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|"Hamlet", to whom it may concern.
Written by Anselm
(10/13/2009 10:02 a.m.)
Way, way back in the distant mists of time, we were discussing Ch.16. I posted a teaser about what the Cambridge edition had to say about Shakespeare's drama. Hamlet is referred to by Mrs Dashwood, who says that Willoughby's abrupt departure from Barton interrupted their progress through the play. I couldn't give details of what the Cambridge edition said about it, because at that point such a revelation would have consitituted a spoiler. Someone (I can't remember who) replied that they couldn't wait....
Well, whoever you are, wait you perforce had to, but your patience is about to be rewarded. Spoilers are no longer in question, so with a flourish of trumpets, here's Cambridge's comment:
Hamlet: a play with a hero who offers an ominous model for Willougby's brutal and mysterious rejection of Marianne; also Ophelia, a model for Marianne's subsequent illness and near death.
There, was it worth it? Actually, it sounds good to me. Willoughby's sudden, unexplained departure also seems to echo Hamlet's unexplained (at least to Ophelia) and violent "departure" from his behaviour as a "normal" boyfriend.
What it also highlights, once again, is that Jane Austen means what she says. Every word. There are no "accidents" in her writing. It was Hamlet Mrs Dashwood picked up, not any other play.
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