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Thread: Compressed time in act 1, scene 1

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    Compressed time in act 1, scene 1

    "Time is out of joint" notwithstanding, I'm confused about how time passes in act 1, scene 1.

    They meet and clearly state that it's 12 midnight. The ghost disappears on account of the rooster crowing, meaning morning is coming soon.
    While Marcellus mentions (l.158) that around xmas, "the bird of dawning singeth all night long" - it makes the phenomenon seem as if it is not happening then - as if he's talking about a different time from that of the scene.

    By a liberal estimate, the whole scene could take a maximum half an hour, meaning the rooster crowed at 12:30am. Why is time in this night so compressed? Why would none of the characters find it weird, even if Shakespeare wanted for us to feel that time was 'out of joint'? The midnight sun would not be shining on a Denmark during a cold season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattmiklas View Post
    "Time is out of joint" notwithstanding, I'm confused about how time passes in act 1, scene 1...
    By a liberal estimate, the whole scene could take a maximum half an hour, meaning the rooster crowed at 12:30am.
    Is it possible that the conversation between the sentinels, following the ghost's first exit (after midnight) and his reappearance (an hour or two before dawn), takes place in bursts over several hours? It maybe that a watch is often punctuated with long periods of silence, in which considerable reflection occurs before someone chooses to speak again.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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