Sunday 18 May 2008

"And therefore, as a stranger, give it welcome" : A Peakian transformation of Hamlet

This post is far removed from scientific theorizing; it sprang from a tendency in me toward literary criticism, but it's subject is very much related to Tony's eidolon/daemon dyad, and hopefully can at least facilitate discussion.

It has been a source of my profound and overwhelming gratitude to Tony, that his eidolon/daemon dyad theory has - at least for me - cast a new light on all, illuminating in all directions: "everything is new, and yielding!". . .

I do not know if any fellow-bloggers are as fond of the play, Hamlet, as am I, but I have noticed as of late that it now seems brimming with eidolon/daemon references. Even the meeting with the ghost now strikes me as Hamlet in inner dialogue with his daemon. The brilliant and classic critiques and commentary by Earnest Jones and Theodore Reik were Oedipal in their focus and brought much insight and pleasure; however, viewing through Tony's lens has increased such, very much so, for me.
I have now found a pattern - a subtext - in the play, which had before escaped me, in which I see for the first time Hamlet struggling with a second self (i.e., daemonic influence, take over). Certain of his cryptic lines are now both more poignant and more revealing.

To list a few, in no particular oder (as they come from memory; I have written/presented on this play so often I feel that I can trust myself well in this regard) - The following are all from Hamlet's own mouth: [spoken by H. to the ghost] "I will follow thee, call thee Hamlet."; "Hamlet from himself be taken away"; "Hamlet does it not; Hamlet denies it"; "Hamlet [though he act]is yet of the faction wronged"; "I have that within which passeth show [surpasses his own appearance]; "shall I couple hell?" [join with an alien force]; "the body is with the king, but the king be not with the body" [i.e., the eidolon is with the daemon, yet the latter is detached and autonomous]; "he was my dying voice; the rest is silence"[of the daemon territory]. . .
There is as well visible to me for the first time a trajectory of progress, a sense not of Hamlet's madness - feigned or actual - but of a subordination to his higher self which he initially fights but finds increasingly seductive (" 'tis now the very witching time of night[daemon time]. . now I could do such bitter business as the day would quake to look upon[eidolon does not comprehend the daemon's quest]"). The dialectical process, initiated by the daemon, followed furtively by the eidolon, is revealed.
I cannot describe the way in which Tony's concept has altered this play - a life long treasure of my soul - to the point where I feel it has been rendered fully whole , at last: To my thinking, this is no small feat. The shadow of the Bard touched by Tony's concept: alchemy across the centuries! How odd, but somehow beautiful. How can I not be grateful for such transubstantiation? This is magic to a literary soul. That it was unintentional, unknown by the agent! All the more potent for its action at a distance (and spooky as well). In any case, such windfalls are few and far between.
Moreover, even Tony's theme which runs throughout ITLAD regarding TLE/schizophrenic onset is quite evident now: Hamlet speaks of "time" being somehow "set out of joint", and something has altered his thinking, "by my fare, I cannot reason"; he makes claims of perception and process both being "askew"; that he feels odd, a stranger in his own court and land, and "my imagination's all afoul." His odd comments to Horatio upon the castle platform (Horatio hears the bell strike quite loudly the hour; Hamlet's response: "Indeed, I heard it not" ) become clear: He has crossed the border, he is already, as Peake says, "falling out of time". Obviously all issues from the playwright himself, and Shakespeare at age 36 was clearly experiencing something uncanny and disturbing. A biographical study confirms this.
An interesting aside, perhaps also daemonic in its origin: Reik himself speaks of the age of about 36-38 (Ortega y Gasset places it at 26, but I think that is far from correct)as being one of profound import for the superior man, of a rising of "the man within the man"; Freud speaks of a second such movement, from about 50-53, with a point of extreme danger requiring survival at the age of 51-2 (my own husband fell just at this point). . . In any case, while I am fully aware that not all are obsessive Hamlet fans as I have been since age 28, I do think the parallels to be found within the play to Tony's dyad are profound; and hopefully this will counterbalance and compensate for the importunity of going on at such length regarding my literary passion (or perhaps not). But I will let is stand: Surely it is proper and fitting to express gratitude to Tony, for that which seems akin to the miraculous.


Jesamyn said...

BRAVA!!!! BRAVA!!! AUTHOR!!! AUTHOR!!! Wow what a great Post Susan Marie!!!! But I hope all realise it is one that needs careful reading and close attention.You told me once in our private e mails that *next time around* we will be Literature and Philosophy teachers or Researchers together.. I certainly hope so!!! It cannot be all coincidence that all this Itladean theory and indeed Matter is enveloped in the Classic Wordes herein...I am off to buy Hamlet!!! Thank you again....Awesome...

Karl Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie:
Oh what a delight! Thank You!

Your love of Hamlet is a thing of beauty indeed, so I thought I would cast onto the stage some of my own favourite quotes with some ITLADic untertones.

"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads.
And recks not his own rede
- Ophelia, Act I, scene iii

"This above all — to thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

- Polonius, Act I, scene iii

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

- Hamlet, Act I, scene v

"I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilential congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me: no, nor woman neither."
-Hamlet, Act II, scene ii

(The above one HAD to go in given Richard E. Grant's fantastic performance of it against the gates near London Zoo in Regent Park - Not far from Camden *sigh* in the closing scene of Withnail And I)

"To be, or not to be, — that is the question: —
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? — To die, to sleep, —
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, — 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; —
To sleep, perchance to dream: — ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.........
-Hamlet, Act III, scene i

All reminds me off seeing a production of Hamlet at the newly renovated Globe Theatre in London a few years ago.

Susan Marie would have loved it!!!

*off for a cigar, for some reason, Hmmmm!!*

SM Kovalinsky said...

Thank you, Jezabella; and thank you, KLLM: oh, such quotes, # 3 and 4 are among my absolute favorites, and I cannot imagine the thrill of seeing it enacted at the Globe. Who played the role of Hamlet? Was it Grant? I of course have seen all the films from Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Branaugh, Olivier and Gibson (the last true genius) - saw Kevin Klein in Central Park do it as summer theater, and Ralph Fiennes on Broadway. Strangely, the most superb was an unknown actor in Provincetown, and played it like I had never seen, Newell, his name was, from Boston. I have always wanted to thank Tony and hope he gets a chance to read it.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie: Hamlet at the Globe wasn't played by anyone of name, no. It was a rep production to celebrate the refurbishment of the Globe and had a friend of mine in the cast playing Ophelia.
(she was the best thing in it!)

ra from ca said...

Beautiful post Susan Marie.

The night before my most horrible loss, we went to see Twelfth Night. Afterwards my love turned to me and said with great intensity in his eyes. "Let's do Hamlet, shall we?" I wish he stuck to the original script.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Oh, thank you, RA: and that is a most poignant and touching story. Yes, I long to undo many scripts. . .

johar said...

Lovely post Susan Marie. Isn't it wonderful when something you have held dear for so long is suddenly imbued with an extra dimension that brings new colour and texture to it.

Tony's book has done that for so many of the experiences I have and things I enjoy.

'How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!' Maya Angelou

'Why do writers write? Because it isn't there' Thomas Berger

SM Kovalinsky said...

Johar; Thank you , yes, I agree. You worded that very beautifully. Sorry I can't say more but have been up for 48 hours. I have thoughts about writers and their powers, will wait for another time, sorry

Karl Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie: You and I both!!
And I also can't agree with the Thomas Berger quote from Johar.
Hope you get some rest soon Dear Lady.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Well, I have never heard that quote before: but therefore, as a stranger, I give it a hearty welcome.

ra from ca said...


I very much agree with your comment that Tony's book has brought an extra dimension, colour and texture to many things, and Susan Marie has illustrated that so very well.

SM Kovalinsky said...

And you in turn have illustrated well that I have done so.

Anthony Peake said...

SUAN-MARIE: What a fascinating contribution to the blog. Thank you so much for placing this. I am delighted that we are now applying implications of the daemon-Eidolon Dyad to literature (c.f Karl's suggestions regarding "Waiting For Godot").

I am sure that Dr. Alan Roberts - a member of our local group of Itladian Philosophers will be keen to add to your posting. Alan has a doctorate in Shakespearean studies and indeed was only talking to me last week about the daemon-Eidolon parallels is Hamlet. I have already emailed Alan about your post and I know that he has read it. He and I will be meeting today for a coffee so we will discuss it in detail then. Afdter that either Alan will make a direct post or I will do one for him using the "Doppelganger Facility".
Susan, thanks again for placing your ideas on here. I find it deeply humbling that my theories are being applied to Shakespeare by such a person as yourself.
RA: This may be of no real relevence but my favourite Shakespeare play is "Twelfth Night". This is simply because I know it well having acted in it in a school production way back in 1969. I played Sir Andrew Aguecheek -
"What is 'Pourquoi'? do or not do? I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in
fencing, dancing and bear-baiting: O, had I but followed the arts!"

Strange how learned lines just lodge in the mind.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Thank you, Anthony.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Tony: And that you yourself enacted Shakespeare, lends my post all the more meaning, somehow. And the photos from your youth had already indicated this to me, long ago. Again, thank you for your remarks, and I would love to see what the scholar has to say. The fact that you can see as I do is already reward enough for me. This post was in a sense my gift to you, long overdue. Now that you have received it, I am happy.

Karl Le Marcs said...

*images of Tony in Shakesperian garb treading the boards and soliloquising*

Regarding my Beckett thesis that Tony referenced, I will be presenting it to the University and the Beckett Foundation in the coming few weeks, and then aim to present a lecture (with actors playing out the Beckett lines from such plays of his as "Waiting For Godor") and within my thesis I reference CTF and ITLAD often and show a brand new psychological interpretation of Beckett's work within.

Combine this with your beautiful Hamlet interpretation and we bring ITLAD to whole new audiences, which is rather good ain't it??

SM Kovalinsky said...

KLLM: Yes, I agree: This is a second venue, the other being the scientific/spiritual fusion one. There was a wonderful yearly Shakespeare symposium at Fairleigh Dickinson University which ran throughout the '90s (it may still be running now, I believe) and my husband and I attended all. Would that I had had Tony's light on it then! The Beckett venture sounds beautiful and you are just the one to pull such a thing off. If it were to be filmed, for youtube. . .would be too sublime, surely. But it MUST be, has to be, "'tis written". (And why does that first quote from Hamlet that you posted somehow speak of you? But in a wonderful sense, I swear it is a high compliment, no offense in the world. . . )

Karl Le Marcs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karl Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie: Yes, and of course we should add Tony's Philip K Dick interpretation of ITLAD to your beautiful Hamlet and my own Samuel Beckett interpretations.

AND, YouTube! *shocked*

Well, I doubt the University would allow such extravagance (and rightly so), but I could, feasibly, be coerced to contemplate it for any Theatre Lectures that follow (allow such considerations may well only be fleeting).

*returns to dalliances on primrose path*

Anonymous said...

SM: I very much enjoyed reading your comments about Hamlet - and the other comments, as well - thx Cam

Notes taken from an unrelated posting I wrote, made elsewhere, in a different context, but I thought of them, or remembered them, just now.:

"I do agree, hope is a more positive future space to engage in my mind, than fear. Yet don't we have to face our fears, too, in the Now ? Again, though, I have a sneaking suspicion both spaces, related to the future, fear and hope, when we go there, move us away from what can be, but which is not always, so daunting, the cauldron of the Now.

We can become blind to the Now, as a result. What's that line in "Amazing Grace" ..... "I was blind but now I see"? In other words, to no longer be blind, I have to be able to see what the heck I do, myself, i.e., I move away from the Now, all the time.

And what boils in the cauldron ?

Often, it seems, if life experiences are anything to judge by, it's whatever needs to be examined and tested; often our own stories/views about things, whether or not there is some truth to them or they are mostly or completely false, although we would likely be blind to that were it the case; the stances we may take to defend ourselves; perhaps the identities we create, in our minds, that we see to be us, and others, i.e., those identities, themselves.

And yet there may be a clear and quiet mind; there may be just a smile, a genuine smile; there may be a twinkle in the eyes. But probably not until a few of the things just mentioned have been boiled away. Is that what that line in Shakespeare was about, in Hamlet, I think, "Boil, Boil, toil and trouble"? Boil away the toil and trouble of our own making ?

Is that what the ancient expression hints at, "Know thyself"? In other words know the little "self" that stands in the way of realizing the greater "Self"; know and discard the false prophets, or identities created in our own minds, about ourselves and others, that stand in the way of realizing the real truth of things ?"

Written in an email Aug 4, 2007 ... an email related to parenting, of all things ... cheers Cam

NB: Still have to look at creating a Bloggers ID