Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thoughts: Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Part 2)

They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance
in that. I will speak to this fellow. Whose
grave's this, sirrah?
First Clown
Mine, sir.
O, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in't.
First Clown
You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not
yours: for my part, I do not lie in't, and yet it is mine.
'Thou dost lie in't, to be in't and say it is thine:
'tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
First Clown
'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away gain, from me to
I finished reading Hamlet a couple of days ago, but, every time I try to write about it, I get stumped. I guess I was just scared because I liked Act I a lot, and I didn't think the following scenes could live up to it. I don't know. The whole play seemed BLEEEH to me after Act III.

Maybe because I didn't have anyone to root for. Frankly, Hamlet was an arschloch. He couldn't make up his mind, and he manipulated Ophelia to convince everyone he was batshit crazy. Ophelia, on other hand, was just crazy, so no... I couldn't root for her either. I liked Polonius A LOT, but he was killed off early in the play. I kind of liked Laertes, but he chickened out and apologized to Hamlet in the end. So BLAGH.

I did appreciate Shakespeare's humor, though, especially the wisecracking gravedigger. I also liked how it seemed that everyone had something to hide, and I had to be on my guard at all times. Shakespeare's characters were so human. Everyone had an agenda and a motive.

For a more coherent summary of Hamlet, check out this link: Hamlet in Facebook Statuses. I first came across the site before reading the play, and I didn't get it all. I read it again after finishing Hamlet and literally Laughed Out Loud.

I do look forward to reading something by Shakespeare again, probably a comedy with a bit of romance thrown in. I was interested in The Taming of the Shrew since one of my favorite movies of all time, Ten Things I Hate About You, is a modernized version of it, but I changed my mind after reading the summary--more than a little sexist, in my opinion. Much Ado About Nothing looks good.


Red said...

Sorry you weren't feeling the ending to Hamlet. But I'm glad to see you're not giving up on Shakespeare!

10 Things is pretty much the first couple acts of Shrew, but it stops before all of the psychological torture stuff starts. Much Ado is great, especially Beatrice and Benedick. A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It are 2 other strong comedies you should look into as well.

Read the Book said...

I second the suggestion of Midsummer Night's Dream. I have always had my most meaningful experiences when I have listened to the play while reading. I highly recommend the Arkangel Shakespeare audio series.

Zibilee said...

So, so impressed with your reading of Hamlet. I have not read any Shakespeare since high-school, and am afraid to try again because it doesn't seem accessible to me. I need to get over that fear and just go for it. I really want to read the Macbeth.

Zibilee said...

Heehee, the Macbeth. I am sure you know what I mean!

Brenna said...

The Taming of the Shrew is my favorite Shakespeare. Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night's Dream are also great.

Letter4no1 said...

Much Ado is easier on a modern audience, and it's still really really funny. Taming of the Shrew is good, but it gets kind of weird and you might end up having the same problem that you seemed to have with hamlet where you had no one to really route for.

Sam said...

I studied Hamlet for my English Literature and loved it, although The Tempest is my favourite Shakespeare.

Trisha said...

Much Ado is awesome and has a great movie version. I also really like A Midsummer Night's Dream which is just a ton of fun.

simplerpastimes said...

Much Ado About Nothing is probably my favorite Shakespeare, at least of the ones I'm familiar with. I'm partial to the comedies in general.

Jillian said...

I love that grave-digging scene! You've got to read Shakespeare's sonnets (if you haven't yet.) Some are as funny as the grave-scene. Try Sonnet 136. :-)


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