Lecture with Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca (Tochtli), Ph.D.

Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca portrait

Dr. Felipe de Ortego y GascaDr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca will give a lecture titled “The Stamp of One Defect: The Mystery of Memory in Shakespeare’s Hamlet” on Thursday, May 4, 2017, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM. This free event will occur at Western New Mexico University Light Hall Theater. There will be a meet and greet directly after the Lecture.

Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca is Scholar in Residence (Cultural Studies, critical Theory, Public Policy) at Western New Mexico University and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Cultural Studies, Texas State University System – Sul Ross.

For more than 400 years Hamlet has been one of the theater’s most successful plays. More has probably been written about Hamlet, the Prince, than about any other figure in literature, for the play is ostensibly enshrouded in a mystery of words about politics, theology, ideology, and morality in Denmark via 17th century Elizabethan England.

It is true that we cannot hope to know what Shakespeare knew or thought. But the moral truth that seems to emerge from Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1599-1602) is that man is oftentimes no more than “a pipe for Fortune’s finger to sound what stop she please.” Hamlet is a tormented man in conflict with Fate, Society, and himself, tortured by a nagging malady, “Some vicious mole of nature,” that breaks down the “pales and fortes of his reason.”

Elizabethan men of learning and intellectual curiosity no doubt pondered the phenomena of mental disorders. Cardan’s Comforte, a book of consolation traditionally associated with Hamlet, points out that a man is nothing but his mind: if the mind is discontented, the man is disquieted though the rest of him be well. Hamlet is such a man, disquieted and melancholic, suffering from the stamp of one defect: in his case, the impediment of lost memory—today identified as Alzheimer’s.

The lecture, drawn from Dr. Ortego’s work The Stamp of One Defect: A Study of Hamlet (Texas Western, 1966)—considered by Shakespearean Professor Haldeen Braddy as the most provocative work in a century of Hamlet studies—unravels that impediment of memory from clues explicit in the text of Hamlet.

This event is sponsored by the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, Western Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL), WNMU College of Arts and Sciences, and Office of Cultural Affairs. For more information about this event, call the Office of Cultural Affairs at 575-538-6469.

Select Bibliography on Shakespeare by Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, PhD (English)
British Renaissance Literature/Mexican American Literature

“Shakespeare and the Doctrine of Monarchy in King John,” College Language Association Journal 13, No. 4, 392-401, June 4, 1970.

  • This work is featured in the Folger Library’s King John Study Pack, 2015
  • Cited in “Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of King John” by Helen Hargest, in Finding Shakespeare: Curating stories from Shakespeare’s Work, Life, and Times, June 16, 2015.
  • Cited in e-notes.com, King John Essay—King John (Vol. 88): http://www.enotes.com/topics/king-john/critical-essays/king-john-vol-88

“The Winter’s Tale as Pastoral Tragicomic Romance,” Rendezvous: Journal of Liberal Arts, Spring 1970.

“Hamlet: The Stamp of One Defect,” Shakespeare in the Southwest: Some New Directions, Texas Western Press, 1969.


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