The one occassional time when I review a literary work. This play deserves more than a 5- word summary and a little thingy. Like…Hamlet is very VERY special for a few reasons:
- The one literary work by Shakespeare that I love (with the exception of The Taming of the Shrew) everything else I don’t like. In fact, I hate everything else with a passion.
- I’m in love with ALL the characters.
- I loved the message in the end.
- I like how the language contributed to the story too.
- THERE WAS A MESSAGE IN LITERALLY EVERYTHING!!
- The comic relief inserted in them wee like…”what??” but then when I re-read it I was all “OMGGGGG”
- I didn’t NOT like the misogyny. Is that weird? I’m a feminist, but the misogyny didn’t get to me too much.
So…HAMELT by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE! Don’t worry about spoilers because everything is pretty obvious. It’s a revenge tragedy…everyone dies. Literally, seriously.
The deep deep gist of it: Hamlet is the prince of Denmark who has gone to England (or France???) to study. He comes back to Denmark, after hearing of his father (Old Hamlet the king) has died, only to see that his Uncle (his father’s brother) has taken the throne for himself. Hamlet is more struck when he sees that his mother, the queen, has married his uncle. His disgust in “incest” is PRETTY OBVIOUS in the entire book. Almost everyone one of his asides has the reference to his aunt/mother/queen and his uncle/father/king. There’s this guy, Horatio who Hamlet is like…MAJOR BEST FRIENDS with and Horatio and these other 2 guards see a ghost but the ghost never talks. So they tell Hamlet because they think it’s his dad. Hamlet is totally down to talk to the ghost because he really thinks it’s his dad. BEFORE he talks to his dad, the whole “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” thing is already floating in his brain so when his dad says “let’s talk alone”, Hamlet quickly leaves his friends (with a small argument because they don’t want him to go out in the forest on his own at night with a creepy ghost who doesn’t talk at all) and talks to the ghost who tells him: Purgatory sucks. My brother/the now king/your uncle poisoned me in my garden and killed me. GET REVENGE (THE BIG THING). But don’t hurt your mother, she’s just too sweet. Leave her to be happy. (Of course Hamlet is like WHHHAAATTT MY MOTHER SHALL PAYYY but he tells the ghost okay). He’s all “I’LL GET YOUR REVENGE AS QUICK AS MY HEART BEATS LIKE REALLY QUICKLY LIKE NOW!”
We get that around THREE MONTHS LATER Hamlt hasn’t done it. He’s still “planning”. AND THERE’S ROMANCE TOO! Like he’s in love with this one 16 year old Ophelia (we get that Hamlet is at least 30 later in the play) and she loves him too. But her dad Polonius, who talks like…ALL THE TIME, and NEVER gets to the point, is a high ranking noble who understands that Hamlet isn’t the king (as he should be) anymore so Ophelia shouldn’t be with Hamlet. (I think because he thinks Ophelia will be a good mistress to Claudius, the uncle/brother/murderer/king). But Ophelia is all “but he hath showered me with the noblest of compliments and blah blah I love him dad” and her dad’s like NO. Ophelia is a classic renaissance lady so she’s loyal to only her father, Polonius. She can’t help it, that’s why Hamlet loves her. And she’s a woman. So she has to or she’ll be like…a bad woman. Anywho, Polonius is all “REJECT ALLLLLLL HIS LETTERS”. And Ophelia obeys so all the letters Hamlet sends her she sends back.
DEEP BREATH BECAUSE IT’S NOT NEAR OVER YET. THIS IS LIKE…ACT 2 LOL HAHA.
Of course Hamlet who is like…sooo in love is pretty sad. But for some reason he decides to pretend he’s crazy. And we get this whole APPEARANCE VS. REALITY MOTIF. And then he becomes super rude to Ophelia. Every chance he gets he calls her a ho because they’re the only two that know she’s not “pure” (he took her virginity). Like he tells her she belongs in a nunnery because she’s wrinkled and no guy will every love her (even though this idiot Hamlet gave her this really dramatic goodbye when he decided to start acting crazy). He insults her SOOOO MUCH we think it wasn’t even part of his pretend crazy madness. So there’s an addition to the MISOGYNY MOTIF.
So of course, Polonius who’s always sucking up to the king goes, “HE’S CRAZY BECAUSE HE’S IN LOVE WITH MY DAUGHTER!” (Which actually wasn’t so rare then. Guys would be so in love with girls they were sad to have gone into periods of depression and even died…) Because HIS DAUGHTER has played SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE, he immediate tells Claudius. (we haven’t even gotten to Fortinbras and his awesome leadership and thirst for war to take over Poland. *why do people not like Poland? I honestly do not know why. Like what has Poland EVER DONE to ANYONE? Please I really want to understand because I want to cry for that poor country. Like it’s so innocent and quiet and in pretty much every Euro war it gets taken over. Like…leave Poland alone).
Claudius, this smart, cunning, liar doesn’t believe it for a second. But of course he’s like, LETS SPY ON HAMLET AND FIND OUT. They get two of his old friends, Rosencrantz and Guildernstern (R and G) to befriend him and spy on him. Of course that doesn’t work because somehow (I think it was Horatio because the king trusts Horatio, we find out later, so Horatio probably knew and told Hamlet because I’m serious, these bros are tighter than…idk. But they’re like brothers) Hamlet finds out. At first he greets R and G with the utmost respect and friendliness and at first he’s all “awww tell me why you’re really here” and they don’t tell him. And in an aside Hamlet tells himself they have one more chance to tell him or else they are no friends of his. But when he’s all “okay no, now I’m really serious, who sent you” R and G don’t say. So there. They’re friendship is gone. Nor Hamlet talks to them formally like a king to his subjects. THEN R and G are like “yeeeeaaahhh the king told us to spy on you” but Hamlet is already done with them. D-O-N-E. DONE.
Things happen…and Claudius thinks Hamlet still isn’t crazy b/c Ophelia. He thinks Hamlet is pretending because there is “order to his madness”. *more deep breaths* NOW WE MEET LAERTES whom I absolutely love to the moon and back who is back from England (or France?!!?!?) ONLY because Claudius is king, not because Old Hamlet dies, lol (that should tell you where his loyalty really lies). And he asks to go back to France and Claudius is all “of course, of course” but when Hamlet asks he’s all “naaaahhhh” (cuz he wants to keep an eye on Hamlet. Before Laertes leaves we get the ONLY INTELLIGENT ADVICE TO EVER LEAVE POLONIUS’S MOUTH EVER. ALL THESE THINGS HE SHOULD NOT DO, TAKE A ADVANTAGE OFF, AND LOVE HIMSELF. This is where the whole “And above all else, to thine own self be true” quote comes from. Of course, after that he starts yapping again.
Imma take a break. See you in part 2 :p