By Andrew Hiscock
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Extra info for The uses of this world: thinking space in Shakespeare, Marlowe, Cary and Jonson
6 In Shakespeare’s dramatic world where even the past is a vigorous site of contestation, what is Hamlet remembering? Is it his ‘Father’s Spirit, / Doom’d for a certaine terme to walke the night’? 9–10), the directives of ‘a Spirit of health, or Goblin damn’d’? 40). 11–14). Unrepentant, despite his experience of purgatorial flames, the ghost urges alternately revenge, Introduction II 21 forbearance and caution. Like the hero, the audience also has to determine what to make of this vexed communication.
Whether space ever can be empty is going to be a major preoccupation of this study. Indeed, the critical geographer Edward W. Soja has argued: space in itself may be primordially given, but the organization, and meaning of space is a product of social translation, transformation and experience. 4 Clearly, in this scene unfolding in Gertrude’s chamber, Shakespeare is drawing attention explicitly to a discrepancy of perception relating to the mental, cultural and physical organization of the world which these characters (and we, at one remove) inhabit.
In the First Quarto, the new king is even more excited by the prospect of his nephew reintegrating into the court culture. He tells Rossencraft and Gilderstone: Gentlemen, seeke still to increase his mirth, Spare for no cost, our coffers shall be open, And we vnto your selues will still be thankefull. 14–6) The stylized theatrics focusing upon the murders of Priam and Gonzago are clearly anticipated warmly by a culture which cherishes rituals of all kinds as reassuring practices for its daily existence.