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Hamlet: "The indifferent children of the earth"I'm reading the book The Stolen Child by...

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 22, 2008 at 12:13 PM via web

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Hamlet: "The indifferent children of the earth"

I'm reading the book The Stolen Child by Kevin Donohue. It's about a boy who is replaced by a changeling at the age of 7. The human boy becomes a hobgoblin while the changeling lives his life.

In one scene, the hobgoblin boy and his friend, Speck, are reading books together. Speck says to him:

"Listen to this, Aniday. I'm reading Hamlet hre and these two fellows come in. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet greets them: 'Good lads, how do ye both?' And Rosencrantz says, 'As the indifferent children of the earth.'"

A few paragraphs later, Aniday thinks to himself: "The indifferent children around me did not share my enthusiasm for the written word."

Donohue is describing the hobgoblins as being indifferent to the world of humans. What do you think Shakespeare meant?

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 22, 2008 at 12:16 PM (Answer #2)

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oops! That should be Keith Donohue.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 22, 2008 at 4:21 PM (Answer #3)

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Hamlet is in his "crazy" mode here...however, I don't think Rosencrantz (or Shakespeare) meant anything other than the fact that he is in Elsinore simply because he's been told to come.  He is indifferent to the entire thing, to being there to finding out the reason Hamlet's acting strange, to "sucking up" to the royal family.  He is one of the "indifferent children of the earth".

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 23, 2008 at 7:58 PM (Answer #4)

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Hamlet: "The indifferent children of the earth"

I'm reading the book The Stolen Child by Kevin Donohue. It's about a boy who is replaced by a changeling at the age of 7. The human boy becomes a hobgoblin while the changeling lives his life.

In one scene, the hobgoblin boy and his friend, Speck, are reading books together. Speck says to him:

"Listen to this, Aniday. I'm reading Hamlet hre and these two fellows come in. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet greets them: 'Good lads, how do ye both?' And Rosencrantz says, 'As the indifferent children of the earth.'"

A few paragraphs later, Aniday thinks to himself: "The indifferent children around me did not share my enthusiasm for the written word."

Donohue is describing the hobgoblins as being indifferent to the world of humans. What do you think Shakespeare meant?

   I address this issue in Lesson 14:  Titans and Prisons:

 Rosencratz, still uncomfortable with his role in the betrayal, responds to Hamlet’s overly hearty greeting, “Good, lads, how do you both?” with, “As the indifferent children of the earth”  (2.2.24).  This cryptic remark seems to underscore two things.  First, the allusion to “the children of the earth” would subtly show Rosencratz own university education and his knowledge of Greek mythology.  In the myth of Titan, a race of giants are called “the children of the earth” and these often unruly children were “considered the personification of the forces of nature.”   Like a plaything of these overgrown children, Rosencratz believes that he is powerless, at the whim  of the forces of nature, the king and the queen.  (Click here for my lesson on Rosencratz and Guildenstern’s roles in the deception.)

You can read the entire lesson at:

http://blogs.enotes.com/literature-101/2008-02/lesson-14-titans-and-prisons/ 

 

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ellenmlittle | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 26, 2009 at 2:36 PM (Answer #5)

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Hamlet: "The indifferent children of the earth"

I'm reading the book The Stolen Child by Kevin Donohue. It's about a boy who is replaced by a changeling at the age of 7. The human boy becomes a hobgoblin while the changeling lives his life.

In one scene, the hobgoblin boy and his friend, Speck, are reading books together. Speck says to him:

"Listen to this, Aniday. I'm reading Hamlet hre and these two fellows come in. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet greets them: 'Good lads, how do ye both?' And Rosencrantz says, 'As the indifferent children of the earth.'"

A few paragraphs later, Aniday thinks to himself: "The indifferent children around me did not share my enthusiasm for the written word."

Donohue is describing the hobgoblins as being indifferent to the world of humans. What do you think Shakespeare meant?

   I address this issue in Lesson 14:  Titans and Prisons:

 Rosencratz, still uncomfortable with his role in the betrayal, responds to Hamlet’s overly hearty greeting, “Good, lads, how do you both?” with, “As the indifferent children of the earth”  (2.2.24).  This cryptic remark seems to underscore two things.  First, the allusion to “the children of the earth” would subtly show Rosencratz own university education and his knowledge of Greek mythology.  In the myth of Titan, a race of giants are called “the children of the earth” and these often unruly children were “considered the personification of the forces of nature.”   Like a plaything of these overgrown children, Rosencratz believes that he is powerless, at the whim  of the forces of nature, the king and the queen.  (Click here for my lesson on Rosencratz and Guildenstern’s roles in the deception.)

You can read the entire lesson at:

http://blogs.enotes.com/literature-101/2008-02/lesson-14-titans-and-prisons/ 

 

I like the "children of the earth"-titan allusion, but why would Rosencrantz consider himself one of the playthings of these 'children'? If we were to literally interpret this with the Titan allusion, then Rosencrantz would be calling himself a titan, not a plaything. ("As the indifferent Titan").

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watershadow | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 23, 2010 at 9:07 AM (Answer #6)

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Certainly the Titans, being the "personification of the forces of nature" were, by nature (no pun intended) indifferent, going about their own way with no regard for the needs and wants of men. Shakespeare may have been referring to the Titans, or more simply to animals, seas, storms, trees, etc. as "indifferent chldren of the earth".  I agree that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern may have wished to appear nuetral, but also perhaps intimate that something was a foot.

I am reading The Stolen Child as well, and very much enjoying it!

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