Some Necessary Questions of the Play: A Stage-centered Analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Bucknell University Press, 1994 - History - 171 pages
In "For the Purposes of Defense," historian Gene A. Smith examines the politics and ideology of the fleet of small shallow-draft vessels commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson that dominated the United States Navy during the first two decades of the nineteenth century. Designed to maneuver and fight in coastal waters, the vessels had limited ability on the open seas. They were considered defensive rather than offensive craft and have become the focus of the white-water (coastal) - blue-water (seagoing) controversy as well as the navalist-antinavalist debate of the period. When examining the fleet, scholars have charged that Jefferson opposed the navy. He did not, although his most famous quote refers to "the ruinous folly of a navy." Instead, Jefferson was an economy-minded, astute politician who viewed the gunboats as part of a political-military policy rather than a naval program in itself. Gunboats were an economic and political alternative to the exorbitant costs of a blue-water navy. Their perceived initial costs would be small, and when not in use they could be hauled up and protected under cover, eliminating costly maintenance. Staffing them by a naval militia would further lessen their costs. Additionally, they were a defensive weapon that provided few opportunities for incidents at sea that might provoke war. They were also useful in revenue enforcement, suppressing piracy along the coastal frontier, checking the illegal slave trade and smuggling, as well as other nontraditional uses. Moreover, gunboat construction provided a unique political opportunity for the Jefferson administration. Gunboats could be built throughout the country, allowing the distribution of contracts beyond the regular centers of naval activity and to those areas supporting Republican politics.

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Contents

Introduction
13
Space and Time
25
Space and Scrutiny in Hamlet
27
Taking Up the Past Hamlet and Time
47
Theatrical Text
67
Put Your Discourse into Some Frame Hamlet and the Uses of Wit
69
About My Brains Hamlets Soliloquies
91
Theatrical Expectations
109
Body Actor and Character in Hamlet
111
Issues of Culture and Genre
131
Notes
151
Works Cited
163
Index
169
Copyright

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Page 78 - Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me ! You would play upon me ; you would seem to know my stops ; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery ; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass : and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ ; yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe ? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
Page 65 - tis not to come ; if it be not to come, it will be now ; if it be not now, yet it will come : the readiness is all.
Page 125 - Seems, madam ! nay, it is ; I know not 'seems.' 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black...
Page 131 - The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited : Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the only men.
Page 57 - Angels and ministers of grace defend us! — Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd, Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell, Be thy intents wicked or charitable, Thou comest in such a questionable shape That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet, King, father; Royal Dane, O, answer me!
Page 60 - No traveller returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of ? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all ; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action.
Page 126 - Pale as his shirt ; his knees knocking each other ; And with a look so piteous in purport, As if he had been loosed out of hell, To speak of horrors, — he comes before me.
Page 134 - For he was likely, had he been put on, To have prov'd most royally : and, for his passage, The soldiers' music, and the rites of war, Speak loudly for him.
Page 37 - My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time, And makes as healthful music : it is not madness That I have utter'd : bring me to the test, And I the matter will re-word ; which madness Would gambol from.

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