Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh. Well, All Right Then.

http://www.clicknotes.com/hamlet/questions.html

Remember AC Bradley?  I remember back in high school hearing that name associated with the definition of tragic hero.  So when his name showed up in my links today in the title “A.C. Bradley Answers Your Hamlet Questions”, I was intrigued.

The linked page is….well, interesting.  It’s a bullet list, maybe a dozen questions about Hamlet, all of which are given straight up yes or no answers, with a link to Bradley.  Did Gertrude sleep with Claudius before Hamlet’s father died?  Yes, see page 166.   Did Hamlet delay because of moral conscience or scruple?  No, he delayed because of profound melancholy, pages 97+108.

While I’m sure this has value (the linked pages do in fact give detail on how each answer is chosen), I hate it.  A quick skim makes the reader think there are definite answers to these questions just because some expert says so.  But then if you try to read the justifications, you yourself have to be an expert in the subject just to understand what the heck Bradley is talking about.

6 comments:

Erin said...

I read your blog via RSS every time you post! I love it!

I wanted to know if you saw this:
http://www.lukesurl.com/archives/542

:) have a Shakespeare filled day

catkins said...

I agree that the site is overly facile. And certainly, A.C. Bradley is by no means the last word on Hamlet. As a matter of fact, he is considered by some to be quite out of date. For goodness sake, just read the play--it's a lot more interesting than the commentary!
--Carl

Angela said...

Saw this and thought of you.

Duane said...

You have a good memory, Angela! http://blog.shakespearegeek.com/2008/07/macbecks.html

Erin, thanks - I had not. However, misspelling "Shakespeare" in the first block kinda put me off the overall joke :).

Sarah Eriksen said...

Yea, I think it's misleading (not to mention kind of a downer) to insist that there are definite answers to these kinds of questions. I mean, what's Hamlet all about if not uncertainty?!? I think Shmoop has a much better take on it. Check out The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

Tom said...

Yeah, that’s true – some people think they know everything and for sure. Pity, that college students will most likely take this knowledge as a fact seeking an easy way out. Having spent years writing for an essay writing service – I can tell that for sure. Still, I definitely agree here – when it comes to literature – there is no one correct opinion.