Much Virtue in O-Oh: A Case Study
The ‘O, o, o, o’ that follows Hamlet’s ‘The rest is silence’ in Shakespeare's first folio has often been derided, but this signal is found in five other Shakespeare plays and in the words of dramatists as varied as Jonson, Middleton, Fletcher, Massinger, and Brome to indicate that a figure is dying, mortally wounded, or sick, or to generate a comic effect. Shakespeare was adept at using the tools at hand, but to understand his distinctive implementation of those tools requires a working knowledge of the theatrical vocabulary shared at that time by playwrights, players, and playgoers.
Shakespeare’s Plays in Quarto, ed. Michael J. B. Allen and Kenneth Muir (Berkeley, 1981).
Riverside edition, ed. G. Blakemore Evans (Boston, 1997).
Hamlet, ed. G. R. Hibbard, (Oxford, 1987), 352.
Hamlet Works http://triggs.djvu.org/global-language.com/ENFOLDED/index.php
E. A. J. Honigmann, ‘Re-enter the Stage Direction: Shakespeare and Some Contemporaries,’ Shakespeare Survey 29 (1976), 123.
Gary Taylor, Shakespeare Reshaped 1606-1623 (Oxford, 1993), 248.
Third Edition of Annals of English Drama 975-1700, ed. Alfred Harbage, rev. S. Schoenbaum, rev. Sylvia Stoler Wagonheim (London, 1989)
Alan C. Dessen and Leslie Thomson, A Dictionary of Stage Directions in English Drama (Cambridge, 1999).
Alan C. Dessen, Recovering Shakespeare’s Theatrical Vocabulary (Cambridge, 1995)
Terence Hawkes, That Shakespeherian Rag: essays on a critical process (London, 1986), 73-4.
Martin Coyle, “’O, o, o, o’: Hamlet Again” http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/ACUME/acumedvd/zone/research/essays/coyle.htm
Contributors to Early Theatre retain full copyright to their content. All published authors are required to grant a limited exclusive license to the journal. According to the terms of this license, authors agree that for one year following publication in Early Theatre, they will not publish their submission elsewhere in the same form, in any language, without the consent of the journal, and without acknowledgment of its initial publication in the journal thereafter.