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-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 401



     In Hamlet's first soliloquy he speaks of his father as being 'but two months dead, -- nay, not so much, not two,' He goes on to refer to the love between his father and mother, and then says (I. ii. 145):

                        and yet, within a month --
Let me not think on't -- Frailty, thy name is woman!
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears, why she, even she --
O God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer -- married with my uncle.

It seems hence to be usually assumed that at this time -- the time when the action begins -- Hamlet's mother has been married a little less than a month.

     On this assumption difficulties, however, arise, though I have not found them referred to. Why has the Ghost waited nearly a month since the marriage before showing itself? Why has the King waited nearly a month before appearing in public for the first time, as he evidently does in this scene? And why has Laertes waited nearly a month since the coronation before asking leave to return to France (I. ii. 53)?

     To this it might be replied that the marriage and the coronation were separated by some weeks; that, while the former occurred nearly a month before the time of this scene, the latter has only just taken place; and that what the Ghost cannot bear is, not the mere marriage, but the accession of an incestuous murderer to the throne. But anyone who will read

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