Interpretation of a Lacuna: Ambiguity

A lacuna can be defined as an unfilled space, a gap, a pause or in-between space. I interpret ambiguity – the quality of being open to more than one interpretation – to be an intriguing example of a lacuna. When something is ambiguous, it cannot be defined as one thing therefore exists as a gap in knowledge or perception.

An interesting example of lacuna specific to ambiguity is the transition from morning to afternoon and from one day to the next. Noon and midnight, ’12 P.M’ and ’12 A.M’, exist as the border between one thing and the next. A.M is an abbreviation of ‘ante-meridiem’ which translates to before noon. P.M stands for ‘post-meridiem’ which means after noon. Therefore how can noon be defined as before or after noon when they are neither? It is understandable that by labelling noon or midnight as either A.M or P.M a distinction can be made between the two times but it is inaccurate to do so as they are ambiguous times.

The witching hour is commonly believed to take place at midnight. At this time witches, demons and ghosts are believed to be active and practicing magic. While many believe that the witching hour takes place between 3am and 4am, there are more reports of paranormal activity recorded at midnight leading others to believe that this is the definitive witching time. Different communities in the world believe in different paranormal happenings at the time of the witching hour. Some communities believe that witches, sorcerers and other magic practitioners come out at this time as it is the time at which their magic is at its maximum strength. Other communities believe that the witching hour allows ghosts to roam between the realms of life and death. Demons and evil spirits which possess the hosts of animals and humans are believed by some to be most active during this time. Some believe that mediums have a stronger contact with the dead at this time.

The Three Witches of Macbeth: Prothetic claims an chanting.

When something is ambiguous, thinking it is defined in one way makes it so; “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Shakespeare 2. 2. 250-251). Shakespeare’s Hamlet written in 1603 explores the theme of ambiguity. In this play, Hamlet Prince of Denmark is in a perpetual state of ambivalence. After the murder of his father Hamlet wants to deliver justice but is uncertain as to who should be held responsible due to the lacuna in his knowledge. Prince Hamlet’s soliloquies express his uncertainty when discerning truth from falsity which leads him to be torn between action and inaction. The murder of the King – a position ordained by God – is a disruption of the natural order. It consequently throws the kingdom into a state of ambivalence and disruption. The following quote from Hamlet to his mother is one of the first moments when Hamlet unveils his suspicion of deception in the Kingdom.

“Seems madam? nay it is, I know not seems.
‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother…
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly…
I have within which passes show –
These but the trappings of suits of woe.” (Shakespeare 1.2.76-86)

In this quote, Hamlet identifies that the only truth is within and this is indiscernible as it is beyond sight. The outwards appearance of something does not denote the truth of it. In this scene, Hamlet has reason to question the authenticity of his mother’s grief. He is undecided on whether or not she had a part in the murder of his father and this is one of many points of ambiguity for Hamlet as he cannot discern the truth from fiction.


Bresler, K 2014, The Ambiguity of “12:00 A.M.” and “12:00 P.M.”, Clear Writing Co., viewed 26 March 2017, <;.

Shakespeare, W 1603, Hamlet, 3rd end, Cambridge University Press, England.


reference witches clip and…

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