February 1, 2011

Hamlet's Hung Jury

After a notoriously long delay in the proceedings, Prince Hamlet's trial for the murder of Polonius finally got underway in Los Angeles, California (a change of venue from Elsinore was granted--tainted jury pool there). The defense pled insanity, the prosecution argued homicide, and the result after expert testimony and a lot of wrangling was 10 to 2 for conviction. The jurors included actors Helen Hunt and Tom Irwin. Arguing for the prosecution were Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers and attorney Nathan J. Hochman, for the defense, Blair Berk and Richard J. Hersch. Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy presided over the proceedings, held at the University of Southern California School of Law. More here.

1 comment:

Ray Eston Smith Jr said...

Hamlet should be judged by Elizabethan standards. Two common theories of madness at that time were demonic possession and lunacy.

Hamlet was possessed by his father's ghost. He had erased himself from his own brain and written his father's commandment there. When standing in Ophelia's grave he said, ", though I am not splenitive and rash, yet have I something in me dangerous, which let thy wiseness fear." When he regained his sanity he explained that "Hamlet from himself" had been taken away.

Hamlet's madness was lunacy - it was caused by being like the moon. Laertes had compared him to the moon ("nature crescent"). Hamlet had compared his father to the sun ("Hyperion," the Titan sun-god). In The Mousetrap, "thirty dozen moons with borrow'd sheen" alludes to Hamlet with the "thirty" (Hamlet's age) and hints at Hamlet's tragic flaw: he was reflecting his father's warlike values instead of glowing with his own humanist values.

For more details, please see
http://www.thyorisons.com/#Cause_of_Lunacy
and
http://www.thyorisons.com/#Usurp - Usurp Your Sovereignty of Reason