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[Xmca-l] The Ego and the Interpersonality
In "Psychology of Art" Vygotsky apprehends the so-called "Hamlet" enigma:
why doesn't Hamlet just go and do it? Why all the dilly-dallying, the
shilly-shallying, the hesitation and tergiversation? Vygotsky concludes
that the "Hamlet enigma" is really a curtain painted over the whole
painting. That is, the play is, itself, a study of how volition is and is
It is, as Vygotsky later says, the key question in the whole of
psychology--the question of how we make decisions and then these
self-given decisions and not the God-given environment become the nature to
which the human animal must adapt.
Consdier this 1964 Soviet version of Act 1 Scene 5--in Russian!--by Gregory
The film score was written by Shostakovich. But there is no music in this
clip--just the music of speech.
Compare this version--by Peter Brook.
Kozintsev cuts precisely the line that Brook considers the most important
line in all of Shakespeare. The Ghost says:
"Taint not thy mind!" (10:52 on the Brook clip)
Meaning, you must somehow carry out this murder, without destroying your
own soul--you must avenge me, but not vengefully--you must kill out of love
for your mother and for your motherland.
I think that BOTH Kozintsev and Brook consider this line a complete
contradiction. This line is why Hamlet hesitates and why he cannot seem to
perform the murder for four long hours, and when he does kill the king it
has almost nothing to do with vengeance (it is only when he has seen the
king murder his own mother and when he knows that he too is dying anyway).
Kozintsev cuts the line and makes the play into self-directed
narrative, the source of Bruner's "ego". But Brook keeps the line, and as a
result the play becomes more Shakespearean, more dialogic, and much closer
to the source of the ego, the interpersonality.