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Line 3674, etc. - Commentary Note (CN) More Information

3675 {A table prepard, Trumpets, Drums and officers with Cushions,}..
3674 {King, Queene, and all the state, Foiles, daggers,}..
3674 { and Laertes.}..
3674 <Enter King, Queene, Laertes and Lords, with other Atten-> ..
3675 <dants with Foyles, and Gauntlets, a Table and> ..
3676 <Flagons of Wine on it.>..
1773 gent
3675-6 SD A table . . . Laertes] Gentleman (apud Bell, ed. 1773) : “We think the last scene of this play very reprehensible; it teems with slaughter, and, though the plot in many places is disgustful to criticism, even with latitude, we have no scruple to [pronounce?] its catstrophe the worst part of it.”
1848 Strachey
3674-3907 Strachey (1848, pp. 99-101): <p. 99>“I could willingly dwell on the closing scene of the play, and point out how its apparent simplicity and homeliness are the result of the most highly wrought art in every </p. 99> <p. 100> line and word; but I fear to be tedious, and hasten to the conclusion of the whole.
“Hamlet has come once more into the King’s presence, not with any plan for the execution of his just vengeance, but with, what is much better, the faith that an opportunity will present itself, and the resolution to seize it instantly. It does present itself, when he finds that he has in his hand a deadly weapon, unbated and envenomed by the King’s own device, and when at the same moment he is spurred on by hearing that his mother and himself are already poisoned: he sees that the hour is come, recocognises the command he waited for, and strikes the blow.
If this be the true view of the closing act of Hamlet’s career (and, as I have asked before, does any other explain all the circumstances equally well?) we must not only utterly reject the notion that Hamlet kills the King at last to avenge himself and not his father, though we may allow that the treachery to himself helped to point the spur which was necessary to urge him on to instant action: but we must also come to the conclusion which I proposed to prove by this enquiry into the whole plot and purpose of the Play,—that Hamlet does not, as Coleridge and other great critics have asserted, ‘delay action till action is of no use, and die the victim of mere circumstance and accident.’ True it is that he delays action till it can be of no use to himself, and has allowed his chains to hang on him, till the time for enjoying liberty and life is past: and it is doubtless a part of the moral of the play, that we should recognise in this defect in Hamlet’s character the origin of his tragic and untimely fate. He ought to have lived to enjoy his triumph, but surely he has triumphed, though only in death. If he had not triumphed, if he had not done his work before the night fell, but had been a mere idler and dreamer to the last, could we part from him with feeling but that of the </p. 100><p. 101> kind of pity which is half blame and contempt? And is not our actual feeling, on the contrary, that of respect as well as -sympathy?” </p. 101>
1854 del2
3675-6 SD A table . . . Laertes] Delius (ed. 1854) : “Die Bühnenweisung ist modern. In den Qs. steht dafür: A table prepared, trumpets, drums and officers with cushions, King, Queen, and all the state (d.h. der Hofstaat), foils, daggers and Laertes. In der Fol. werden zu table auch noch flagons of wine on it erwähnt.” [ “The stage direction is modern. In the Qq it stands thus: [Qq SD given]. In the Fol [the SD] will also mention the table with flagons of wine on it .”]
1872 del4
del4 =del2
3675-6 SD A table . . . Laertes]
1875 Marshall
Marshall : see also n. 3586
3675-6 Marshall (1875, p. 104): <p. 104>“On the stage a change of scene now occurs, but it appears that originally there was none, the conversation with Horatio and Osric taking place in the same hall in which the fencing match occurs. The King, Queen, Laertes, and Court enter, the flagons of wine are set on the table, and the first part of the treacherous plot against Hamlet’s life commences with the placing of Laertes’ hand in hamlet’s by his pious Majesty King Claudius. What must be the feelings of Laertes at this moment, as he suffers himself to go through this monstrous hypocrisy? He has need of a courage such as few murderers have ever shown, if he is not to tremble as he takes, insolemn reconciliation, the hand of the man whom he is about to assassinate in the most perfidious manner.” </p. 104>
1878 Watson
Watson : contra Bucknill ; contra Ulrici (n. 3802-04) : contra Kellogg
3674-3907 Watson (1878, pp. 14-5): <p. 14> “My own theory, gives Hamlet full credit for faithfully obeying the ‘dread command’ and taking the King’s life, at a time which should entitle him to the highest praise—in an hour when he knew his own death was close at hand. It is in keeping with good judgment that Hamlet does not, until in the fifth act, appoint a period of time within which he resolves to kill the King. That he kills him within that time, and solely in accordance with that resolve, I find the evidence. He then realizes that if he does not take the King’s life before the time when the ‘issue of the business in England shall become known in Denmark, his cause will be forever lost. Hence he determines to perform the duty within ‘the interim,’ and accepts a challenge from Laertes for its furtherance. Dr. Bucknill, in commenting upon the reasons which should have induced Hamlet to accept this </p. 14> <p. 15> challenge, observes:—’Might not also the challenge be accepted as likely to offer a good opportunity to meet the King and ‘quit him with this arm?’—an opportunity which he now resolves to seize whenever it offers.’ Bucknill, however, as if by a slip of the pen, joins many of his eminent confreres in medicine, and blots the lesson which Shakespeare intended that Hamlet’s life should teach: for “the blow,’ he says, ‘which finally quits the King was fully deserved for his last act; his end has an accidental suddenness about it which disappoints the expectation of judicial revenge.’ Had this author delved deeper, however, and closely followed the vein which he seems so happily to have struck he would have arrived at a more satisfactory conclusion. It was Hamlet’s cause and predetermination that spurred him to the act; otherwise he would not have been so well prepared to address the spectators and to leave instructions for the clearing up of mysteries, that posterity might learn the truth. He took the seal of secrecy from Horatio’s lips, that those dark but important pages in the history of the throne might not slumber on in the secret vaults of time. It must be borne in mind that it was while deciding to kill the King within ‘the interim’ that he received the challenge. He was informed that the ‘King and Queen and all’ would be present to witness the engagement, when he significantly replied, ‘In happy time.’ He expressed to Horatio that he believed the event would cost him his own life. From what source did he expect this danger? Not from Laertes, with whom he was to ‘cross swords,’ for when Horatio told him he would lose, he replied:—’I do not think so; since he went into France, I have been in continual practice.’ It must have been his contemplated attack on the King, then, that caused such dark forebodings.
“But for other proofs of a lordly mind let us now follow Hamlet to the scene of his triumph and death, where, in the midst of the falling ruins of a debauched throne, sparks of Hamlet’s towering intellect, the marvels of Shakespeare’s genius—become dazzling stars in the firmament of the </p. 15><p. 16> human mind. From the moment that Laertes says to him:—’Hamlet, thou art slain:No medicine in the world can do thee good; In thee there is not half an hour’s life—’ from that instant (regardless, for the first time, of who is present) he throws off all forms of insanity, and never has an unimpaired intellect been more discernible than our hero’s in his dying moments; never have firmness of action, calmness of judgment, presence for mind and forethought been better exercised. He has no further use for his false cloak. He is about to leave this world, and in accordance with his previous resolve the dread command must be obeyed. As an act, therefore, admitting of no possible delay, he strikes at the King with his foil; but hearing him afterwards implore, ‘0! yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.’ Hamlet, with the pallor of death on his countenance, rises to the fearful grandeur of the occasion, and, fearing that his work may not prove complete, takes the poisoned cup and exclaims:—’Here, thou incestuous, murd’rous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion.’ And echoing the epithets that were launched upon the King by, himself and his instructor from the other world, on the night wherein he vowed revenge, he suits the action to the words and deliberately compells his victim to swallow: and, so ere it is too late, fulfils his awful but Heaven exacted promise. His reason continues to clearly exhibit itself. He values his fair name, and realizes that, without explaining his behavior, he will be pronounced by posterity as having been a mad man, or that the killing of the King, as his willfil, dying act, will be regarded as a crime abhorrent to that religious civilization which his life, in fact, had adorned. Therefore, with fleeting breath, and a feeble wafting of his hand toward the dead boy of the royal wretch, he seeks thus to explain:—’You that look pale and tremble at this chance, That are but mutes or audience to this act, Had I but time (as this fell sergeant death, Is strict in his arrest), O! I could tell you—But let it be—Horatio, I am dead: Thou liv’st; report me and my cause aright To the unsatisfied.’</p. 16> <p. 17> When he finds his strength failing how wisely does he impose the task upon his friend.
“In furtherance of my theory, that, in taking the life of Claudius, Hamlet laid aside all considerations, save the one of judicial revenge, and carried out his own plans, it will be noticed in the quotation that he speaks in the singular: ‘this chance,’ ‘this act,’ ‘my cause.’ ‘This act’ means the exclusive one of killing the King, and since it appears to the spectators as a mere chance, he desires for them to learn that it is the result of preparation and design. By ‘my cause’ he means his great one of revenge, which he instructs Horatio to report aright, inasmuch as its details will be known to him alone. His simple words, ‘Report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied " are an argument in themselves.
“When Hamlet was about to thrust at the king he said:-—’The point Envenom’d too!—venom, to thy work.’ The hidden meaning of these words do much toward revealing the fact that Hamlet entered upon the duel for the purpose of ‘quitting the King,’ and that he looked upon it as a piece of ‘work’ to be accomplished through the use of the foil; but when he suddenly learned that the nature of his weapon had been changed he was impelled to make use of the expression, ‘the point envenomed too’ and since the venom was an unlooked for agency with which he was to operate, instead of saying — ‘Now, foil, to thy work,’ he very naturally said: ‘Then, venom, to thy work.’ Since the foil was poisoned he felt doubly sure. Hence the word ‘too’ has much force of meaning. I believe it is a remarkable fact, that, as yet, not a single writer has represented Hamlet as taking the King’s life uninfluenced by foreign motives; but, inasmuch as he killed the Monarch within the only period of time that he had set apart for that purpose, it is eminently proper that we, who are conversant with his secret life, should crown his efforts with the glory of an honorable triumph, since those who could discover no motives, other than local ones, would incline to destroy the lustre of his memory for the same act. </p. 17> <p. 18> But let us again observe with admiring wonder, how, in the brief moments preceding death itself, the mighty intellect of Hamlet moves to save the life of his friend. Mark his exquisite words and the physical strength exerted by his unimpaired will. Wounded, but standing erect, and wresting the fatal cup from the firm grasp of Horatio, he entreated him thus:—’As thou’rt a man, Give me the cup; let go; by heaven I’ll have it, O Godl Horatio,what a wounded name, Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me? If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, Absent thee from felicity awhile, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, To tell my story.’ He now pauses, for there steals upon his deafening ears the roar of cannon, and music from afar, and he calmly asks:—’What warlike noise is this?’ Are these, I ask the myriad worshipers of Shakespeare’s genius, an insane man’s acts and words? He uses the only argument that makes Horatio care to live: to put the memory of his hallowed Hamlet aright before the world. Let it be noted that in this quotation Hamlet uses the plural, denoting that in the former he did bear directly upon the one act of killing the King. ‘Things standing unknown’ he now desires to have fully explained, and prominent among those things the faithful Horatio will tell of nothing with more satisfaction than of Hamlet’s feigned insanity or ‘antic disposition,’ for the seal placed upon his lips at the shadowed platform is now removed, even with Hamlet’s dying breath.
“But let us see, still again, how, in the very tremor of death, Hamlet’s godlike reason serves him, and how much thoughtfulness he exhibits. In answer to his question, ‘What warlike noise is this?’ he is told:—’Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland, To the ambassadors of England gives This warlike valley.’
“Hear him, now, in measured cadence, alluding to important affairs of immediate public interest and leaving his </p. 18> <p. 19> dying words in behalf of one who has an ancient hereditary right to the throne:—’O! I die, Horatio: The potent poison quite o’er-crows my spirit; I cannot live to hear the news from England; But I do prophesy the election On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice; So tefl him, with the occurrents, more or less, Which have solicited. The rest is silence.’ Breathing now a silent prayer, his great spirit passes to the unknown world, and as it goes thither on its mysterious journey well does Horatio exclaim:—’Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet Prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!’ and so dies this valiant Hamlet, a death remarkable in its sublimity, as illustrating great powers of will and the com- plete maintenance of the mind’s integrity during the last extreme moments of an earthly life.
“Hermann Ulrici, one of the most distinguished German philosophers of the present time; thus comments upon the death of Hamlet [see n. 3802-4]:—’Although he seems to last to have made up his mind to act, nevertheless no one of the subsequent events is brought about by his own free volition, or according to his own intention. It is only at the very last moment, and when he is himself at the point of death, that, incensed by the discovery of the fresh crimes of the King, and on the impulse of the moment, rather than acting freely and deliberately, he mortally wounds him, and then, with a sigh for human weakness, expires.’ I am aware that this view receives the support of many profound writers—a fact that I can only regard, as strange; for I yet linger in thoughtful contemplation at the matchless beauties of Hamlet’s character, as exhibited in his dying moments, and at the grandeur of his self-possession throughout that awful scene, where revenge, treachery and death revelled on the throne of Denmark. His good judgment was discernible in declining to drink with the King, and again in refusing the Queen. While others were confused, and ‘looked pale and trembled,’ Hamlet was self-possessed, and assuming the voice of command, exclaimed:—’Let the door be lock’d; Treachery! seek it out.’</p. 19><p. 20> The most thoughtful question during the turmoil was Hamlet’s:—’How does the Queen?’ and ‘Heaven make thee free of it’ was his princely prayer in behalf of Laertes, (from whom he had received his mortal hnrt); while ‘Wretched queen adieu!’ tells plainly that thoughts of his misguided mother constituted the real agonies of his death.
“But I most deny the assertion of Ulrici, that Hamlet had discovered the fresh crimes of the King; for at the time he killed the King he could only have believed that Laertes was alone guilty of them. Up to that time his adversary distinctly represented that the ‘treachery’ and ‘villainy’ was his own and in reply to an interrogatory from Hamlet concerning these crimes, said:-—’It is HERE, Hamlet,* * * The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated, and envenom’d : the foul practice Hath turn’d itself on ME.’ In fact, Laertes was minute in details, and his evident familiarity with them, coupled with his self-accusation, must have impressed Hamlet that Laertes was engaged in revenging the death of Polonius. When Laertes merely added that the King was ‘to blame,’ Hamlet could only have thought that he was indirectly to blame, after the same manner that he had been for the deaths of Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. According to the English lexicographer and Shakespearian commentator Johnson, ‘to blame’ generally implies ‘but slight censure,’ and he quotes Shakespeare to illustrate his opinion. Undoubtedly, Laertes, keenly conscious of his enormous share of guilt, and being the active participant, unwittingly spared the King in his eagerness to acknowledge his own sin before death.
“When the Queen said, ‘I am poisoned," Hamlet knew that the King’‘s passion for her would, at least, debar him from committing such a crime, and that policy also would </p. 20> <p. 21> prevent it. Nor was he guilty. Her death was accidental. It was not until after Hamlet had killed the King that Laertes said:—’He is justly served; It is a poison tempered by himself.’ Laertes, then (realizing the King’s share of guilt,) sought to exonerate himself, and Hamlet asked Heaven to make him free.
“Hamlet seems to have entertained but little doubt that the event would prove fatal to his own life, and while heroically determining to enter upon it, gave expression to these jewelled words of priceless value:—’There’s a special Providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘t is 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.’ Should these and his final words be regarded as ‘sighs for human weakness.’
“Dr. Conolly, of the Royal College of Physicians in London, has brought out a book entitled: ‘A Study of Hamlet.’ He would seem to have produced overwhelming arguments in support of the theory of insanity, and it has only been, by means of a careful ‘study’ of his work, in connection with the play itself, that I am enabled to hold firm to several of my expressed opinions, which a single perusal of the book’s contents had shaken. In referring to the death scene Conolly observes, that ‘Hamlet has but energy left to prevent Horatio from drinking the poison!’ While I have sought to illustrate the wonderful powers of Hamlet in that scene, I may ask what degrees of energy can a man be expected to exhibit who has received a ’bleeding wound and been poisoned with a stuff that ‘o’er-crows the spirit’ or weakens directly the energies themselves, and in whom there is not ‘half an hour’s life?’ Hamlet was the first to receive fatal injury; yet he outlived Laertes, wounded and poisoned in the same manner. It was the force of his superior mind and energy that enabled him to do this and leave all things so arranged that ‘the yet unknowing world’ should learn ‘how these things came about.’
“I contend that Hamlet retained through life, and died in </p. 21><p. 22> full possession of his faculties. The substance of a very general argument contrary to this opinion is fully set forth by Dr., Kellogg, a physician to the State Lunatic Asylum at Utica, N. Y. He says:—’Hamlet sees the ghost beckoning him to a distance, and while his companions are quaking with terror, he seems to know no fear. * * * After the appearance vanishes, the first words he utters give the clew to his mental and physical state, and it is quite evident that the cord which has been stretched to its utmost tension, here snaps i3nddenly, and the consequences are immediately apparent, and are evinced throughout his whole subsequent career. Here enters the pathological element into his mind and disposition and the working of the leaven of disease is soon apparent for it changes completely and forever his whole character. Up to this time we see no weakness, no vacillation, no want of energy, no infirmity of purpose. After this all these characteristics are irrecoverably lost.’ In the closing scenes of his life did not Hamlet powerfully exhibit, and effectively make use of all the characteristics here enumerated? Do not facts, then, disprove the assertion that they were irrecoverably lost? If many medical writers on the subject, vould study Hamlet’s inner life and more thoroughly probe the motives which at all times actuated him—relying less upon their knowledge of insanity as derived from professional experience; they would find that he merely endeavored to imitate that form of insanity so often witnessee in their practice. That inconsistency was sometimes observable in Hamlet’s career I would not dispute. Inconsistency, and errors of judgment are to man inherent; and no where did Shakespeare, in his wondrous knowledge of human life, show his skill more thoroughly than in permitting them to appear in this model type of humanity—inconsistencies which appear glaring because we do not comprehend the magnitude of the situations in which Hamlet was placed; but which, really, were not so great in proportion as are those of our own lives.
“The wild confusion of the last scene,’ adds Kellogg, ‘furnishes us a fitting denouement of what has preceded. </p. 22> <p. 23> It was not to be expected that a drama in which the principal actor is an undoubted madman, should end as one in which other materials are employed.’ But Hamlet was not confused—his killing the King was but his duty, and such an act would cause a scene of confusion at any time, no matter what the circumstances might be. Hamlet fell by means of the dangerous element to which he was exposed by the fact of his mission—as have a thousand heroes whose examples are the best legacies bequeathed to mankind. The play ended as might have been expected from its beginning, where we found the Throne usurped by a murderer, with whom the Queen had wickedly married, and the acceptance, by Hamlet, of a mysterious mission fraught with danger to himself. It ended with the death and overthrow of the usurper—the Throne secured to Hamlet’s dying choice: and the reproachful death of the Queen; the Royal magnates being cut off from lives to which they loved to cling—while Hamlet having faced the danger to which he had been ordered (not valuing life while honor was at stake) fell at last but triumphant. Indeed, I am at a loss to understand why the latter portion of the opinion quoted from Dr. Kellogg, should at all prevail, when Shakespeare, himself, rejects it in a different work. His plays of ‘Othello’ and ‘Hamlet’ are, by design, ‘Tragedies.’ They each possess the sweetest attributes of female character, and the most villanous of the male, as opposite and extreme elements. Scenes of wild confusion end them both. The wildest of which is observable in ‘Othello,’ where Iago murders his wife; Othello also murders his wife, wounds lago, and commits suicide; while Roderigo is murdered, and Cassio wounded. Confusion, is the natural result of tragedy, and in the play it should not be regarded as evidence of Hamlet’s insanity.</p. 23>
1857 trav
3674 SD Travers (ed. 1929): “The whole stage-direction [in trav] is F’s. Q2 mentions also . . . besides drums, trumpets, and a cushion, daggers ((in accordance with 146 [3614], but the use of which, p. 239 n. 4 [3614n], would have made the scuffling described in n. 2 p. 250 [3777] impossible)).
1934 rid1
3675-6 SD] Ridley (ed. 1934): “The directions of both Q2 and F are given, since one difference (the daggers of Q2) has some importance in the hotly debated question of the interchange of rapiers.”
1934 cam3
3675-6 SD] Wilson (ed. 1934): “Eliz. actors were expert swordsmen and a stage-duel or fence was for many spectators the chief feature of the play in which it occurred. It is important, therefore, to try and understand here Sh.’s intentions in particular, together with Eliz. practice in general. The difference between ‘Foiles, daggers’ (Q2) and ‘Foyles and Gauntlets’ (F1) points to a change of fashion in fence between 1601 and 1623, when F1 was printed. It ic clear from ll. 148, 152, above that Sh. intended the daggers, which at the end of the 16th and the beg. of the 17th c. were held in the left hand and used to ward off the opponent’s thrust with his rapier, the while one thrust with one’s own. Testimony to the vogue is afforded by Norden’s Map of London (1600) which shows two men duelling with rapiers and daggers in St. George’s Fields. (I owe this evidence to the courtesy of Dr. Wieselgren of the Royal Library, Stockholm.) Cf. [Rom. 3.1.163-68 (1608-13)]: [cites Rom.] The ‘foil’ for fence was not the buttoned fleuret of modern fence (buttons prob. did not come in before c. 1670), but the kind of sword used in duelling, though with its edge and point blunted or ‘bated.’ Thus Laer.’s ‘shuffling’ with the foils and choice of ‘a sword unbated’ (4.7.136-37) or ‘sharp,’ as it was often called, would be far easier than under modern conditions. On the other hand, the type of sword, whether bated or unbated, in favour both for duelling and swordplay at this date, was not the English broadsword (used with a target in the left hand), but the French or Italian rapier, a longer weapon and designed for thrusting rather than cutting or slashing. The comparative merits of these two types were much debated, and Sh. is full of echoes of the controversy (cf. note 4.7.74-6). The classic on rapier-and-dagger play is Vencentio Saviolo his Practise (1595), which informs us that gloves of mail were worn on either hand, while [1936 ed: Egerton Castle (p. 346, n. I) states that there is internal evidence in many books of the period that ] shirts of mail or breastplates and a kind of skull-cap were generally used for protection of the body and head. Sometime before the middle of the 17th. c. daggers were given up, and leather gauntlets seem to have taken the place of mailed gloves. For details v. G. di Grassi’s True Arte of Defence, 1594; Saviolo (op. cit.); Silver’s Paradoxes of Defence, 1599 (Sha. Assoc. 1933), a book written in support of the English short swords; my Introd. to the same; Egerton Castle’s Schools and Masters of Fence, 1892; and corresp. in T.L.S. Jan 11, 18, 25, Feb. 1, 1934.”
1936 cam3b
3675-6 SD] Wilson(2nd ed. 1936, Additional Notes): “Bated foils were still in use on the stage in 1608. Cf. Dryden, Essay of Dramatic Poetry, I. 62 (Essays of John Dryden, ed. by W.P. Ker).
‘For what is more ridiculous than . . . to see a duel fought and one slain with two or three thrusts of the foils, which we know are so blunted that we might give a man an hour to kill another in good earnest with them?’”
[Ed: Also see 1936 inserts to this note in red underline above within 1934 note.]
1947 cln2
cln2 ≈ cam3
3675-6 SD] Rylands(ed. 1947, Notes): “This [Rylands ed.] is the stage direction of F; but that of Q2 shows that the curtains of the inner stage parted discovering ‘a table prepared’, the King and Queen ‘and all the state’, and Laertes. Q2 gives ‘Foiles, daggers’ and F ‘Foyles and Gauntlets’. which points to a change of fashion between 1601 and 1623. At the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries the dagger was held in the left hand and used to ward off the rapier thrust (Dover Wilson).”
1974 evns1
3674 state] Evans (ed. 1974): “nobles.”
1980 pen2
pen2 ≈ standard
3674 state]
1982 ard2
ard2 ≈ standard
3674 state]
ard2 :contra Wilson (WHH)
3674 Foiles, daggers] Jenkins (ed. 1982): “In accordance with [3614]. Attempts to show that fencing must be with single rapier go against the text. Though the exchange of rapiers (([3777] on which the catastrophe is to turn might be easier with the single weapon, it evidently did not presuppose it. F’s substitution of Gauntlets for daggers represents a chance in fencing style, but the significance of this in updating the action has perhaps been overstressed ((WHH, p. 280)). Rapier and dagger and single rapier seem to ahve been current simultaneously, and a change in stage-performance may have taken place already by 1603, the use of gauntlets being suggested by the Q1 S.D., ‘They catch one anothers Rapier ((after [3776])).”
1985 cam4
3675-6 SD] Edwards (ed. 1985): “This is a conflation of Q2 and F. F does not provide for trumpets and drums ((i.e. trumpeters and drummers)), nor the cushions, nor the daggers. Q2, on the other hand, does not have gauntlets. It is quite possible that the book-keeper had ideas different from Shakespeare about staging the fight, but Wilson’s view that F represents later developments in fencing customs cannot be maintained if this edition’s view of the provenance of F is correct [that F is based on a “fair-copy” transcript of Shakespeare’s own “foul paper” revisions of the play].”
1987 oxf4
oxf4 : OED (sb. 26a)
3674 state]
3675 Gauntlets Hibbard (ed. 1987): “In F the gauntlets take the place of Q2’s daggers. The alteration was probably made either before Hamlet was first staged or very soon after, since the Q1 direction at its equivalent of [3777] is ‘They catch one anothers Rapiers’. Nor is the reason for it far to seek: the use of gauntlets to protect the hands would make the exchange of rapiers at [3777] easier and less dangerous. Unfortunately, no corresponding change was made in the dialogue at [3614], where all three of the earliest texts call for ‘Rapier and dagger’.”
1999 Dessen & Thomson
Dessen & Thomson
3674 Gauntlets Dessen & Thomson(1999)indicate that this F1 term is found in only four plays.
2008 oed
3674 state]OED 26. collect. sing. a. The rulers, nobles, or great men of a realm; the government, ruling body, grand council, or court. Obs. 1581 A. HALL Iliad IV. 64, I know ere long Troy shal to wracke, [and] Priam with his state Shal passe the sword. 1597 SHAKES. 2 Hen. IV, V. ii. 142 Our Coronation done, we will accite..all our State. 1604 Oth. I. ii. 96 The Duke himselfe, Or any of my Brothers of the State. 1606 Tr. [and] Cr. IV. ii. 69 Troy. Is it concluded so? ne. By Priam, and the generall state of Troy. They are at hand, and ready to effect it. [etc.]
3674 3675 3676