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2.0 out of 5 stars ' He discards the love interest and the scene at the graveyard even though ..., 9 Aug. 2014
This review is from: What Happens in Hamlet (Paperback)
John Dover Wilson's analysis of Hamlet contains so many words of wisdom it is difficult to criticise such obvious dedication to his work and his Cambridge Shakespeare was many years in the editing. What puts me off is the gross self-indulgence evident throughout the book which could be written in half the space. Having gained his professor's chair, it is evident that Wilson assumes his role as Shakespearean pedagogue with smug arrogance and at times almost tries to convince himself of his theories, such as the double-entry theory just before 'to be or not to be'. He must have overheard the conversation between Polonius Ophelia and Claudius, therefore he must have been eavesdropping, therefore he must have entered earlier, therefore therefore there must have been two entrances, therefore subsequent editors became confused and simply omitted the first one. The dumb-show confuses Wilson so he builds up an elaborate case for the King to have been in deep conversation with Polonius during it, based on the throwaway 'do you mark that?' He discards the love interest and the scene at the graveyard even though it is at this point that Hamlet finally declares his agony - plainly and simply: 'I loved Ophelia!' Granted, his researches did give us 'sullied' instead of 'solid' flesh - which may or may not be correct - and he enlightens us as to many facets of the play which would be known only to Elizabethan audiences. But some of his ideas stretch the imagination to say the least. he does not like the leaping in the grave scene, so he praises forthcoming research meant to prove that it didn't occur - even though,as he admits, it is sanctioned by the Bard himself in the play. I would thank Wilson for the invaluable background information he supplies but condemn him for gross indulgence and self-interest.
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4.2 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)
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