…aka Sh’s greatest creation: Hamlet.
Who doesn’t know Hamlet? His line is probably the most quoted and quotable on the planet, I’ll start you off: 2b…
Every actor wants to play Hamlet, read the poem here.
Every conspiracist can prove Hamlet was their man, showing him as their man.
Every critic owns the opinion on Hamlet. If you want the real skinny on Hammy, Steve Roth breaks it down here.
This Boxing Day the BBC showed RSC director Gregory Doran’s made for TV version. Dr Who played him this year on his crossover to Hollywood fame and fortune. Supported by Captain Jean Luc Picard doing a double of Claudius and Hamlet’s father. What is Hamlet’s father’s first name btw?
Now YLS loves Hamlet and intermittently tries to learn all his soliloquies just because. Ergo watching the play is to join in the longest role as if it’s a karaoke event. And I know I’m not alone in this.
But thinking too closely on Hamlet is like to drive one mad. The timeline (would to heaven Sh used the Unities on this one), his madness (feigned or no), Ophelia (weepy helpless victim or no), his father’s ghost (real or contrived. Catholic or Protestant), his mum’s behaviour (Royal slapper or dizzy alcofrolic), his age (angst-ridden teen or dithering thirty year old), Rozencrantz and Guildenstern (good mates or royal sponges), Horatio (who is this guy), etc etc.
What stood out this time through were several words like matter and custom. And the bird metaphors nestled in the Osric scene especially: chough, lapwing, sparrow.
Oh yes and the ironic parallel between Hamlet not killing Claudius while he was at prayer and Laertes assertion that he would be revenged on Hamlet, as his father’s son, and in deed undertake
‘to cut his throat i’ th’ church’.
To which Claudius replies:
‘No place indeed should murder sanctuarize; revenge should have no bounds.’
Lucky for him Hamlet scanned that thought.
All Hamlets’ are never the true Hamlet. There are always changes and cuts made in the text. And then again which text do we refer to? (don’t go there on an empty stomach).
The plot furtherance of posioned swords in a duel is talked of while Hamlet is on his way to be executed in England.
The stupidest thing Hamlet says in the play is
“what is the reason that you use me thus?”
when Laertes attacks him at Ophelia’s grave.
Duh! You killed his old man! Not to mention driving his sister to suicide! This is not a thought that has been quartered.
But no matter! Hamlet is Hamlet, and he is mad and sent into England where the men are as mad as he. Let be.