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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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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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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oops! That should be Keith Donohue.

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