Miles and Hamlet - No major spoilers (was Re: More on Martha Wells)

Ven vendersleighc at
Sat Jul 12 09:53:03 EDT 2003

Hallie, commenting on Miles and Hamlet wrote 
<A critic wrote that Hamlet was at once the 
funniest and the saddest 
of Shakespeare's tragic heroes, and I agree about

Hamlet, and think I 
feel that way about Miles to an extent.  Lots of 
others may not share 
this feeling, and I'm not even sure myself how 
much of my response 
has to do with beginning the books with _Memory_.

Obviously Miles made all his own trouble there,
but I still felt his misery very 
strongly, as I felt for Hamlet's.   Maybe if 
Horatio had just dumped Hamlet in a bath and
poured ice over him he'd have got out of 
Elsinore and gone off to found a mercenary
army?......... snip
.................... And - not that 
she ever *would*, but I shudder to think how 
Miles would have reacted 
if his father had died and Cordelia had married a

man who turned out 
to be his killer, within two months of Aral's 
death! >

Interesting. I too was puzzled over the Hamlet
Miles comparison. I don't know Hamlet very well,
in fact Hallie, now that I've seen your reasoning
I feel I know him a lot better! However while I
was musing on the subject I had decided you must
mean Memory for a different reason. I was
thinking of Simon Illyan as representing the
"dead" father (he is sort of around as his own
ghost) and thus Spoiler as a combination of
Gertrude and Claudius. Simon has also stood in as
surrogate father in some respects for Gregor and
Ivan (who are both involved in the operation to
find and deal with Spoiler) and, as they are both
the only sons of  murdered fathers the  Hamlet
theme is particularly apposite for them too. Of
course  in Gregor's case that father is unavenged
and, well, there are some pretty ramifications in
that! As for Ivan  in Memory he is confronted
with his mother finally finding herself a new

I'm straining my knowledge of Hamlet, but I seem
to remember a late scene between Gertrude and
Hamlet where she is trying to get him to accept
the status quo and behaving in a kind of
seductive manner (but this may have been the
actors' reading of the scene) which reminds me of
when Spoiler tempts Miles. And yes a bath of icy
water might have done Hamlet some good.


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