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


Right now, we're doing some research in a nearby school with "dictogloss".
The kids get two versions of Act One: a narrative, which goes like this:

"At midnight, on the wall of a castle, there are four men. The first man is
Hamlet. Hamlet is Denmark’s prince. The second man is Horatio. Horatio is
Hamlet's friend.  The third man is Marcellus. Marcellus is Denmark’s
officer.   The fourth man was the king of Denmark. The fourth man was Hamlet
’s father. But the fourth man is not a man. The fourth man is...a GHOST!"
(Kids pretend to swoon and cower!)

And then they also get a dialogue, which goes like this:

GHOST: I stay by day near hell, you see.

HAMLET: Hell? Not heaven? That can’t be!

G: It must be. There I must stay.

H: I’ll stay with you. I will pray.

G: You will pray? No, you must kill!

H: I must kill? I can’t.

G:                                  You will.

My own brother murdered me.

Say my killer won’t go free.

H: Free? Your killer is the king.

G: Now you must change everything.

The texts are both done at normal speed, and the kids work in pairs to
reconstruct exactly what was said on a little whiteboard. When they're
done, we photograph the whiteboard with a digital camera, and then try the
next Act.

The question is--which one will they remember better? We did this last year
with every single act of Hamlet, and the results were pretty clear--on the
average, TWICE as many words remembered. I think the reason is pretty
clear--they WORK better together when the text is a dialogue.

But...the nearer we get to the end of the play, the more puzzled they get.
You see, it's just not true that Hamlet repairs the world. He kills
everybody, and then himself; the country is handed over to the Norwegian,
and with his dying breath, Hamlet actually welcomes the invader. The one
thing he really does repair is the offence to Laertes--and also Fortinbras!

I think that is what is really new in Shakespeare's Hamlet--as opposed to
Kyd's. Before Shakespeare's Hamlet, revenge plays were about revenge--as
much snuff porn as you could possibly fit into a play. The Spanish Tragedy
has hangings, stranglings, and people having their heads nailed to the
stage, and even a play within a play in which the actors kill the audience,
and the real audience has to wonder if it is just a play or something like
an IS beheading video done live. (There was a big fad for this kind of
stuff in South Korean cinema not too long ago; "Old Boy" was the memorable
result.) After Shakespeare, revenge plays have to be about the consequences
of violence--and the real resolution is not vengeance but understanding and

David Kellogg

David Kellogg

On Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 3:31 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:

> David writes:
> > "The "First Time Fails" is--to me--a simple description of the necessary
> time lag between
> > the presence of choices in the environment and the emergence of true,
> > informed free will in the chooser: free will as the (hopefully not too
> > tardy) recognition of necessity.”
> Which circles around back to Hamlet, right? Ontogenetically. Hamlet’s
> self. So it is in REPAIR that Hamlet gets it right, that is, what’s
> necessary.
> With his father’s ghost as Arjuna. Hamlet finally frees himself by
> repairing the world. First in word, then in deed.
> And I think there’s a logogenetic, poetic, aspect worth noting. The syntax
> of the following sentence seems archaic, even Germanic, to the modern ear,
> but there is something NECESSARY in the order of words that puts the verb
> at the end of the Ghost’s rage-filled grief in describing his murder at the
> hands of his brother, Claudius:
> “Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand, of life, of crown, of queen,
> at once dispatched…Cut off…”
> The audience knows that the former king was killed, so the action is
> already primed in their individual and collective minds, but a complete
> sentence reqluires the verb, and we get first the Latinate “dispatched”,
> with the Anglo-saxon “cut off” to nail the coffin. One can imagine Kyd
> putting the verb earlier on, in a Clive Custler style. But Shakespeare
> chose the poetic route, rather than the pornographic. (This may be a
> stretch.)
> Which brings me back to something else David said:
> "Both Vygotsky and Halliday see free will as the key
> problem to be explained and both set about explaining it by stating
> that external options in the social situation of development are what bring
> about the activity of choosing (lines of development) and at last the
> initernalization of systems of choices (neoformations).”
> Arguably, Shakespeare just internalized more systems of choice than Kyd.
> What’s amazing is how Vygotsky was able to cram so much internailzing into
> so few years. Certainlly that would have to do with his interpersonality.
> Henry