Afterword: Sleepless Nights

  • John Allen Stevenson


Partridge has trouble sleeping. In the Page episode, the fear of sleeplessness haunts him. “I should never be able to lie alone afterwards,” he tells us in the very first words of his monologue, “if any Person was to be hanged upon my Evidence.” Frank, his friend and fellow witness, illustrates that such a fear is reasonable, “He was never in the dark alone, but he fancied his saw the Fellow’s Spirit.” As a result of the Hamlet excursion, Partridge is sentenced to his own spell of sleepless nights: “He durst not go to Bed all that Night, for Fear of the Ghost, and for many Nights after, sweated two or three Hours before he went to sleep.” Partridge is afraid of the ghosts that he might see, but that fear is grounded in what he has actually seen. His insomnia may be another comic sign of his enslavement by superstition, but it is also a reminder of his watchfulness. Tom’s servant sees things—an ambiguous phrase that nicely comprehends both his tendency to conjure spirits with his imagination alone, but also his unfiltered and horrified perceptions of what is really there.


Assure Ghost Ethos 


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© John Allen Stevenson 2005

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  • John Allen Stevenson

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