Discussion Question 1

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In this excerpt Hamlet (H) and Ophelia (O) are talking about their intimate situation giving us hints about their inner state of mind. In the first quarto the text is written in verse whereas in the second quarto we have a prosetext. H clearly inherits the dominant part of this conversation. He is speaking over 80% of the words used in this excerpt. Also he uses imperatives (L20) and accuses O (of beeing dishonest (L47–50)), which underlines his dominant role in this conversation. O on the other side is the “defensive” character. (Of course this communicative situation is not only fixed by the text, but also by their roles: Hamlet as prince and Orphelia “only” as a high-status citizan.) A first indicator is the addressee “My Lord” (L.2). Additionaly in the 2nd half of this scene (L19ff) she only respondes to a clear question (“Wher's thy father?”L31), asks an unanswered rethorical question (L41) or bids god to bring H on the right track (L30,36,45), but doesn't really communicate with him.

This textexcerpt can be devided into three parts:

1st L1 – L10: H introduces a discourse about beauty and honesty. Their dialoge is even – O is able to state a question, which H refers to - and unpersonal, meaning that O could be substituted by any other charming lady.

2nd L11-L19: With the words: “I never gave you nothing” (L11), the dialog becomes personell. It´s a intimate discourse about H feelings to O, where O is the contentleading person, charging him of loving her (“My Lord you know right well you did”L12).

3rd L20-L55: Here starts a dialog with monological tendencies. H clearly dominates the content of the “conversation”. At the beginning he defines himself as unworthy for her (“..., why shouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? L20ff). Further he warns her (L33ff) and states his opinion on marriages (L37ff). In line 42ff he starts accusing her (“You fig, and you amble, and you nickname Gods creatures”L49) and further he even insults her (“Making you wantonnesse, you ignorance, a pox, t'is scuruy...”L50f).

As an addition: The dialogue is a duologue, only concerning the characters H and O. Verena Engelhardt 13:12, 2 June 2007 (CEST)

What exactly is the difference between a dialogue and a duologe? doesn't it both refer to 2 persons speaking to each other?--Sebastian Henatsch 00:07, 3 June 2007 (CEST)

A duologue is a form of dialogue, where exactly two persons are involved (like in the dialogue at hand). There is also something called a polylogue. This is a form of dialogue where at least three persons are involved. Rieke Brodé 10:51, 3 June 2007