Daily Archives: February 18, 2010

Showerman speaks on Folger edu-blog

Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman posted a comment about Greek influences in Hamlet to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Making a Scene: Shakespeare in the Classroom educational blog on February 14, 2010. Showerman’s commentary supported a February 12, 2010 post by Folger Education Programs Administrative Assistant Caitlin Smith titled, “The Greeks and Shakespeare”.

In her discussion of Orestes in the February 12 post, Smith said:

Shakespeare’s plays, too, have a certain je ne sais quoi which allows them to stay present in the public eye, and even Shakespeare may have been influenced by Greek Tragedy.  Take, for example, HAMLET and ORESTES: They both involve the murder of a king by a relative. The protagonists find themselves denied their fathers’thrones by newly wedded couples. Both Orestes and Hamlet experience periods of madness, and their revenge takes the lives of both the mother and her new husband. Also, both stories place great emphasis on the importance of faithful friendship (in Plyades and Horatio) vs. seeming friendship (in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Menelaus).

Showerman augmented Smith’s post with a lengthy and specific commentary on Hamlet‘s Greek influences, and closed with the request:

Is it not time that Jonson’s misleading claim of Shakespeare’s ‘lesse Greek’ as regards Euripides’ influence on the playwright be broadly challenged by the academy?

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