Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hamlet and the Other Fishmonger

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor. 3rd. ed. London: Arden, 2006.
The footnote from the third (rather than from the second) Arden edition ties the line up far more neatly. Here, it’s funny—and it also indicates that Hamlet is pretending to be mad. Apparantly, it’s such a funny mistake that he can’t really be mad, can he?

It also tells us that other editors argue about the implications of the word . . . but that we’re not going to. We’ll point you toward Harold Jenkins’ Long Note on the subject, but we won’t deal with it here.

If Mel Gibson's portrayal of Hamlet fits Jenkins’ footnote (aware that Polonius is going to “loose [his] daughter” to him, he makes a deliberate dig at Polonius), Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet (in Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet) better fits this note. At that point, he’s essentially unaware that Bill Murray (sorry! I mean Polonius) is going to make use of his daughter. He’s reviewing a video he must have made at some point, and the fishmonger line is delivered off-handedly.

More on fishmongers later—I promise! But we still need to get to Jephthah.

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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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