"Bid the players make haste": speed-making and motion sickness in Hamlet.
We'll not offend one stomach with our play. --Life of Henry the Fifth Enter HAMLET ..., swaying as if on ship's bridge. He wipes his eyes, and becomes seasick. --Tom Stoppard, "The Fifteen-Minute Hamlet," Dogg's Hamlet
While Shakespeare critics have discussed time, movement, and space--and even the relationship among the three, namely, distance divided by time equals rate--they have given only modest attention to changes in rate, or acceleration. (1) Dympna Callaghan contends that Shakespeare conceives of speed as constant and intellectual, with his sonnets exhibiting a need to combat life's brevity: "their pace, one of 'continual haste' (123.12)." (2) Howard Marchitello notes a similar haste in Macbeth. Based on the work of Paul Virilio, Marchitello's study examines Macbeth's desire for absolute speed, as seen in the instantaneous disappearance of the three witches and the trope of the burst bubble. (3) In an article on the early modern representation of footmen, David Carnegie identifies the often-used theatrical convention of fast running, likely used in Hamlet. This convention, along with its stage direction, "in haste," expressed energetic and incessant running (in place or around other characters), perspiring, acting out of breath, and wearing particular costuming. (4) He cites as an example the following 1605 Eastward Ho stage direction for its humorous allusion to Hamlet performances: "Enter Hamlet, a footman, in haste," followed by the dialogue "Hamlet, are you mad? Whither run you now?" (5) Carnegie consequently wonders, "why is the running footman in such haste? ... A more general comment on very active performance by [Richard] Burbage [in 1.5 or 4.2] may be intended.... Or ... [w]as Burbage's melancholic Dane generally so slow that showing a running Hamlet was funny in itself? ... Or is there some other possibility?" (6) Like Callaghan and Marchitello, Carnegie recognizes Shakespeare's interest in speed, in this case physical and dramaturgical rather than conceptual. Traditionally, of course, scholars have associated Shakespeare's Hamlet not with speed, but with speed's absence, deferral, or hindrance. (7) Margreta de Grazia calls Hamlet's delay "the question to ask of the play ... even among today's most theoretically sophisticated literary critics." (8) Shankar Raman, writing on the kinesis of cognition in Hamlet, claims, "It is this movement that Hamlet repeatedly fails to produce within himself." (9) Constant speed and deceleration, however, form parts of a larger, more complex pattern of varying speed rates in Hamlet.
Building on these studies, I argue that Hamlet showcases and problematizes acceleration, or what early moderns referred to as "speed-making." (10) The theater industry, which valued speed for financial profit, addressed an early modern fascination with speed by setting up vicarious sensations of swiftness for the audience. (11) Hamlet exploits and heightens this potential of speed in the theater by juxtaposing a language of haste with representations of irregular physical speed levels that are punctuated by sudden accelerations of actors on stage. Consequently, scenes in the play that mismatch speedy discourse heard and action seen disorient the senses of the characters--and increasingly aim to confound the audience's, too--resulting in a type of theatrical motion sickness. (12) Love's Labour's Lost, The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet, and The Life of Henry the Fifth briefly correlate drama and seasickness for either the characters or the audience. (13) But Hamlet pervasively uses character and audience disorientation in concert. In response to cultural validation of decorum in speed, this disorientation highlights both the futility outside the theater of controlling or judging one's speed rates and the necessity inside the theater of speed-making for practical and successful storytelling. Shakespeare, therefore, employs disorientation in Hamlet to interrogate individual agency over speed-making and speed perception.
During the early modern period, the word "speed" denoted not only velocity, but also profit and success, while "haste" implied quick action done without deliberation, a distinction noted in the proverbial "The more haste the lesse spede"; however, the terms' definitions overlapped significantly in cultural usage. (14) Shakespeare slightly preferred the term "haste" (175 total references) to "speed" (128 references). (15) His plays sometimes distinguish finer meanings, in phrases such as "happy speed" or "cursed haste"; but often Shakespeare, as was common, interchanged the terms to indicate velocity generally: "th' affair cries haste, / And speed must answer it." (16) More important, Shakespeare added modifiers before these terms to intensify them, qualifying "speed" with "dearest," "greatest," "timeless," "a sevennight's," "winged," along with "speedier" and "speediest," and magnifying "haste" with "best," "swift," "sudden," "soonest," and "haste-post-haste," as well as the comparative "more than haste." (17) Shakespeare, therefore, frequently amplified speedy language in his works.
The first instance in the English language of the concept and term "speedemakyng" arose synonymously with the word "haast" in the 1548 dictionary Bibliotheca Eliotae in the translation of the Latin "Properantia," (18) In 1576, "hast making," from Abraham Flemming's Panoplie of Epistles, served as a synonym for "speedinesse" and "festination." (19) Much later, Randle Cotgrave's Dictionarie of the French and English Tongves (1611) substantiates that the denotation of speed-making as hastening continued into the early seventeenth century, such as in the entry "Acceleration. Hast, or speedmaking." (20)
Many books well known to Shakespeare and his culture circulated these meanings by inverting "speed-making" or "haste-making" to the phrases "to make speed" or "to make haste," such as The Booke of the Common Prayer, e.g., the opening prayer of both daily matins and vespers, "O God, make spede to saue me," and the response, "O Lorde, make haste to helpe me"; Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England; Plutarch's Lives; Nicholas Udall's Floweres or Eloquent Phrases of the Latine Speach, e.g., "Hominem propero inuenire, I make speede, or hast to find hym"; Seneca His Tenne Tragedies; John Foxe's Actes and Monuments; Philip Sidney's Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia; The Romane Historie Written by T. Livius of Padua; Michel de Montaigne's Essayes; as well as several turn-of-the-century plays, such as The Spanish Tragedie, e.g., "Hieronimo make haste to see thy sonne." (21) Shakespeare liked the phrase "making haste" much better than "making speed," opting for the former and variants six times as often as the latter in his writings (33 references v. 5 references). (22) Richard III even combined the terms: "make all the speedy haste you may" (3.1.60). These examples of collocations of the words "speed" or "haste" and "making" demonstrate the early modern assumption that speed was not only experienced but also produced.
How did everyday people in the early modern period practice speed-making? Travel supplied one major source in the cultural conception and mechanized experience of speed, primarily occurring by means of foot, horse, and boat. Most travel still happened by foot. (23) Then, as now, humans walked at rates of 2-4 mph and ran at top speeds well under 25 mph. (24) But the majority of people desired horses as a mode of transportation: "early modern life was saturated with horses and horse culture. The animals themselves were the literal and figurative vehicles for the transmission of goods, people, and ideas.... They functioned ... as a kind of technology." (25) Indeed, this "technology" enabled relatively significant speed. A horse ambulates at 4 mph, trots at 8 mph, and gallops for short periods at top speeds of 55 mph, depending on the breed. (26) Riders yearned for the ability to increase this speed suddenly. In The Art of Riding (1584), Claudio Corte taught gentlemen how to accelerate an untrained horse less with spurs than with a "speedie voice": "if you would incourage the horsse to go with more speed, saie, Via, via, beating him on the contrarie shoulder with the rod: and if you would yet encrease his speed, then say, Via, via, via, & in the same instant strike him on the contrarie shoulder, and likewise with the contrarie heele." (27) While fast riding and horse racing grew in popularity in the seventeenth century, people eventually favored breeds of trotting horses over ambling and galloping horses because of high speeds maintained over the longest distances without fatigue. (28) Nevertheless, Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker have linked the popular practice of horse racing to a positive new idea of English identity and freedom in the seventeenth century: "liberty represented by fast riding echoed a sense of national identity in which those qualities became a key part of what it meant to be English." (29) Faster speeds signified more freedom of choice as well as national identity.
In the same way, issues of English identity influenced the evolution of faster ships in the late sixteenth century. While the tides and current of the River Thames flowed 1 to 8 mph, water-going Elizabethans could not always take advantage of these potential speeds because of congested boat traffic. (30) The open waters of the ocean provided an opportunity for greater velocity. In the 1570s, to increase speed, John Hawkins radically rebuilt ships to have elongated hulls and shorter structures on the deck for less wind and water resistance. (31) These "race built galleons" became the dominant model for later ships. (32) The highest speed of these galleons has been estimated at eight knots. (33) Names like the Flight, the Mercury, the Swiftsure, the Speedwell, and, in fact, from Queen Elizabeth's fleet, the Make-Speede reflected the seagoing community's particular appreciation of speed in Hawkins's new design: "The Hawkins galleons represented the peak of Tudor technology. Ordinary ships were the largest movable man-made objects ... and, as such, were considered to be the embodiment of technology in any age. Hawkins' ships were much faster than the other warships of the period," giving England an international edge. (34) These changes show the desirability of moving over water swiftly.
Even though early modern people could not usually travel across distances at more than ten miles per hour, many craved and valued speed, particularly the speed of information or communication across distances. Advertising on title pages in early modern how-to books promoted such results to readers. For example, recreational fencing books taught how to handle swords and rapiers faster and gain this knowledge swiftly. Joseph Swetnam's The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence (1617) promised that "any man may quickly | come to the true knowledge of their weapons." (35) Similarly, William Rastell's frequently republished table to "quickely accomp[t]" the Julian calendar with the regnal year of the king suggests the appetite for acquiring information rapidly. (36) John Blagrave's title page for The Mathematical Ievvel (1585) assured that this book "with great and incredible speede" would "lea- | deth any man practicing [on this instrument] the direct pathway ... | through the whole Artes of Astronomy, Cosmography, Geography, Topography, | Nauigation." (37) A significant market existed to meet the demand for books on communicating faster, such as handwriting guides: Timoth[i]e Bright's Characterie: An Arte of Shorte, Swifte, and Secret Writing by Character (1588) and Peter Bales's The Writing Schoolemaster (1590), containing the first book, The Arte of Brachygraphie: that is, to \ write as fast as a man speaketh, and the third book, The Key of Calygraphie: opening the rea- die waie to write faire in verie short time. (38)
The need to attain or share intelligence--or sometimes affect--impelled the need for speed. Books on letter writing, such as I. W.'s A Speedie Poste (1625), reflected anxiety about insufficient rates of communication. (39) The excuse of writing "in haste" did not just adhere to epistolary conventions, but also frequently signaled writing under actual hurried conditions. (40) Letter writers therefore sometimes wrote quickly, leaving material traces of speed in their handwriting. (41) These letter writers complained about the lack of speed in the conveyance of their hastily penned mail, despite the fact that delivery time of increasing amounts of mail had doubled since the 1450s. (42) In 1641, one letter writer lamented "how slow the posts are, who by this accompt ride not 3 myles an howre," and he requested that the recipient "quicken ye post-masters." (43) Because of such frustration, letter writers sometimes hoped for immediate, almost email-style communication, such as in this June 1, 1609 letter enclosing a list of Catholic sympathizers: "had I Wings as I have Will, mine Eyes should receive nothing that might either concern your Life or Honour but it should be as soon in yours as Possibility would permit it. Much grieved I am that I have no better nor speedier Meanes to convey this enclosed ... I cannot but wishe it instantly in your Hands." (44) In The Culture of Epistolarity, Gary Schneider explains, "the desire for instant, even 'telepathic' communication imagined in these letters was symptomatic of the desire for an ideal communicative system that easily and quickly spanned time and distance." (45) This type of expeditious correspondence envisioned by letter writers was desirable because it was what made possible immediate knowledge and affect, as well as political benefits. For instance, in 1603 Robert Carey decided to secure his court status by notifying King James VI of Scotland before anyone else that Queen Elizabeth had died; he traveled from Richmond Palace to Holyrood in Edinburgh in an astounding two and a half days. (46) In reward for communicating news with breakneck speed, Carey received a promotion to Gentleman of the Bedchamber. (47)
Early modern culture, however, did not universally consider speed desirable for travel, communication, or personal conduct. While modern life takes for granted the value of speed--witness the quest for ever faster microprocessors--early modern emblems warned against too much speed and counseled readers to choose appropriate speeds. The emblem "Temeritas [Rashness]," found in Geffrey Whitney's A Choice of Emblemes (1586), displays a wagoner with wild horses to illustrate unsuitable speed because failure to bridle his "will" and "affections fowle vmtam'de" lead him to "fal[l] ... to his deface." (48) Other emblems concern control over speed of communication, such as "Scripta non temere edenda [Writings must not rashly be published]," containing Quintillius guiding an immature, "too faste" writer: "euer rashenes, yeeldes repente, and most dispised Hues [sic, lines?]." (49) Two emblems bestow the most specific advice: "Festina lente [Hasten slowly]" and "Maturandum [make good speed]." The first well-known motto advises princes weighing death sentences to "learne the truthe": "Then muste they haste, but verie slowe awaie, / Like butterflie whome creepinge crabbe dothe staie"; and the second "bides vs in our actions haste, no more then reason woulde." (50) Likewise, George Wither's much later Collection of Emblemes (1635) differentiates rates of action by their outcomes, drawing familiarly on the 1548 adage "Haste, Waste may make." (51) In another emblem, Wither links speed to travel, reasoning, "We are all Travellers" and giving the lesson of one traveler who may
slip by walking over-fast; Or ... by his hast: And, so (for want of better taking heed) Incurre the mischiefes of Vnwary-speed. (52)
Elsewhere, Wither cautions those pushing speed limits, namely, in his example schoolboys, who
seeke to force The Sands, to runne more speedily away, They interrupt them; and they passe the worse. But, let this Emblem teach us to regard What Way of Working, to each Worke pertaines. (53)
Wither believes his readers "seeke" speed, and he argues for decorum in its application at the end of this emblem, moralizing, "much Haste will marre thy Speed [success]." (54) In essence, the Renaissance iconography about the desire for speed in these emblem books implies that readers individually make choices about their own appropriate rates of action, and people can learn to judge and adjust speed with decorum.
As theater historians have established, the speed demons who ran the London theater industry by which Hamlet first came to the stage ignored such cautions, preferring instead the economic potential of speed. Early modern theater professionals wrote, pre pared, and staged their drama on tour in a frenetic style. According to Neil Carson, playwrights composed plays rapidly, usually completing them in a month or month and a half. (55) He also notes the "exceptional haste" with which companies copied, licensed, and studied their plays, with a usual production time of two weeks and occasionally as few as nine, six, or three days. (56) This pace of writing and production achieved efficiency: "the playing company ... devoured a new play a fortnight. New plays became old plays overnight." (57) This necessary hasty output made for profits--new plays sold to hungry audiences. (58)
When players took their quickly written and produced plays on tour, they did so rapidly to increase income for the box. Andrew Gurr notes that companies could travel far "at a surprisingly high speed." He gives as an example Queen Anne's Men, who in 1613 toured over 230 miles in two and a half weeks, likely performing at stopping points along the route. Similarly, the Queen's Men in 1594 acted in Norwich on June 25 and in Coventry on July 4, covering 130 miles in eight days. Gurr conjectures that companies may have sometimes stuck to sea routes along the coast in order to speed up their travels, as records reveal especially fast trips between Dover and Norwich or Plymouth. (59)
Those who worked in the London theaters not only required speed to produce drama, but also then rendered this same swift sensation during performances, attempting to fulfill audiences' desires for speed. Audiences participated vicariously in speedmaking through the kinetic energy of the characters on stage. We can add to Carnegie's stage direction in haste by noting other common stage directions from the period that indicate an actor entering, exiting, and performing action on stage in a hurried manner. In both The Taming of the Shrew and Comedy of Errors, for example, characters leave the stage "as fast as may be" (Shr. 5.1.112; C of E 4.4.146). Other stage directions include descriptors like hastily; suddenly; sweating; panting; and out of breath; as well as verbs like to hurry, rush, post, and the commonly used imperative to fly, which Alan Dessen and Leslie Thomson's Dictionary of Stage Directions explains meant to "enter or exit rapidly," usually in battle. (60) Gurr writes that what he calls "Vigorous and rapid staging" indulged the groundlings, who stood for extensive time in front of the stage. (61) According to his inference, then, all of this quick movement would have kept some from perceiving just how long their own feet had been still.
In addition to the movement of the players, the pace of actors delivering lines in the theater allowed the audience to experience speed auditorially. Gurr claims that early modern actors spoke Shakespeare's words much more rapidly than actors today: "Quicker speaking, quicker stage action, no intermissions, and the audience's ability to grasp the language more quickly meant that the plays galloped along." (62) Scholars such as Michael Hirrel estimate the rate of early modern players' speeches at 21-22 lines or 175-200 words a minute. (63) This rate outpaces by up to 25-50 words what we might hear when listening to the radio now. (64) Of course, in practicality, any speed of elocution cannot exceed the rate at which listeners can determine the import of recited sentences. (65) Like the emblem-book authors, some early modern commentators within the theater questioned the value of high speed. (66) Thomas Heywood gave aesthetic reasons for speed limits, writing in his 1612 Apology for Actors that a good scholar who puts on plays should not "teare his words hastily betwixt his teeth." (66)
Fast stage directions and fast line delivery were two ways the theaters made speed. But built into plays were also theatrical conventions for speeding up plots. How audiences should and did react to these different experiences of speed in the theater was the subject of various comments by playwrights and detractors. On stage, devices for accelerated affect, such as love-at-first-sight, were standard. The sudden appearance of the character Time in act 4 of The Winter's Tale calls attention to such conventions and mockingly anticipates critique for the lack of decorum, teasing the audience with a witty and superficial apology:
Impute it not a crime To me, or my swift passage, that I slide O'er sixteen years. (4.1.4-6)
The word "crime" marks a hyperbole here. Time asks the audience to "allo[w]" him "with speed so pace / To speak of Perdita, now grown" [WT, 4.1.15, 23-24). Shakespeare anticipated that theatergoers would hear language about hasty movement or see quick actions on stage and take pleasure in such efforts, the opposite of time "spent ... worse ere now" [WT, 4.1.30). Apology for Actors delineates the relationship between quick movement on stage and the positive response of audiences: "so bewitching a thing is liuely and well spirited action, that it hath power to new mold the harts of the spectators and fashion them to the shape of any noble and notable attempt." (67) Those critical of the theater associated it with speed and feared a negative or sinful effect on audiences, as did John Northbrooke in his anti-theatrical tract Spiritus est vicarius Christi in terra (1577): "I am persuaded that Satan hath not a more speedie way and fitter schoole to work and teach his desire, to bring men and women into his snare of concupiscence and filthie lustes of wicked whoredome, than those places and playes, and theatres are." (68) This speed of influence worked particularly effectively on the emotions. In "E/loco/co/motion," Bruce Smith explains this early modern belief that drama affected the emotions, as emotions accelerated in response to fiction. Imagination generated a "quicknesse" of "thoughts," of "springings and glances of the heart" arising in "sudden" fashion. (69) Early moderns found the heart the "site of our affective sensibilities." (70) Thus, contemporaries saw speed as both a necessity for and an effect of theater.
Hamlet intensifies the potential of speed already inherent in the early modern theatrical experience by providing a discourse of haste, such as Marcellus's "this sweaty haste / Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day" and Horatio's "this post-haste and rummage in the land." (71) In fact, Hamlet has more references to the words "speed" and "haste" than any other Shakespearean work except for Romeo and Juliet, which has an equal number. (72) Sometimes this discourse in Hamlet refers to intellectual or metaphorical perceptions of speed. The Ghost describes the poison in a double figure of mercury and of a horse running through a village, or perhaps, one could say, through a hamlet: "swift as quicksilver it courses through / The natural gates and alleys of the body" (1.5.66-67). (73) This poison curdled the Ghost's blood in an accelerated manner, "with a sudden vigour," and caused an "instant" rash (1.5.68, 71).
Most of the references to speed from the opening moments occur in imperatives for characters to move physically over land or water. In other words, characters issue demands for speed-making. These include Barnardo's request to Francisco, "The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste"; Hamlet's "To a nunnery go, and quickly too"; Polonius's call for decorously speedy departure: "Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard for shame! / The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail"; and Claudius's insistence that Hamlet must "With fiery quickness" leave for England on a ship: "The bark is ready and the wind at help" (1.1.11, emphasis added; 3.1.139; 1.3.54-55; F1, 3.6.41; 4.3.43). Most of these commands anticipate hurried offstage action. Peter Holland explains that plays frequently ask spectators to imagine journeys transpiring behind the scenes because "Placing a voyage on stage is, of course, a direct route to dramaturgical difficulty."74 Instead, through a language of hurried commands, Hamlet requires that audiences envision rushed activity and travel about to happen somewhere just off stage.
Characters use imperatives also to hasten speed of communication. Fortinbras rushes to listen to Horatio's story and to acquire new information: "Let us haste to hear it" (5.2.370). Using analogies with thinking and affect, Hamlet sees positively the speed of communicating knowledge that will enable vengeance: "Haste me to know't that I with wings as swift / As meditation or the thoughts of love / May sweep to my revenge" (1.5.29-31). Other commands for the quick travel of communication proliferate. Laertes urges Ophelia to send him letters promptly conveyed by boat: "as the winds give benefit / And convey is assistant" (1.3.2-3). Claudius recognizes the benefits of speed for the ambassadors, who represent royal communication. He commands them: "let your haste commend your duty" (1.2.39). Indeed, at 1.2.41, the ambassadors receive a farewell and then "Are joyfully returned" with their news from Norway at approximately the same point in the next act, 2.2.41.
The play does not emphasize the speed of other characters solely in order to distinguish the delay of Hamlet because he also at times moves with alacrity. For example, his sea voyage and abrupt return outdo in speed the ambassadors' quick expedition to Norway, and characters' depictions of his journey combine references to fast travel and to hurried communication. Hamlet describes every character at some point as speedy except for Claudius. While he is quick-thinking, for actions he prefers to employ fleet instruments, namely, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, those men "hast[il]y" summoned to fulfill swift commands (2.2.4). Claudius demands speed for Hamlet's crossing, such as with the orders, "I have in quick determination / Thus set it down. He shall with speed to England"; "I your commission will forthwith dispatch"; "Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage"; and "Tempt him with speed aboard. / Delay it not" and "make haste" (3.1.167-68; 3.3.3, 3.3.24; 4.3.52-53, 55). Claudius has great power to control the speed of his desired tasks. Rosencrantz obeys Claudius's orders at 4.4.29; Hamlet replies in the next line: "I'll be with you straight" (4.4.30); the audience learns Hamlet finally departed at 4.5.80; and Hamlet comes back by 4.6, two scenes after he left. Hamlet labels his own voyage "my sudden return" (4.7.46). Certainly, Hamlet's trip represents the fastest movement offstage so far in the play.
Moreover, Hamlet's letter to Horatio characterizes the offstage trip not only as fast in and of itself, but also as an acceleration at sea compared to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's unwavering maritime speed: "Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour and in the grapple I boarded them. On the instant they got clear of our ship.... Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England" (4.6.15-2 7, emphasis added to original italics). Hamlet quickly wants to relay face-to-face this story of his own speed and outcome: "repair thou to me with as much speed as thou wouldst fly death" (4.6.22-23, original italics). In response, Horatio agrees to help the sailors with their letters, "the speedier" that he can visit Hamlet (4.6.30). Through Hamlet's epistolary handling and order to execute immediately the letter-bearers, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, "Without debatement further more or less," Hamlet emblematizes the nearly instantaneous travel and letter-transmission that early modern people themselves craved (5.2.45). He also exhibits attempted agency over his own speed of travel and of the communication of his narrative.
As shown in these moments in the play, characters frequently comment on others' or their own rates as relatively fast or slow, as well as on the value, outcome, or decorum of these speeds. Sometimes characters reach agreement about an action's particular pace. The remark Gertrude makes to Claudius about "our hasty marriage" endorses Hamlet's previous negative assessment of her rush to matrimony: "O most wicked speed! To post / With such dexterity to incestuous sheets" (2.2.57, 1.2.156-57). Hamlet perceives her actions as unsuitably fast, and therefore evil or sinful. Horatio further confirms the accuracy of this assessment of speed when he replies that the wedding "followed hard upon" the funeral (1.2.178). Because Gertrude has less power than Claudius, or perhaps because of her gender, her commands do not elicit the same fast response time that Claudius's do. She orders the usually fast Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, "I beseech you instantly to visit" Hamlet (2.2.35), but it takes them 180 lines to do so. Likewise, after summons of Hamlet to Gertrude by Guildenstern and by Polonius, "the Queen would speak with you, and presently," meaning "immediately; instantly, quickly," the play cues the audience to a slow response when Hamlet acknowledges, "My mother stays" (3.2.288; 3.2.365-66; 3.3.95). (75) Among other tip-offs the audience gets to his failure to make haste are when Hamlet resolves, "now to my mother," but then does not go to her (3.2.382), and when he jokes about "com[ing] by and by," but admits " 'by and by' is easily said" (3.2.376-77). When Hamlet has still not arrived, Polonius promises her correctly: "'A will come straight," which Hamlet does (3.4.1). The audience can follow these judgments because its own perceptions of movement, gleaned through visual and auditory cues, correspond with the actors' movement on stage and the characters' comments about the rate of this movement and lack of decorum.
Dramaturgical theorists explain how playwrights can use theatrical conventions, in other words messengers like Polonius, to quicken the pace of the plot or explain in only a few lines events that take place over much more time. For example, Gary Scrimgeour maintains that playwrights accelerate actions in a play in order to create more narrative movement and to manipulate time: "In the theater, the panoramic play requires that the dramatist continually balance speed of movement and compression of events against the necessity of keeping his audience precisely informed and at ease in the midst of swiftly changing material." (76) Similarly, John Russell Brown exhorts critics thinking about onstage performance to "give attention to expectation and anticipation, to delay and speed of fulfillment.... Forms of combat and chase should be carefully noted as basic structural devices that quicken attention." (77) However, Brown differs somewhat from Scrimgeour in highlighting how plays do not always completely apprise the audience about events. Not only onstage action, but also language in Shakespeare engages the audience's imagination, according to Brown. Shakespeare's plays always have "verbal images that express lively sensations and rapidly changing thoughts.... Their swiftly succeeding verbal impressions set a pace with which actors and audience will often fail to keep up.... [W]hen failing to catch individual images and allusions, or even the sense of what is being said, the attention of audience members can be held merely by the energy of speech, its speed, weight, rhythms and variations of sound." (78) Brown recognizes importantly that audiences cannot always "keep up." Shakespeare, however, also considered the consequences of such a failure beyond losing audience interest.
For a theater audience, ascertaining speed of movement and of thematic and dramaturgical information occurs through sensory perception: visually and audibly, as well as through proprioceptive sense of time and movement. In other words, even people deprived of visual or auditory sensation can sense their own acceleration and how much time has passed. Hamlet, however, actually considerably disrupts traditional theatrical tenets on managing speed. While creating "speed of movement" and "swiftly changing material," the play keeps its characters and the audience in a state of dis-"ease" and im-"balance" in order to effect disorientation, by means of the audience's contrasting sensory perceptions of speed. Fast motion alone does not cause motion sickness. Instead, disorientation happens for someone when a conflict occurs between expectations and new information taken in by the visual and auditory senses. (79) For example, a body unfamiliar with experiencing ship motion at sea sometimes reacts to information taken in by the eyes (which see the horizon) and by the inner ear or vestibular system (which senses a lurching deck) that contradicts the brain's norm of balance. (80) Brown hints at this problem in Romeo and Juliet, when visual information from Juliet's quick entrance in act 2 "speak[s] to the [audience's] eyes only and not at all to the ears." (81) Shakespeare appreciated how the theater could create disorientation; furthermore, playwrights require such disorientation in order to relay a time-spanning story over the duration of only a few hours.
The experience of watching Hamlet may have occasioned feelings of uneasiness and disorientation among audience members as they witnessed characters repeatedly disputing each other's speed measurements. The play, in effect, pits characters' simultaneous and often varying perceptions of time and speed of events against each other and then positions characters' assessments against the audience's. Hamlet first claims that over a month has passed since Old Hamlet died (1.2.153). But during a later conversation, Ophelia protests that four months have elapsed, and Hamlet radically recasts the interval: "my father died within's two hours" (3.2.121, 3.2.120). The assertion of two hours clashes with early modern audiences' physical experience of the play's duration up to act 3, which may or may not have been perceived accurately. Polonius sees himself as unprofitably slow, regretting that, with regard to Hamlet, "with better speed ... / I had not quoted him" (F1, 2.1.109-10). Polonius laments not choosing the good type of speed or profit. The initial witnesses to the Ghost cannot agree on its speed when reporting the supernatural encounter. Horatio reckons that the Ghost stayed "While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred" (1.2.236). Barnardo and Marcellus both refute Horatio's calculation of passing time, saying, "Longer, longer," but Horatio rejects the correction: "Not when I saw't" (1.2.236, 237). The audience, which itself witnessed the appearance of the Ghost in act 1, will of course have had a separate perception. These conflicts about degree of speed suggest the play's attempt to unsettle audience perceptions. What, the audience might have begun to ask, constitutes "moderate haste" in Hamlet?
Hamlet frustrates onstage and possibly offstage audiences not only by creating intellectual mismatches in information debated by characters, but also by staging dizzyingly abrupt accelerations of movement. Claudius urges Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to hunt for Hamlet and also for Polonius's body: "I pray you haste in this" (4.1.37). Ten lines later, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern locate Hamlet (4.2.2). The next scene echoes and accelerates this exchange: at 4.3.15, Claudius tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to "Bring [Hamlet] before us," while Hamlet stands outside the chamber, and they do so in the second half of the line. In four places, this brisk behind-the-scenes action moves on stage, causing sudden visual accelerations for the witnessing characters. In the first example, Hamlet and others struggle to keep up with the rushing Ghost. Horatio reported to Hamlet the Ghost's bursts of movement while on stage in terms of common Elizabethan stage directions: "at the sound [of the cock crowing] it shrunk in haste away" (1.2.218, emphasis added). The Ghost later moves "under the stage," according to stage directions in all early versions of the play, more quickly than Hamlet's oath-taking friends on stage can; and Hamlet perceives it in multiple places simultaneously: "Hie et ubique? Then we'll shift our ground" (1.5.148.s.d., 156). To understand these scenes, the audience has to follow the auditory and visual tracks cued by the lines and motions of the actors, without encountering any conflict between the physicality of watching the play and the Ghost's below-stage movements. Hamlet's questions expressing amazement indicate to the audience the unexpected nature of these accelerations: "canst work i'th' earth so fast?" (1.5.161). Similarly, in the second example, Hamlet suddenly stabbing Polonius, himself a "rash" intruder, according to Hamlet, catches the onstage audience by surprise (3.4.29). (82) Gertrude calls Hamlet's killing a "rash and bloody deed," emphasizing the murder's unseemly speed (3.4.26). Arguably, Hamlet's snap decision to kill Polonius behind the arras ruins Hamlet's speed/success because this action gets Hamlet banished and brings back Laertes, which offers a third example. When Laertes returns, breaking down the court doors, the messenger reports a tsunami of indecorum:
The ocean overpeering of his list Eats not the flats with more impiteous haste Than young Laertes in a riotous head O'erbears your officers. (4.5.99-102)
In my final example of the acceleration of onstage action, Hamlet's immediate stabbing of the King is one of several moments of sudden activity: Gertrude's murder, the swordfight, Claudius's guilt becoming publicly declared knowledge, and Hamlet's own death (5.2). Fortinbras remarks on this incredible speed, "so many princes at a shot / ... bloodily ... struck," signaling to the audience the unexpectedly speedy climax and resolution to the revenge plot (5.2.350-51).
Hamlet suggests that characters' differing assessments of and judgments about rates of speed are due to differing individual sensory perceptions. Characters call attention to and rate discrepancies among each other's senses. Marcellus and Horatio privilege visual perception: the former seeks the latter to "approve our eyes," and in the first scene, Horatio judges his own senses and vision as particularly perceptive: "I might not this believe / Without the sensible and true avouch / Of mine own eyes" (1.1.28; 55-57). Brown argues that Hamlet shows a "presentation of a life that is based in sensation and feeling." (83) But Hamlet problematizes "sensation and feeling" as untrustworthy measures of speed.
In Hamlet, not all characters possess the particularly dependable senses that Horatio claims for himself at the beginning. The play foregrounds varying, but also unreliable sensory perceptions. For example, characters' ears do not seem to assimilate information completely, such as in Horatio's failure to hear the clock: "Indeed? I heard it not"; Gertrude's "Alack, what noise is this?"; Laertes's "what noise is that?"; and the English Ambassador's "The ears are senseless that should give us hearing" (1.4.4; 4.1.95 [only in Q1 and F1]; 4.5.152; 5.2.353). These characters marvel at deficient senses. Horatio highlights other limited senses when he notes Marcellus's and Barnardo's "oppressed ... eyes" (1.2.202). If the ears' and eyes' senses malfunction or conflict with each other or with expected information from other senses, disorientation can result; these characters' questions convey just such growing sensory confusion.
Hamlet concludes that Gertrude's unreliable and sick senses (recall she does not see or hear the Ghost [3.4.120, 131]) have misled her judgment in electing to wed Claudius so quickly; thus, she violates decorum in speed. He deduces that Gertrude has not become insane, but has developed a damaged or paralyzed "sense," meaning consciousness or sensory perception:
Sense, sure, you have-- Else could you not have motion. But sure, that sense Is apoplexed, for madness would not err Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thralled But it reserved some quantity of choice To serve in such a difference. (3.4.69-74, only in Q2)
Hamlet rationalizes her defective senses as enslaved to "motion," movement or emotion. (84) Then, after venturing that a devil has tricked Gertrude's visual senses in "hoodman-blind," Hamlet realizes that a paralyzed sense results in mismatched, missing, or ailing sensory perception (3.4.78):
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight, Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all, Or but a sickly part of one true sense Could not so mope. (3.4.76-79, only in Q2)
Gertrude's visual organs cannot accurately process information, or affect, "feeling," nor can her visual, auditory, touch, and olfactory perceptions interconnect. Hamlet therefore suspects a "sickly" condition or sense; otherwise, if her senses worked correctly, or if only one part of an effective, "true" sense, perhaps vision, did, the senses would not have misfired. He realizes that individuals cannot choose to override the senses, and lust, given incorrect sensory information. Senses enslaved to emotion cannot properly perceive or regulate speed.
Characters in Hamlet point out not only the untrustworthiness and susceptibility of the senses to sickness or manipulation by others, but also the self-rationalization of sensory experience, which impairs one's ability to judge speed. While fully functioning olfactory perceptions do not usually aid in directly recognizing speed in Hamlet, they can detect the passage of time, especially through the processes of things burning up or rotting (1.5.3; 1.5.58; 3.3.36; 4.3.35; 5.1.190). Time's passage through the nose forms part of Laertes's counsel to Ophelia, as a way to deny her emotions for Hamlet. Laertes devises a figure for her of Hamlet's short-lived love: "The perfume and suppliance of a minute, / No more" (1.3.9-10). But Ophelia repeats skeptically Laertes's conception of an emotion as an imagined, transitory, olfactory experience: "No more but so," so that Laertes reassures her, "Think it no more," as if the mind can choose to deny the body's sensory experience (1.3.10). As other characters do, Laertes and Ophelia here seem to disagree about the rate at which such an imagined experience might take place. He suggests the potential for registering emotions through the senses, transforming them into other imaginary sensory experiences, and then willfully speeding them up. Hamlet, similarly, tries to regulate the speed of sensory input. After hearing the Ghost's story and reacting emotionally, he calls for deceleration, commanding his "sinews, [to] grow not instant old" (1.5.94). In relation to auditory and olfactory sensations, Alexander Cowan and Jill Steward describe early modern "attempts ... to suppress and control features of the sensory environment perceived as distasteful, disruptive, subversive and oppositional." (85) This endeavored disciplining of sensation occurs in Hamlet as well, as characters struggle to outthink the senses that might lead to unpleasant emotions and to hasten or slow down these feelings.
The speeds that Hamlet chooses and declares for himself show that he, too, rationalizes speed, bordering on such self-deception. Other characters note that the inability and denial of one's own sensory and emotional reality can lead to delusion, as Barnardo hopes to "assail your [Horatio's] ears / ... so fortified against our story" (1.1.30-31). Laertes's imperative upon seeing Ophelia dead suggests the desire to block out visual perception of grief: "tears seven times salt / Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!" (4.5.153-54). Significantly, these manipulated senses influence a character's ability to measure others' or his or her own speed and outcomes. Hamlet, on the one hand, praises his own impulsiveness when he sprang from his sea cabin to substitute one letter for another, allowing him to gain knowledge to justify revenge. In recalling discovering Claudius's execution orders on the ship, Hamlet breaks off his story about rash action to digress on the value of rashness: "Rashly--/ And praised be rashness for it" (5.2.6-7). He sees his own speed as positive, not only because he could take revenge on Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Claudius quickly, but also because he acquired the knowledge needed to enact a successful outcome. On the other hand, Hamlet's praise for acting "Rashly" recalls for the audience Hamlet's declaration to Laertes in the previous scene: "I am not splenative rash" (5.1.250). Hamlet's self-contradictions about speed signal Shakespeare questioning whether it truly produces "liberty"--and any real opportunities to choose rates with decorum--or whether attempts to regulate speed delude and enslave the self.
In Hamlet, theater seems to offer the only opportunity for exercising control over speed-making, a necessary element in effective theatrical practice. Hamlet explains that acting can disrupt audiences' sensory processes; he says that a player with Hamlet's cause would "amaze indeed / The very faculty of eyes and ears" (2.2.500-501). The practice of acting requires the player also to accelerate his own emotion, in other words, "in a fiction .../... [to] force his soul so to his own conceit" in order to generate "Tears" (2.2.487-88, 490). The scheme to perform the Murder of Gonzago appeals to Hamlet not only because of its testing, to "catch the conscience of the King," but also because of its promise of immediate revelation of the truth (2.2.540). The Players' performance will evoke information and emotional reaction instantly:
Hum, I have heard That guilty creatures sitting at a play Have by the very cunning of the scene Been struck so to the soul that presently They have proclaimed their malefactions. (2.2.523-27, emphasis added)
Hamlet expects that theater distorts the senses and accelerates knowledge and affect for the observing audience--play making becomes speed-making.
Surprisingly, the Players in Hamlet do not move particularly fast when they first arrive at Elsinore, but they do have control and agency; and with Hamlet's prompting, they at times both decelerate and accelerate. As they travel to court, the Players move slowly enough that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern report overtaking them: "we coted them on the way" (2.2.283). The audience learns further from Rosencrantz that before their tour, the Players operated at a habitual speed. Despite having an "inhibition," the Players' "endeavour keeps in the wonted pace" (2.2.295, 336-37 [a line found only in Fl]). The Players' speech that Hamlet remembers, however, hints that this early slowness or habitually maintained rate prefaces a quick and successful follow-through that will speed up the emotional reactions of observers. The content of this remembered speech deals with the success of sudden accelerations that follow a pause, specifically Pyrrhus's: "after Pyrrhus' pause / A roused vengeance sets him new a-work," resulting in a death by sword-blow and Hecuba's emotional "instant burst of clamour" (2.2.425; 453, original italics). Productions of Hamlet have often cut the Player's speech and additional lines from this scene, as well as omitted material from the other play-within-the-play, The Murder of Gonzago, because of slow pacing. (86) In the words of Polonius, they are "too long" (2.2.436). But Hamlet wants the actors to perform even more lines. When he asks the Players to learn a new speech of "some dozen lines, or sixteen lines," he makes the play longer, but the actors memorize the lines overnight, showing, indeed, an acceleration (2.2.477). Hamlet's enjoyment of these slower plays-within-the-play and his simultaneous demands for quick responsiveness from the players highlight the play's concern with speeds of performance.
Still, Hamlet worries that the Players will not move fast enough once they hit the stage, and he demands excessive speed-making, ultimately making himself sick. In his directions to them, he tells them to avoid a poor performance by overacting or underacting, that is, by "com[ing] tardy off," with "tardy" meaning to move slowly and therefore fall short (3.2.25).87 He then asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to serve as speed-makers and expedite the Players' preparation for performance using the popular cultural idiom to make haste: "Bid the players make haste," followed redundantly by the question "Will you two help to hasten them?" (3.2.46, 47). As we well know, the successive performances by the Players rouse the King, but the Players' motions unsettle Hamlet's equanimity as well. During the Players' second skit, Hamlet reacts by calling out in the First Folio (Fl) version, published in 1623, "Wormwood! Wormwood!" (3.2.175) (in Q1 "O, wormwood! Wormwood!" [9.115]), a common early modern remedy for nausea from traveling at sea. (88) The 1582 diary of Richard Madox explains: " 'I was taught many medcynes to avoyd the sycknes of the sea as namely, ... to drink the juse of wormwood.' " (89) According to the (1597) Garden of Health, wormwood "comforteth the stomacke" and "preuentfs]" "Vomiting on the Sea." (90) Early modern travelers believed unfamiliar sea air primarily caused seasickness, but they conceded "it be true that the motion of the Ship helpes much," and "the motion and agitation may cause this sicknesse" not only in boats, but also "in like sort going in Coaches and Caroaches"; those bodies and stomachs "not acoustomed thereunto ... are wonderfully moued and changed." (91) Symptoms included loss of "legs, stomach, and courage." (92) In the Second Quarto (Q2), published in 1604-5, the printing of Hamlet's verdict "That's wormwood!" occurs in the right-hand margin next to "None wed the second but who killed the first" (3.2.175, 174, original italics). While the Arden 3 editors see in this an "aside" by Hamlet on the bitter play-within-the-play, the placement of the remedy also functions more broadly, as a reader's marginal comment or a metatheatrical onstage assessment of the entire queasy play. (93)
As the Players and onstage audiences' reactions in Hamlet show, Shakespeare understood the necessity and difficulty of speed for powerful theater. Given recent textual conversations about Hamlet, (94) it is worth noting that in all basic versions of the Hamlet texts, Shakespeare and his fellow actors attended to the language of haste. Each of the three early texts reveals, though in different ways, a marked concern with speed. The longer texts, Q2 and F1, talk more about it, but even the shortest, the First Quarto (Q1), printed in 1603, seems to have speed in mind. For example, in the quotes cited in my essay, Q1 has "To a nunnery, go!" (7.185), and Q2/F1 also has "and quickly, too"; Q2/F1 has "sweaty haste" while Q1 has "sweaty march" (1.70.66); Q2/F1 has "moderate haste" while Q1 has "moderate pace" (2.150). F1, while shorter than Q2, makes additions and changes to Q2 in order to exaggerate speed:
The bark is ready] With fiery quickness [new phrase added] Haste me to know't] Haste, haste me to know it our hasty marriage] our o'erhasty marriage repair thou to me with as much speed] repair thou to me with as much haste splenative rash] splenative and rash (F1, 3.6.40; 1.5.29; 2.2.56; 4.2.23; 5.1.258)
Other textual differences throughout the three major texts of Hamlet reveal similar editorial consciousness about the theme of acceleration in the play, such as Polonius's apology: Polonius's line in Q2 is "I am sorry that with better heed" (2.1.108) and, in F1, "I am sorry that with better speed" (2.1.109) while Corambis's line in Q1 is "I am sorry / That I was so rash" (6.61-62). Such attention to expressions involving haste evidences interest in speed-making and acceleration as tools of successful theatrical production.
Hamlet attests to Shakespeare's fascination with the processes of manipulating and perceiving speed, especially for artistic, emotional, and visceral effects in the theater. The play exploits the potential of performed drama to disorient by producing many concurrent types of speed that often conflict with the onstage and offstage sense of physical time and stage-time, a condition a "little more than kin" to motion sickness (1.2.65). But Shakespeare's attitude toward speed appears to have been conflicted. Hamlet expresses doubts about the possibility of agency over the application of speed with decorum or precision, the desirability of speed to produce profitable outcomes, and accurate perception of others' or one's own speed. Critics have long debated which of Shakespeare's works is the fastest. (95) It might be more productive to recognize speed as a hallmark of Shakespeare's works and to examine their varying perspectives on it.
(1.) For discussions of time, see Matthew Wagner, Shakespeare, Theatre, and Time (New York: Routledge, 2014) and David Houston Wood, Time, Narrative, and Emotion in Early Modern England (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009); for movement, see P. A. Skantze, Stillness in Motion in the Seventeenth-Century Theatre (London: Routledge, 2003); for space, see Tim Fitzpatrick, Playwright, Space and Place in Early Modern Performance: Shakespeare and Company (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2011); for the relationship among these three concepts, see Angus Fletcher, Time, Space, and Motion in the Age of Shakespeare (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007).
(2.) Dympna Callaghan, "Confounded by Winter: Speeding Time in Shakespeare's Sonnets," in A Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets, ed. Michael Schoenfeldt (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 106.
(3.) In his passing references to Hamlet, Howard Marchitello sees Hamlet as similar to Macbeth, although in lesser intensity: "they wish to accelerate their movement through time and have the future in the instant." "Speed and the Problem of Real Time in Macbeth," Shakespeare Quarterly 64, no. 4 (2013): 425-48, 434-35, doi:10.1353/shq.2013.0059. While, like Marchitello, I focus on the desire for speed, my paper questions the early modern acceptance of the inevitable "drive" toward acceleration; I uncover early modern culture's ambivalent attitudes toward speed and argue that in Hamlet, Shakespeare was more interested in the possibility of controlling and perceiving physical speed.
(4.) David Carnegie, "Running over the Stage: Webster and the Running Footman," Early Theatre 3, no. 1 (2010): 121-36, 122 and 133, Academic OneFile.
(5.) Quoted in ibid., 132.
(6.) Ibid., 132-33.
(7.) Robert Hapgood found that many Shakespearean heroes operate at varying rhythms from the "norm" that the audience predicts, with the exception of Hamlet: "In Hamlet ... such slowness is a general malaise verging on paralysis. Virtually everyone in Elsinore is prone to delay in much the same way that Hamlet is." "Shakespeare's Choreography: Pace and Rhythm," in Shakespeare's More Than Words Can Witness: Essays on Visual and Nonverbal Enactment in the Plays, ed. Sidney Homan (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1980), 131 and 136.
(8.) Margreta de Grazia, Hamlet Without Hamlet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 158, original italics.
(9.) Shankar Raman, "Hamlet in Motion," in Knowing Shakespeare: Senses, Embodiment and Cognition, ed. Lowell Gallagher and Shankar Raman (New York: Palgrave, 2010), 135.
(10.) Oxford English Dictionary (hereafter cited OED), 2nd ed., s.v. "speed-making, speed, n.," C5 and "speed, v.," 11a; see also OED, 3rd ed., s.v. "make, v.," IV50.
(11.) For a discussion of the effect of theatrical motion on early modern audiences' bodies in non-Shakespearean plays, see Skantze, Stillness in Motion, 3, 2223, and 25.
(12.) In this paper, I focus on theatrical performance, but similar effects occurred for readers; for the relationships among reading and the stomach, body, and emotion, see Katharine A. Craik and Tanya Pollard, Reading Sensations in Early Modern England (New York: Palgrave, 2007). For a discussion of the relationships among contagious sickness in the theater, actors, and audiences, see Darryl Chalk, "'A nature but infected': Plague and Embodied Transformation in Timon of Athens," in "Embodying Shakespeare," ed. David Mclnnis and Brett D. Hirsch, special issue, Early Modern Literary Studies 19 (2009): n.p., http://purl.oclc.org/emls/ si-19/chalplag.html.
(13.) Hamlet may have been performed on a ship in 1607. For ongoing debates about whether the record for this performance is real or a forgery by J. P. Collier, see Gary Taylor, "Hamlet in Africa, 1607," in Travel Knowledge: European "Discoveries" in the Early Modern Period, ed. Ivo Kamps and G. Singh (New York: Palgrave, 2001); Richmond Barbour, The Third Voyage Journals: Writing and Performance in the London East India Company (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009); and Bernice W. Kliman, "At Sea about Hamlet at Sea: A Detective Story," Shakespeare Quarterly 62, no. 2 (2011): 180-204, doi:10.1353/shq.2011.0025.
(14.) OED, 2nd ed., s.v. "speed, n." 3a, 5a, 6a, and 10a; and "haste, n.," 1, 2, 5a, 6, and 7.
(15.) Marvin Spevack, Complete and Systematic Concordance to the Works of Shakespeare, 9 vols. (Hildesheim, Germany: Georg Olms, 1968-80), s.v. "haste"; "speed."
(16.) Oth., 1.3.276-77. References are to act, scene, and line. All further Shakespeare references, with the exception of those from Hamlet (see note 71), come from the Riverside edition and appear in the text. William Shakespeare, Riverside Shakespeare: The Complete Works, gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans, with the assistance of J. J. M. Tobin, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
(17.) Spevack, Concordance, s.v. "speed"; "haste."
(18.) Thomas Cooper, comp. Bibliotheca Eliotae, 2nd ed. (London, 1548), s.v. "properantia." When citing early texts, I have preserved spelling but normalized long "s" and expanded contractions.
(19.) Abraham Flemming, trans., A Panoplie of Epistles, 2nd ed. (London, 1576), sig. R3v.
(20.) Randle Cotgrave, comp., A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongves (London, 1611), s.v. "acceleration."
(21.) Church of England, The Booke of the Common Prayer (London, 1549), sig. Air (the prayers are based on Psalms 40:13 and 70:1); "the king had great regard of expedition and making speed for the safetie of his owne person," Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, from William the Conquerour ... vntill the Yeare 1577, rev. ed. ([London?], 1585), sig. 3Elv; "we must make speede by our diligent and continuall reading of histories," Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes, trans. Thomas North (London, 1579), sig. *5r; Terence, Floweres or Eloquent Phrases of the Latine Speach, comp. Nicholas Udall (London, 1581), sig. 2D1v; "make speede apace if from our land thou get thee not away," Seneca His Tenne Tragedies, Translated into Englysh, trans. Thomas Newton (London, 1581), sig. R2r; "the king being required to make speede," John Foxe, Actes and Monuments (London, 1583), sig. N1r; "The messenger made speede," Philip Sidney, Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia (London, 1590), sig. 2P2v; "they make speed unto the campe," The Romane Historie Written by T. Livius of Padua (London, 1600), sig. 2Blv; "in haste, and to makespeede [sic], he [a Soufdier] would ordinarily swimme over al the Rivers hee met," Michel de Montaigne, Essayes (London, 1613), sig. 2P4r; Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedie, 2nd ed. (London, 1592), sig. K2r, original italics. For books Shakespeare knew, see Stuart Gillespie's entries for The Book of Common Prayer, Holinshed, Plutarch, Terence, Foxe, and Montaigne in Shakespeare's Books: A Dictionary of Shakespeare Sources (London: Athlone, 2001); for Hamlet allusions to Seneca, Sidney, Livy, and Kyd, see Geoffrey Bullough, ed., "Hamlet," in Major Tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, Lear, Macbeth, vol. 7 of Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare (London: Routledge, 1973): 3-189. Some plays that refer to "making speed" or "making haste" include Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine, 2nd ed. (London, 1590); Robert Wilson, Three Ladies of London (London, 1592); The Lamentable and Trve Tragedie of M. Arden of Feuersham in Kent, 2nd ed. (London, 1592); Thomas Lodge, Looking Glasse of London and England (London, 1594); Thomas Dekker, Shoemakers Holiday (London, 1600); Ben Jonson, Cynthias Revels (London, 1601); and Michael Drayton and George Chapman, The True Chronicle History of King Leir (London, 1605).
(22.) Spevack, Concordance, s.v. "haste"; "speed."
(23.) Joseph A. Amato, On Foot: A History of Walking (New York: New York University Press, 2004), 73; see also 75, 85-86, and 100.
(24.) R. McNeill Alexander, "Walking, Running, and Hopping," chap. 7 in Principles of Animal Locomotion (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 103 and 129; see especially his section "Speed," 103-9.
(25.) Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker, introduction to Culture of the Horse: Status, Discipline, and Identity in the Early Modern World, ed. Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker (New York: Palgrave, 2005), 1; for the preference of speedier horse riding to walking, see Amato, On Foot, 69 and 60-61.
(26.) Alexander, "Walking, Running, and Hopping," 103 and 128-129.
(27.) Claudio Corte, The Art of Riding (London, 1584), sigs. H1v and D4r. For the eighteenth-century love of "expedition" leading to "a truly British invention: rising to the trot," see Donna Landry, "Learning to Ride in Early Modern Britain," in Culture of the Horse: Status, Discipline, and Identity in the Early Modern World, ed. Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker (New York: Palgrave, 2005), 341-42.
(28.) Raber and Tucker, introduction, 26 and 32; Richard Nash, "The Thoroughbred as Cultural Metaphor," in Culture of the Horse: Status, Discipline, and Identity in the Early Modern World, ed. Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker (New York: Palgrave, 2005), 265. Amato calls horse racing the "quintessence of land speed until the advent of the train" (On Foot, 95); sixteenth-century carriages also became faster (On Foot, 77).
(29.) Raber and Tucker, introduction, 28; see also Barbara D. Palmer, "Early Modern Mobility: Players, Payments, and Patrons," Shakespeare Quarterly 56, no. 3 (2005): 259-305, 287, doi:10.1353/shq.2006.0010.
(30.) Peter Ackroyd, Thames: The Biography (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 4-5; for traffic jams, see 103; for claims that the river has not altered over centuries, see 14.
(31.) Arthur Nelson, The Tudor Navy: The Ships, Men and Organisation, 1485-1603 (London: Conway Maritime, 2001), 88 and 101.
(32.) Ibid., 100.
(33.) Peter Kemp, ed., Encyclopedia of Ships and Seafaring (London: Stanford Maritime, 1980), 209; see also Pierre Barjot and Jean Savant, History of the World's Shipping, trans. Carol Tomkins (London: Allan, 1965), 65.
(34.) Nelson, Tudor Navy, 101; for ship names, see 102-3; for the ship-name the Make-Speede, see Richard Hakluyt, Principal Navigations (London, 1599), sig. 3F2v.
(35.) Joseph Swetnam, The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence (London, 1617), original italics.
(36.) William Rastell, A Table Collected of the Yeres of our horde God, and of the Yeres of the Kynges of Englande, 2nd ed. (London, 1558).
(37.) John Blagrave, The Mathematical Iewel (London, 1585).
(38.) Timoth[i]e Bright, Characterie: An Arte of Shorte, Swifte, and Secret Writing by Character (London, 1588); Peter Bales, The Writing Schoolemaster (London, 1590).
(39.) I. W., A Speedie Post (London, 1625).
(40.) James Daybell, The Material Letter in Early Modern England (New York: Palgrave, 2012), 47.
(41.) Sara Jayne Steen, "Reading Beyond the Words: Material Letters and the Process of Interpretation." QUIDDITAS 22 (2001): 55-69, 59, http://humani ties.byu.edu/rmmra/pdfs/22.pdf.
(42.) Mark Brayshay, Philip Harrison, and Brian Chalkley, "Knowledge, Nationhood, and Governance: The Speed of the Royal Post in Early-Modern England," Journal of Historical Geography 24, no. 3 (1998): 265-88, 275.
(43.) Edward Nicholas to Henry Vane, 18 August 1641, in Nicholas Papers, ed. George F. Warner (Westminster: Camden Society, 1886), 1:17.
(44.) Charles Cornwallis to Robert Cecil, 1 June 1609, in Memorials of Affairs of State in the Reigns of Q. Elizabeth and K. James I, ed. Edmund Sawyer (London, 1727), 3:48, Eighteenth Century Collections Online (CB130089784).
(45.) Gary Schneider, Culture of Epistolarity (Wilmington: University of Delaware, 2005), 36; see also Daybell, Material Letter, 134.
(46.) A. J. Loomie, "Carey, Robert, first earl of Monmouth (1560-1639)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004-14), n. p., doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4656.
(48.) Geffrey Whitney, A Choice of Emblemes, ed. Henry Green, facsimile of the first edition, with an introduction by Frank Fieler (1586; New York: Benjamin Blom, 1967), 6; I use Green's English translations for all emblem titles (lxxxv-lxxxix).
(49.) Ibid., 185.
(50.) Ibid., 121, 121, and 188.
(51.) George Wither, A Collection of Emblemes, facsimile of the first edition (1635; Menston, UK: Scolar Press, 1968), sig. C2r, original italics.
(52.) Ibid., sig. Y2r, original italics. A contemporary translation of Cicero counsels in a similar vein on literal walking rates for young men: "We must take heede also, we use neither to nyce a slownesse in our pase, like pageauntes in triumphes: neither tomuch haste in spede making, like wyldebraines" because one's distorted face and shortness of breath will lead to "a great presump-tion, that they haue no stayednesse." Marcus Tullius Ciceroes Thre Bokes of Duties to Marcus His Sonne, trans. Nicholas Grimalde (London, 1556), sig. Glv.
(53.) Wither, Choice of Emblemes, sig. Hlr, original italics.
(54.) Ibid., original italics.
(55.) Neil Carson, A Companion to Henslowe's Diary (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 59.
(56.) Ibid., 74; see also Andrew Gurr, Shakespearian Playing Companies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 84 and 101.
(57.) Carol Chillington Rutter, ed., Documents of the Rose Playhouse (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999), 28.
(58.) Ibid. Marchitello also makes an aside about the "enterprise of early modern theater and its machinery" as a rationale for Shakespeare's interest in speed ("Macbeth," 429).
(59.) Gurr, Shakespearian Playing Companies, 46.
(60.) Alan C. Dessen and Leslie Thomson, Dictionary of Stage Directions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), s.v., "hastily," "suddenly," "sweating," "panting," "out of breath," "hurry," "rush," "post," and "fly."
(61.) Andrew Gurr, "The Shakespearean Stage," in The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays, gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt (New York: Norton, 2009), 93. Evidence from an Evesham murder trial shows that some audiences directly took part in speed-making: "'a play ... cryed about the Towne, whereto both old and young did hasteley repaire.'" Quoted in Alan Somerset, "The Blackfriars on Tour: Provincial Analogies," in Inside Shakespeare: Essays on the Blackfriars Stage, ed. Paul Menzer (Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press, 2006), 82. Philip Stubbes observed similar behavior in 1583 in London, remarking on " 'the flocking and running to Theaters & curtens."' Quoted in Michael J. Hirrel, "Duration of Performances and Lengths of Plays: How Shall We Beguile the Lazy Time?" Shakespeare Quarterly 61, no. 2 (2010): 159-82, 161, doi:10.1353/shq.0.0140.
(62.) Gurr, "Shakespearean Stage," 92.
(63.) Hirrel, "Duration of Performances," 160-61; Bruce R. Smith, "E/loco/com/ motion," in From Script to Stage in Early Modern England, ed. Peter Holland and Stephen Orgel (Basingstroke, UK: Palgrave, 2004), 131.
(64.) Althea Smith Mattingly, "The Playing Time and Manner of Delivery of Shakespeare's Plays in the Elizabethan Theatre," Speech Monographs 21 (1954): 29-38, 37.
(65.) Renee Haynes, "Literary Speed Regulations," English: The Journal of the English Association 1, no. 4 (1936): 330-32, 330.
(66.) Thomas Hey wood, An Apology for Actors, ed. Richard H. Perkinson, facsimile (1612; New York: Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, 1941), sig. C4r, emphasis added.
(67.) Ibid., sig. B4r.
(68.) John Northbrooke, Spiritus est vicarius Christi in terra, 2nd ed. (London, 1577), sigs. I2r-I2v.
(69.) Edward Reynolds, A Treatise of the Passions (London, 1640), 22, as quoted in Smith, "E/loco/com/motion," 145.
(70.) Scott Manning Stevens, "Sacred Heart and Secular Brain," in The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern Europe, ed. Carla Mazzio and David Hillman (New York: Routledge, 1997), 271.
(71.) 1.1.76-77; 1.1.106. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes from Hamlet derive from Quarto 2 (Q2) (1604), from the Arden 3 edition, vol. 1. William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor, 2 vols., Arden Shakespeare, 3rd ser. (London: Arden, 2006). Hereafter citations appear parenthetically in-text with any differences noted from the 1623 First Folio (F1) and, occasionally, from the 1603 Quarto 1 (Q1), the latter considered by Paul Menzer a separate Hamlet project not for performance. The Hamlets: Cues, Qs, and Remembered Texts (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2008), 21. All F1 and Q1 citations come from the Arden 3 edition, vol. 2. On the importance of attention to early modern language describing felt experience, see Bruce R. Smith, Phenomenal Shakespeare (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 34; Laurie Johnson, John Sutton, and Evelyn Tribble, "Introduction: Re-cognising the Body-Mind in Shakespeare's Theatre," in Embodied Cognition and Shakespeare's Theatre: The Early Modern Body-Mind, ed. Laurie Johnson, John Sutton, and Evelyn Tribble (New York: Routledge, 2014), 5.
(72.) Spevack, Concordance, s.v. "speed"; "haste." For a discussion of the tragic ironies of untimely speed in Romeo and Juliet, see Brents Stirling, "They stumble that run fast," in Unity in Shakespearian Tragedy: The Interplay of Theme and Character (New York: Gordian, 1966), chap. 2.
(73.) OED, 2nd ed., s.v. "course, v.," 5a.
(74.) Peter Holland, " 'Travelling hopefully': The Dramatic Form of Journeys in English Renaissance Drama," in Travel and Drama in Shakespeare's Time, ed. Jean-Pierre Maquerlot and Michele Willems (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 160-61.
(75.) OED, 2nd ed., s.v. "presently."
(76.) Gary Scrimgeour, "The Messenger as a Dramatic Device in Shakespeare," Shakespeare Quarterly 19, no. 1 (1968); 41-54, 46, doi:10.2307/2867841.
(77.) John Russell Brown, Shakespeare and the Theatrical Event (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 27.
(78.) Ibid., 39, emphasis added.
(79.) Charles Mazel, Heave-Ho (New York: Routledge, 1995), i.
(81.) Brown, Theatrical Event, 58; see also Hapgood, "Shakespeare's Choreography," 140.
(82.) Raman asserts that abrupt action like this is not "the norm for most of the play" ("Hamlet in Motion," 136); but, in fact, there are several moments, noteworthy for their accelerations and for onstage audiences' reactions.
(83.) Brown, Theatrical Event, 115.
(84.) For further discussion of the failure of Gertrude's senses in this speech, see Raman, "Hamlet in Motion," 132.
(85.) Alexander Cowan and Jill Steward, introduction to The City and the Senses: Urban Culture Since 1500, ed. Alexander Cowan and Jill Steward (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2007), 9.
(86.) Robert Hapgood, introduction to Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 6-7; Claris Glick, "Hamlet in the English Theater: Acting Texts from Betterton (1676) to Olivier (1963)," Shakespeare Quarterly 20, no. 1 (1969): 17-35, 26 and 21, doi:10.2307/2868970.
(87.) OED, 2nd ed., s.v. "tardy."
(88.) Swapan Chakravorty, "A Note on 'Women Beware Women' II.iii.469-477," Notes and Queries 41, no. 4 (December 1994): 514, 514, Gale Expanded Academic ASAP (A16452749).
(89.) Quoted in Chakravorty, "A Note."
(90.) William Langham, The Garden of Health (London, 1597), s.v. "Wormewood."
(91.) Joseph Acosta from 1588, quoted in Samuel Purchas, Pvrchas His Pilgrimes in Five Bookes: The Third Part (London, 1625), sigs. 4G4v-4G5r.
(92.) The Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson, ed. M. Oppenheim (Colchester, UK: Navy Records Society, 1913), 3:434.
(93.) Thompson and Taylor, Hamlet, 1:310n175.
(94.) Thompson and Taylor, Hamlet: Menzer, The Hamlets; Zachary Lesser, Hamlet After Q1 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). For an excellent comparison of all three basic Hamlet texts, see Paul Bertram and Bernice W. Kliman, eds., The Three-Text Hamlet: Parallel Texts of the First and Second Quartos and First Folio (New York: AMS, 1991).
(95.) See, for example, Marchitello, "Macbeth," 430 and 435; and Stirling, "They stumble."
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2016|
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