Peter Gonnella, MD
The Editors welcome submissions for possible publication in the Letters section. Authors of letters should:
•Include no more than 300 words of text, three authors, and five references
•Type with double-spacing
•Send three copies of the letter, an authors' form signed by all authors, and a cover letter describing any conflicts of interest related to the contents of the letter.
Letters commenting on an Annals article will be considered if they are received within 6 weeks of the time the article was published. Only some of the letters received can be published. Published letters are edited and may be shortened; tables and figures are included only selectively. Authors will be notified that the letter has been received. If the letter is selected for publication, the author will be notified about 3 weeks before the publication date. Unpublished letters cannot be returned.
Annals welcomes electronically submitted letters.
Gonnella P. A Physician's Hamlet. Ann Intern Med. 1997;127:658. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-127-8_Part_1-199710150-00034
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(8_Part_1):658.
TO THE EDITOR:
I agree with Burnum  about Hamlet's relevance to our lives and clinical decision making, but I disagree with the characterization of Hamlet's inertia. Indeed, Hamlet spends most of the play vacillating, planning, and then failing to execute action. This does not represent confusion about the problems that need to be addressed, nor reluctance to “abandon … halcyon student days,” rather, it is a need to have to know for what motive.
It is unambiguously clear that the actions of Claudius demand redress: the murder of Hamlet's beloved father, regicide itself, the incestuous involvement of Hamlet's mother and Claudius, and the usurpation of Hamlet's claim to the throne. Hamlet's father's ghost's charge to “remember me,” with the result that his “commandment all alone shall live/Within the book and volume of (Hamlet's) brain,” reduces Hamlet to a mere appendage of his iconified father without purpose or existence of his own. Shakespeare confronts us with others of Hamlet's generation facing similar choices, all with bad outcomes. Laertes, avenging a murdered father, follows a path that culminates, by his own admission, in dying “by mine own treachery.” Ophelia has a psychotic break, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are likened to a sponge in Claudius's mouth to be chewed and swallowed, and Fortinbras is off destroying innocent lives for meaningless land grabs.
to gain full access to the content and tools.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only