Scene 17 Folio Differences

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This page shows the notable differences that appear in the First Folio publication of Hamlet as compared to the Second Quarto publication, in Scene 17, with analysis of those differences. These Folio Difference Notes are coordinated with the regular Notes on the Scene page.

For an introduction to this material, see the page About the Folio Differences.


... doe a [good] turne for them, ...

The F1 addition of good can be read in a way that adds meter to the line, however, the passage is not printed as iambic pentameter, and the lines can also be phrased as iambic pentameter without the word.

What the pirates want Hamlet to do is not actually "good," in the usual way of thinking. They want him to kill the King of Denmark.

Also, it's clear that the "turn" is supposed to be left mysterious. The addition of "good" diminishes that element of mystery, although only very slightly. The word "good" does not supply any improvement either in sentiment or information.

Then, the idea of a "good turn" is commonplace phrasing. It all leaves the F1 change questionable. I can't call the change authorial. It would have been too easy, in this case, for the F1 editor to presume a missing word, and supply it, himself.

{The Folio editor may have added the word "good" himself. It should probably be relegated to a note in future publications.}

{The word "good" should probably not be spoken in performance.}

Return: Scene 17#17-020

© 2014 Jeffrey Paul Jordan

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