Monday, November 07, 2011

Seeking Hamlet in Another Place

They say that the actor who plays Hamlet gets to go into heaven by a private door.  Harold C. Goddard offers a hint as to why as he goes to seek Hamlet in what was perhaps the next (or, less likely the next previous) play that Shakespeare wrote:
...Troilus and Cressida was evidently a part of the same creative wave that produced Hamlet. … [T]he plays are in a sense intellectual twins, or, better, rhe lessser a sort of intellectual satellite of the greater. The leading characters of Troilus can be conceived of with equal ease as the elements or fragments of the Prince of Denmark (Even an element or a fragment of Hamlet surpasses an ordinary man.). Hector, for instance, is Hamlet's modety and nobility ombined with his inability to live up to his convidtions; Troilus is his alternating feminine fineness and savage masculine fury; Achilles his brooding and inaction transformed in the end to their opposite; Ulysses is his intellect and craft; Therites hiscontempt and incredible coarseness; Pandarus his wit and scorn of innocence. All this cannot be coincidence. 
--Harold C. Goddard, The Meaning of Shakespeare, vol. 2, 4 (1951)

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