Thursday, 11 October 2012

Hamlet by William Shakespeare [re-read] (4/5)

GoodReads says: "Hamlet" is the story of the Prince of Denmark who learns of the death of his father at the hands of his uncle, Claudius. Claudius murders Hamlet's father, his own brother, to take the throne of Denmark and to marry Hamlet's widowed mother. Hamlet is sunk into a state of great despair as a result of discovering the murder of his father and the infidelity of his mother. Hamlet is torn between his great sadness and his desire for the revenge of his father's murder

I say: I’ve had to read Hamlet for both of my literature courses within a week of each other, which was a breeze since I’ve read it quite a few times already.

Aside: back when I was a Shakespearean nerd I used to quote Hamlet (and Macbeth) all the time.

The annoying thing with having read, reviewed, written essays and analysed something as much and as deeply as I have Hamlet, is that it becomes increasingly difficult to write a simple review. I mean, I have just analysed why he doesn’t kill his uncle, whether or not he’s crazy, what his actions and inactions mean and what sort of person Hamlet really is, so I’m a bit Hamlet-ed out.

And I doubt anyone wants to read my essays.

Especially since they’re in Swedish.

Having said all that, every time I read Hamlet I seem to go from loving him to hating him to pitying him to wanting to slap him – it all depends on where I am in my life. This time around his brooding didn’t exasperate me at all (at times I refer to him as a whiny bitch) and it felt like we were on the same page. Yes, he does spend a lot of time pondering things, but he is contemplating murder after all, which is something one shouldn’t take too lightly.

Note: I am not condoning murder.

For the people who think that Hamlet is a bore, I wonder if they’ve missed the gravediggers. They are hilarious and always make me snigger. Moreover, ever since I read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard I cannot take either of them seriously. Nor can I help but feel extremely sorry for them. Yes, they were doing the king’s bidding, but I still think Hamlet was too harsh on them. However, he probably didn’t know how little they knew.

Either way, Hamlet is eternally stuck at a 4/5 because of that last scene, which never fails to piss me off. I mean, seriously, Shakespeare.

*shakes head*


  1. Is it what happens to everyone in the end that annoys you?

    I am a relative newbie to Shakespeare. Hamlet isn't one of my favourites (so far) but I did enjoy it. I did think he was quite whiny but I could see why he would be so didn't hold it against him at the time. Mind you I read this during my break. Had it been during term time I would have definitely been less patient.

    I like a character that changes how you see them depending on your mood.

    1. Yes. The first time I read it I hurled the book across the room (and it was a thick tome of all of his work). And even though I know what's coming, it always annoys me. It was such a convenient way of getting rid of everyone - artless.

      Hamlet is good for quotes and existentialist thinking - as is Macbeth (my fave). But I also love the comedies, esp Much Ado About Nothing. I could do without the King's plays cos they are rather heavy - I do like them, but it's hard work. I have to read Othello today and I have to analyse it and thus can't just breeze through the plot. I've only read it once, so here go hell come.

    2. I loved Macbeth too. Particularly Lady Macbeth. She amused me although she probably shouldn't have since she was quite a dark character.

      Good luck with Othello (haven't read that one).

    3. I remember your review, actually :) I've never liked Lady M - she just seemed so manipulative and cruel, while poor Macbeth had to take the fall for all of her actions. Not that he was innocent in anything, but he was rather dim.

      Also, I was sick the day before the seminar so I Wiki'd Othello, and then I had a fever for the seminar, so I was in bed all along. I'll have to make up for it this weekend, methinks (although I wrote an essay based on memory and wiki - shhhh).