Sie sind auf Seite 1von 2

DARK LADY PLAYERS WORKING PAPER (2009) NUMBER 1

HAMLET; THE ANNUNCIATION SCENES

Ophelia
sewing scene

Biblical Allegory Astronomical Allegory


Ophelia
reading scene/
kissing carrion/nunnery

COMMENT
We need to understand both the astronomical allegory as well as the Biblical allegory to
get the full meaning.

Hamlet as the son of Hyperion is Helios, the sun. In the annunciation scene Hamlet
stares at Ophelia and oddly walks while still looking at her backwards over his shoulder
(a retrograde movement?). There are ‘sun beamed eyes’ in LLL 5,2,170-1 in a section
which contrasts the sunshine of one’s face with the other’s face as a moon. Hamlet’s
eyes “bended their LIGHT” on her. Hamlet is the sun, and this is a split annunciation
scene in which Ophelia gets pregnant by his sun rays, like the Virgin Mary, like a sun-
god kissing carrion. The passage also echoes passages from an apocryphal gospel
annunciation scene.

Staging. The cuts. Sun beams (torches?) clothed with the sun? maggots? do the ‘as I
was sewing in my closet’ passage as an inset dumbshow of the sun impregnating the
virgin?Handpuppets? Hamlet as devil—being from hell, and sugaring over the devil?

REFERENCES
(1) BIBLICAL/RELIGIOUS ALLEGORY
Conception is a Blessing
Author(s): Evan K. Gibson
Source: PMLA, Vol. 64, No. 5 (Dec., 1949), pp. 1236-1238

Medieval theologians thought the way that the sun can create worms in rotting flesh was
a symbol of Christ, who was born of flesh, without sperm. The conception of the virgin
Mary was imagined as if sunlight shining through glass—in that sunlight can penetrate
but not cause physical damage, thus Mary could have conceived and maintained her
virginity.

Hamlet's "God Kissing Carrion": A Theory of the Generation of Life


Author(s): John E. Hankins
Source: PMLA, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Jun., 1949), pp. 507-516
Hamlet goes from his comment about the maggots in the dog, directly to a reference to
conception and Ophelia, linking both these attributes.

Painted Women: Annunciation Motifs in Hamlet


R Chris Hassel Jr. Comparative Drama. Kalamazoo:
Spring 1998. Vol. 32,. 1, p. 47-84 (38 pp.)
Polonius and Claudius set Ophelia up with a book. In most representations of the
annunciation the virgin holds a book. Ophelia is asked to show “devotion’s visage”,
implying it is a book of devotions or prayers. Claudius’s reference to his most painted
word refers to the words ’be it unto me according to thy word’ that were most painted in
annunciation paintings as her response to the angel (?) Hamlet’s request that she
remember his sins though her prayers or orisons, alludes to the Virgin Mary
remembering and interceding for our sins.
Hassle calls Hamlet an ‘unorthodox Gabriel’, and refers to “Hamlet’s continuing parody
of the annunciation”. In the N Town mystery plays Father Son and Holy Ghost entered
carrying beams of sunlight.

Linda Hoff Hamlet’s Choice, chapter 6 Ophelia


She emphasises that Ophelia is frightened as in the gospel story, compares the sewing
to the sewing in the apocryphal gospel, and the head nodding to the passage in Isaiah.
Hamlet has come from hell not from heaven. Does it construct Ophelia/Mary as the
pregnant woman clothed with the sun in the book of Revelation?

(2) ASTRONOMICAL ALLEGORY


http://www.hamletregained.com/other_figures.html
Hyperion to a satire 1.2.139-40;
... Hamlet compares his father, former King as Hyperion and King Claudius as a Satyr. In
Greek mythology, Hyperion is one of the Titans, and the father of Helios, the sun god.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2001AAS...199.4004
Sixteenth Century Astronomical Telescopy Usher, P. D.
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 33, p.1363
Ophelia (opposite to Helios) in Shakespeare's Hamlet is named for the ``moist star"
which in mythology is the partner of Hamlet's royal Sun. Together the couple seem
destined to rule on earth just as their celestial counterparts rule the heavens, but the
tragedy is that they are afflicted, just as the Sun and Moon are blemished. In 1.3 Laertes
lectures Ophelia on love and chastity, describing first Cytherean phases (crescent to
gibbous) and then Lunar craters. Spots mar the Sun (1.1, 3.1). Also reported are
Jupiter's Red Spot (3.4) and the resolution of the Milky Way into stars (2.2).

"Hamlet and Infinite Universe" by: Peter Usher (Research/Penn State, Vol. 18, no. 3
(September 1997)) http://www.rps.psu.edu/sep97/hamlet.html
When Claudius asks the Prince why he is still so dejected at the death of his father,
Hamlet puns, "I am too much in the sun," thus associating himself with the reference
point for planetary alignments. The royal couple express their desire that Hamlet not
return to Wittenberg by saying that such a course "is most retrograde to our desire."
Here they refer to Hamlet's retrograde—or contrary—motion to the seat of Copernican
cosmology. The astronomical meaning of "retrograde" dates to Chaucer in the 14th
century, while the senses of "moving backward" or "returning upon a previous course"
were in use at least by about 1530 and 1564, respectively. But here the term
"retrograde" follows hard upon the term "opposition," which is the very time when planets
undergo retrograde motion, leaving the astronomical metaphor in no doubt. "Why should
we in our peevish opposition / Take it to heart?" says Claudius. "Fie, 'tis a fault to
heaven." To geocentrists, retrograde motion was indeed a "fault to nature" or a "fault to
heaven," for clearly Nature is going against common sense here.