Shakespeare everywhere

Last week I read The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by (hopefully you know) William Shakespeare. I did not expect to enjoy it so much. To be honest I am not a huge lover of narrative poetry and Shakespeare, but I think I am starting to love him!

In few, Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark grieved by his father’s death and his mother’s

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
A beautiful illustration of Ophelia by Sir John Gilbert

hasty marriage to his uncle (the late King’s brother). However, Hamlet becomes even more woebegone when he meets his father’s ghost, who tells him that the present king murdered his own brother, not even letting him pray and beg forgiveness for his sins, dooming Hamlet’s father to the torments of hell. The ghost departs, asking Hamlet to avenge his father. Here the exposition of the play ends, I would say.

The character of Hamlet is tragic— every actor’s dream role. Perhaps, too tragic, but Shakespeare manages to create an interesting persona through this man full of sorrows and anxiety.

My favourite scene, strangely, is when Hamlet does not kill the King, thinking that he is praying, and elaborating that killing the King now would send him to Heaven— a favour the murdered did not allow Hamlet’s father.

Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying;
And now I’ll do’t: — and so he goes to heaven;
And so am I reveng’d: — that would be scann’d:
A villain kills my father; and, for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.

Hamlet thinking about killing the King.
Illustration by Sir John Gilbert.

The language is, of course, exquisite and overly eloquent — in true Shakespeare fashion. I’d be flattering myself if I said that I understood all of it — only some. But through gradual practice and study of Shakespeare, my comprehension will improve.

Overall, I really liked this play and I wish I could see it performed, too. Or rather, I would I could see it perform’d: methinks it will be merry. 😀

Here’s my rating:

Yesterday, July 22nd, I went to Stratford to see my first Shakespearean play on stage— Henry V, as part of the Shakespeare Festival. The production was really well done: the costumes, the props, the actors — all were of brilliant quality. The performance was vivid and always driven forward — making me wait for the next scene. Seeing a Shakespearean play makes it more comprehensible, I was able to understand most of the context and humour.

Before Stratford, there is a small area (to call it a “town” would be too generous) called Shakespeare. And everything there was Shakespeare: Shakespeare Inn,  Shakespeare Church,  Shakespeare Pies,  Shakespeare Variety, and even  Shakespeare Truck Centre!  Shakespeare everywhere! (My mother, of course, was delighted)


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