H2016: Juxtaposing Speeches

Tonight we’ll be blocking the latter part of “Scene 1,” which is our nomenclature for Hamlet’s 1.2. It’s the section after Claudius and the court have exited, and Hamlet soliloquizes (more briefly, in our script), then receives news of the Ghost via Horatio and Marcellus. It’s an exposition-heavy scene, although it’s made a bit more…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 50-51

HORATIO: Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak! Exit Ghost. MARCELLUS: ‘Tis gone, and will not answer. With this post, I have managed to make my way through 50 lines of Hamlet. But this is not an occasion for celebrating; I just need to tuck my head down and keep analyzing, if I’m ever going…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 44-48

BARNARDO: It would be spoke to. MARCELLUS:                                  Speak to it, Horatio. HORATIO: What art thou that usurp’st this time of night, Together with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty of buried Denmark Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee speak. When last we left our supporting cast — Barnardo the Paranoid,…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Line 42

BARNARDO: Looks it not like the king? Mark it, Horatio. Here we go again: two lines ago, Barnardo pointed out to Horatio (or, more importantly, to the audience) that the Ghost resembles “the King that’s dead.” And a whopping one line ago, Marcellus urged, “speak to it, Horatio.” The latter is not quite the same…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Line 41

MARCELLUS:Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio. At this point, your humble author reveals how rusty his research skills have become. Although I read Hamlet on my own in Grade 10, I didn’t study it until Grade 11. My teacher, Robin Carson, was enormously knowledgeable and articulate, to the point that I can still…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Line 39

Enter GHOST. MARCELLUS: Peace, break thee off, look where it comes again. Although from my perspective, it’s been a month and a half since the line-by-line analysis of Hamlet began, only 38 lines have been spoken on stage prior to the entrance of the main attraction, ie. Hamlet, Sr. (deceased). In Q1, the number of…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 25-28

MARCELLUS: Therefore I have entreated him along With us to watch the minutes of this night; That if again this apparition come, He may approve our eyes and speak to it. There are lots of textual details to explore here — the presence or absence of a comma after “With us,” for instance, which could…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 22-24

MARCELLUS: Horatio says ’tis but our fantasy, And will not let belief take hold of him Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us: These are the first three lines of a seven-line verse speech — the longest single bit of dialogue thus far in Hamlet. Go, Marcellus! It’s also the point at which Shakespeare…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 19-21

BARNARDO: Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good Marcellus. MARCELLUS:What, has this thing appear’d again tonight? BARNARDO: I have seen nothing. Here, we get our first real scholarly (and producerly) crux. Line 20 — the one where Shakespeare uses “thing” as the ultimate deferral of exposition — is attributed to Marcellus in the First Quarto and the First…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 14-16

FRANCISCO: Give you good night. MARCELLUS:O, farewell, honest soldier; who hath relieved you? FRANCISCO: Bernardo has my place. Give you good night.  Exit. Nothing very spectacular here. Shakespeare is revving up his Revolving Door, the staging technique that kept his big, bare stage feeling busy and populated. Two characters just entered, so it’s time for…