:“Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me.”
Could someone come up and write out on the board a possible rendering/meaning of the three repeated words that begin this line?
If Hamlet wipes out the “tables” of his past, what is he wiping out?
His Danish historyHis humanist education at WittenbergHis diaries about himselfHis reliance upon foodHis mathematical calculations
Hamlet's Second Soliloquy, In Sum:
Here, Hamlet’s past ideal rushes into his present and defines his future for him.But the irony is that the ghost's demand for revenge itself requires a kind ofsuicide.Hamlet must collapse his identity into the standard mold of the revenge hero: a figure that is absolute and extreme and everything opposed to a Christian courtier (molded by his humanist education at Wittenberg)seeUr-Hamlet(1580s) source for the play, probably by Thomas Kyd, author of the popular revenge tragedy,The Spanish Tragedy(c. 1587)
Hamlet, in response to the ghost’s commandment, says “my sinews, grow not instant old.”How oldisHamlet?18-21253035We don’t know for sure
More Delaying, and Delaying, and Delaying
Hamletdoes notimmediately erase his youthful self, grow instant old, and carry out his revenge in remembrance of his father; he delays.and in Act 3, scene 1, the idea of suicide resurfaces in his famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy.
The View from Inside: The (K)not of Being(pp. 63-64; 3.1.56-89)
This speech "To be or to be" is itself a delaying speech.TwoVersions:1)FILM CLIP from ETHAN HAWKEPRODUCTION,Almeraydadirector(2000New York)29:45 - 30:53; 33:09 – 33:48; 40:10 – 42:362)FILM CLIP from KENNETH BRANAGH PRODUCTION(19th century-typeworld); 1:32:20 – 1:36:44
Which did you like best?HawkeBranagh
Which of the followinginll. 56-68 of this speech donotconnote the idea ofbothbeing and not being?
“suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”“end”“consummation”“sleep”“shuffled off this mortal coil”
"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all."What does “conscience” here mean?Consciousness or thinkingWakefulnessMoral awarenessA and BA and C
The problem is that for Hamlet acting responsibly involves sorting out both sides of his inner being--the avenger and the humanist--yet the very process of sorting them out mixes them.That is the very problematic K(not) of his innerBeing.
This isK(not)the end!KatieAdkisonnext lecture on women in the play.