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|GR: Methods of hearing
Written by Cheryl
(5/22/2003 3:12 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Spying and eavesdropping, penned by Laraine
There is the passive hearing - those bits where one really has no choice or active role in listening: what you list as the public occasions listening.
There is spying - where someone has been sent deliberately to listen and report back: Polonius setting Reynaldo to spy on his son; Claudius setting R&G to spy on Hamlet; Hamlet setting Horatio to spy on Claudius during the play, etc.
And then there is eavedropping, and thus not having to filter the event through another's impressions: Polonius behind the arras listening to Hamlet and Gertrude; Polonius and Claudius eavesdropping on Hamlet and Ophelia; Hamlet watching Claudius at the play and later at prayer; Hamlet and Horatio eavesdropping on the Gravediggers and then the funeral mourners; etc
I think Polonius and Claudius do more active spying and eavesdropping. Their hearing is a planned activity. While Hamlet eavesdrops as well, his instances of it are mostly due to happenstance - he comes upon Claudius praying, he comes upon the gravediggers, etc. He rarely plans to eavesdrop. Does this make him a better, more noble character?
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