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[Xmca-l] Re: The Ego and the Interpersonality



If I may kibbitz-in here with Henry and David - Thank you David for the
clips and the extended commentary on reason and nature - the play is an
undealt-with reference for me, since  couldn't for the life of me answer
the question about 'Hamlet the hero' in the 1955 scholarship'A'level I
failed, so the reasoned discussion here is really enlarging of so many
areas of knowledge for me - love it.
Tom Richardson
Middlesbrough UK

On 18 April 2015 at 22:42, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> I think Brook is very influenced by his work on the Bhagavad Gita, which he
> sees as essentially the same story (Arjuna as Hamlet and Krishna as
> Horatio). There too the issue is "Taint not your mind". Or, to put it in
> somewhat less spiritual and more materialist terms:
>
> "These events show the young man, already somewhat stout, making the most
> ineffective use of the new approach to Reason which he has picked up at the
> university of Wittenberg. In the feudal business to which he returns it
> simply hampers him. Faced with irrational practices, his reason is utterly
> unpractical." (Brecht on Theatre, p. 202)
>
> Aye, there's the rub. By creating an imaginary environment called Reason
> and then adapting to that instead of to Nature red in tooth and claw, human
> beings have opted out of the laws of evolution, but at the same time failed
> to really put anything workable in their place: as Halliday likes to say,
> the first attempts by humans to create designed solutions which will
> replace evolved ones (land reform, Esperanto, public education, heavier
> than air flight) are always failures, because humans do not take the
> natural environment and its evolved solutions seriously enough. Icarus is
> not simply, as Auden writes, an unimportant failure tumbling from the sky;
> Icarus's tragedy is that he simply does not include enough information from
> below.
>
> My father, as a graduate student, took part in the hydrogen bomb tests on
> the Bikini Atoll. These tests had the effect of wiping the natural
> environment of a group of Marshall Islanders from the face of the earth.
> But within a few years I was born with a birth defect which would, in
> another age, have resulted in almost immediate infant death (one reason why
> I decided not to have children despite a lifelong interest in child
> development). From the fate of the Bikini Islanders (ditto the blind,
> blundering way that humans have walked backwards into global warming) we
> can easily see that our conquest of nature has, for the most part, failed
> to substitute acts of human reason for the violence of natural law in much
> the same way as Hamlet fails.
>
> Brook points out that Hamlet is really Shakespeare's plagiarism of a rival
> blockbuster, probably by Thomas Kyd, playing near concurrently just
> downriver from the Globe. He's reconstructing the play more or less from
> memory, and being Shakespeare, his imagination reaches a good bit beyond
> his powers of recall. This results in the notorious contradictions of fact
> in the play (Horatio is and is not a foreigner; the play within a play is
> both two and four months after the wedding, etc) but also in a very
> striking heterogeneity in the writing (the tedious and cruel jokes at
> Polonius's expense, the filthy banter of Hamlet with Rosencrantz and
> Guildenstern,alongside the breathtaking poetry of Horatio describing dawn
> over the ramparts of Elsinore).
>
> So Brook is trying to entirely eliminate the earlier play, by Kyd, from
> Hamlet and produce only the work of Shakespeare, the poet, This isn't
> entirely a matter of taste: Kyd was a sensationalist, and Shakespeare's
> violent reaction against Kyd's gratuitous violence is what produces this
> dialogic, anti-melodramatic drama.
>
> David Kellogg
>
>
>
> On Sun, Apr 19, 2015 at 5:12 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > David,
> > Nice! I was totally struck by the hugs between father and son in the
> Brook
> > version. A bit later Hamlet might have been thinking of those hugs when
> he
> > said: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,than are dreamt
> > of in your philosophy.” And, the Brook version is so much warmer. Hamlet
> a
> > person of color, in color. Agency and culture. Something worth dying for.
> > Love. These two clips were great!
> > Henry
> >
> >
> > > On Apr 17, 2015, at 3:49 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > 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
> > > not created.
> > >
> > > 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
> > > Kozintsev:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp5Rz0LqUSM
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > 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.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT5rLk40fnM
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> >
> >
>