Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- 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.

Table of ContentsPrevious PageNext Page

Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 404
NOTES ON HAMLET

A.B.C. and sit weeping under the rod when he is thirty years old.' Another solution, as we saw (p. 105), is found in Hamlet's character. He is a philosopher who lingers on at the University from love of his studies there.

     (2) But there is a more formidable difficulty, which seems to have escaped notice. Horatio certainly came from Wittenberg to the funeral. And observe how he and Hamlet meet (I. ii. 160).

   Hor. Hail to your lordship!
   Ham.                  I am glad to see you well:
Horatio, -- or I do forget myself.
   Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.
   Ham. Sir, my good friend; I'll change that name with you:
And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?
Marcellus?
   Mar. My good lord --
   Ham. I am very glad to see you. Good even, sir.1
But what, in faith, make you from Wittenberg?
   Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord.
   Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so,
Nor shall you do my ear that violence,
To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself: I know you are no truant.
But what is your affair in Elsinore?
We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
   Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
   Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.

Is not this passing strange? Hamlet and Horatio are supposed to be fellow-students at Wittenberg, and to have left it for Elsinore less than two months ago. Yet Hamlet hardly recognizes Horatio at first, and speaks as if he himself lived at Elsinore (I refer to his bitter jest, 'We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart'). Who would dream that Hamlet had himself just come from Wittenberg, if it were not for the previous words about his going back there?

     How can this be explained on the usual view? Only, I presume, by supposing that Hamlet is so sunk in melancholy that he really does almost 'forget himself'2 and forgets every-

   1These three words are evidently addressed to Bernardo.
   2Cf. Antonio in his melancholy (Merchant of Venice, I. i. 6),
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me
That I have much ado to know myself.

Table of ContentsPrevious PageNext Page