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Thread: Remember what? could you repeat that please?

  1. #1

    Remember what? could you repeat that please?

    Hamlet's dad, the ghost, is about to depart, because the morning has arrived.
    As he goes he tells the young prince

    "Adue, adue, Hamlet: remember me."
    and then the ghost is gone. Now Hamlet replies:

    Oh all you host of Heauen! Oh Earth; what els?

    And shall I couple Hell? Oh fie: hold my heart;

    And you my sinnewes, grow not instant Old;

    But beare me stiffely vp: Remember thee?

    I, thou poore Ghost, while memory holds a seate

    In this distracted Globe: Remember thee?

    Yea, from the Table of my Memory,

    Ile wipe away all triuiall fond Records,

    All sawes of Bookes, all formes, all presures past,

    That youth and obseruation coppied there;

    And thy Commandment all alone shall liue

    Within the Booke and Volume of my Braine,

    Vnmixt with baser matter; yes yes, by Heauen:

    Oh most pernicious woman!

    Oh Villaine, Villaine, smiling damned Villaine!

    My Tables, my Tables; meet it is I set it downe,

    That one may smile, and smile and be a Villaine;

    At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmarke;

    So Vnckle there you are: now to my word;

    It is; Adue, Adue, Remember me: I haue sworn't

    Why all the fuss over these four words? How difficult is it to remember ME?

    I mean, even if it's four words "adue adue remember me" that surely is not such a great amount of information to retain, unless he's a genetic throwback.

    Or is is five words? "Adue, adue, Hamlet: remember me."

    No surely not, Hamlet seems to have written it down, and repeats the exact message:

    "It is; Adue, Adue, Remember me"

    So we are given two adue's and two remember me's

    You meet a ghost. It says four words, you write them down in case you forget?

    He doesn't write down "My father's spirit informed me of the true cause of his death. It wasn't a snake bite, but my uncle: he poured poison in my father's ear."

    Details which might be easily forgotten. Does he do that? not on your life. Instead , he writes down adue adue remember me. He even tells us that everything else in his memory is forgotten.

    What's going on folks?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Two themes of the play are reinforced here: duality and remembrance. Twos in the play play are boundless. From Ambassadors to zeugmata.

    Remembrance - a particularly human quality - really takes on significance for Hamlet at the end of the play. Until then it is an abstraction for him. So it does seem odd that Hamlet finds duty in remembering the ghost's words rather than their import. Such is the nature of an unformed mind.

  3. #3
    Employee of the Month blank|verse's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Hamlet is also unsure if the ghost is from heaven or hell.

    The critic Stephen Greenblatt has written about the relevance of purgatory to Hamlet - the middle state between heaven and hell where souls go first when someone dies. The importance of being 'remembered' by the living was an old Catholic tradition and vital to the soul if it were to ascend to heaven. But the ghost also demands 'revenge' - perhaps what a devil would say. Hamlet later sets out to test the ghost's word - and his uncle - by staging 'The Mousetrap'.

    There's also a bit of a joke - 'Remember thee?' - How could I forget what I have just witnessed - the ghost of my father come back to speak with me!

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