greenspun.com : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

When Hamlet is in his mother's closet, he tells her, "I must to England, you know that." How does he know that he is being forcibly shipped to England? Of course, you could say that this is a rational assumption on his part considering that he has just murdered the prime minister. However, if you go with that, then the next question is how does he know that R&G are also going ("adders fanged...they bear the mandate...")? Have I missed something in the text or perhaps not made the proper logical connections? If anyone can help me out, I would appreciate it.

-- mikken (mikken@neo.rr.com), July 17, 1999


I think this is an example of Shakespeare's infamous plotholes. We in the audience don't actually see/hear anyone tell Ham that he's going to England before he mentions it so something must have happened "offstage". According to the notes in my trusty Arden edition (doesn't the ghost on the front cover look so much like Branagh's?), it says

"The King's plan was already forming at III,i,171, but at III,iii,3 the "commission" was still to be prepared. As to how Hamlet knew of it, since the text is silent, speculation is invalid. The 'difficulty' passes unnoticed in the theatre, and such inventiveness as making Hamlet search Polonius' pockets is misplaced."

My question is, when Claudius actually tells Hamlet in IV,iii that he's being sent to England, is Hamlet's response, "For England?", surprise or sarcasm? In other words, did Shax forget that Hamlet knew?

-- Virginia (vleong@ibm.net), July 17, 1999.

To me, III.iii.2 - 4 imply Claudius has already mooted England with R & G, having planned it back at III.i.167 - 169 ( and note Polonius' response III.i.185). So, H's comments to his mother show that he has found out about it, and suspects it is a plot against him, but that he really is able to "delve one yard below their minds/ And blow them at the moon"; ie he's a step ahead of plots against him and will counter them. So, (A) we as audience won't worry too much about his safety, and (B) further proves he is clever and intelligent and, because of this and others of his traits, truly "likely, had he been put on,/ to have proved most ro

-- catherine england (catherineamer@hotmail.com), October 04, 2001.

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