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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.

Note to Hamlet, 5.1.161: "I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years"


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Hamlet,
Act 5, Scene 1, line 161
I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years: —A sexton is a kind of janitor and handyman, responsible for the upkeep of his church, and sometimes for the digging of graves in the churchyard. If this sexton has been digging graves for thirty years, then Hamlet is thirty years old, but it seems strange that Hamlet's age should be given in such an indirect, offhand way. In the two of Shakespeare's plays in which the age of a protagonist is crucial (Romeo and Juliet and King Lear), that age is made clear upon the character's first appearance.