Sunday, June 1, 2014

Act I, scene iv (Hamlet, Horatio, Ghost)

I.i I.ii I.iii I.iv I.v II.i II.ii III.i IIII.ii III.iii III.iv IV.i IV.ii IV.iii IV.iv IV.v IV.vii V.i V.ii

Scene IV. The platform.

video: olivier 1948

[Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.]

Hamlet: The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.

like a shrew

Horatio: It is a nipping and an eager air.

"eager" like acid

U38: "Airs romped around him, nipping and eager airs."
FW132.07 "aiger air"

Hamlet: What hour now?

Horatio: I think it lacks of twelve.

Marcellus: No, it is struck.

Horatio: Indeed? I heard it not: then draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.

(makes it sound like it was longer ago and more often than for the last three nights: why not 'holds'?)

[A flourish of trumpets, and ordnance shot off within.]

cf I.ii "This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof, No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell; And the king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again, Re-speaking earthly thunder"

WS is dramatizing the contrasting moods of Hamlet and Claudius

What does this mean, my lord?

Hamlet: The King doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

even the Danish king celebrates his coronation by getting drunk

Horatio: Is it a custom?

Hamlet: Ay, marry, is't;
But to my mind,—though I am native here,
And to the manner born,—it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduc'd and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition; and, indeed, it takes
From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So oft it chances in particular men
That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As in their birth,—wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin,—
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by some habit, that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners;—that these men,—
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,—
Their virtues else,—be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,—
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance often doubt
To his own scandal.

Hamlet gives a speech against Danes' drinking as he awaits the ghost (c1600 some were blaming the Danes for setting a bad example to Britain)

"to the manner born" loses Hamlet's primary meaning ('I reject their custom') when it's misquoted as 'manor'

FW365.05 "to the manhor bourne"

some early Danish kings were named 'Sweyn' (swine?)

"addition" = honorific added to name
"at height" = to the highest standards
"The pith and marrow of our attribute" = the core virtue we want attributed to us
"mole" = birthmark

Horatio: Look, my lord, it comes!

[Enter Ghost.]

Hamlet: Angels and ministers of grace defend us!—
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane; O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again! What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel,
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?

'un/questionable' just meant im/possible-to-ask-questions-of

"glimpses of the moon" (ambiguous: the ghost can only be seen when the moon shines, intermittently?)

U80: "Glimpses of the moon."

[Ghost beckons Hamlet.]

Horatio: It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.

U10: "On me alone."

Marcellus: Look with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it!

Horatio: No, by no means.

Hamlet: It will not speak; then will I follow it.

Horatio: Do not, my lord.

Hamlet: Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin's fee;
And for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again;—I'll follow it.

we've seen that Hamlet is so depressed by his father's death and mother's betrayal that he's contemplating suicide

Horatio: What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
And there assume some other horrible form
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason,
And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fadoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.

the topography is fictional here

U44: "hearing Elsinore's tempting flood"
U18: "That beetles o'er his base into the sea, isn't it?"
U37: "If I fell over a cliff that beetles o'er his base"

Hamlet: It waves me still.—
Go on; I'll follow thee.

Marcellus: You shall not go, my lord.

Hamlet: Hold off your hands.

Horatio: Be rul'd; you shall not go.

accept my advice

Hamlet: My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.—

a lion defeated by Hercules

[Ghost beckons.]

Still am I call'd;—unhand me, gentlemen;—

[Breaking free from them.]

By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!—
I say, away!—Go on; I'll follow thee.

"lets" = hinders

[Exeunt Ghost and Hamlet.]

Horatio: He waxes desperate with imagination.

"waxes" = grows

Marcellus: Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.

Horatio: Have after.—To what issue will this come?

"Have after" = let us follow

Marcellus: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

(a logical leap, given that he was trying to stop Hamlet a moment before-- is it Hamlet jr or Hamlet sr or Claudius he suspects is rotten at this point?)

Horatio: Heaven will direct it.

Marcellus: Nay, let's follow him.

(is Horatio hesitating?)


videos: Richard Burton [10m]

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