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[Xmca-l] Re: The Ego and the Interpersonality
I agree that repair in Hamlet seems to be reduced to vengeance.
Like you, as an educator, I am most interested in how we can use dialog and narrative for learning. Yet, I have almost given up thinking I know what is to be done, for example in the case of the Opt-out of standardized testing movement. I was asked, as part of my job as as sub at a local charter school, to help monitor the standardized testing. I was told that unless a certain percentage of the total student body actually took the test, the school would be docked over $100,000, a considerable portion of their budget. I said I was not comfortable monitoring the testing and did not come to school during those days. I dearly hope the budget is not compromised, yet realize my action couldn’t help avoid such a crunch. Is this in any way relevant to the discussion?
I get the NY Times on line and am amazed at several videos that offer much more dramatic instances of things not being right in the world and efforts to repair it.
Here is an instance from Tehran, literally an eye for an eye:
Here’s another example from Germany, the case of a former SS member tried for war crimes at a Nazi death camp during WWII:
The second case comes closer to true repair, which I associate with distributive justice. In the first case (Tehran) there is no possibility for forgiveness, reconciliation, since there is no sense of true repentance. In the second there is repentance and forgiveness.
I’ll end by repeating that you are absolutely right that there is very little repair in Hamlet. In fact, none of Shakespeare's tragedies provide that. (But we have his comedies where undertstanding and reconciliation happen, rather than vengeance.) But I am left with Arjuna, the ghost of Hamlet’s father (in Peter Brook’s version), to “Not Taint” his mind. No wonder your students were confused! Should they see Hamlet as a bull in a china shop, or as breaking eggs to make an omelet?
> On Apr 22, 2015, at 6:56 AM, David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> 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 <email@example.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
>> 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
>> 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.