Monday, January 27, 2014

To Be Or Not

We now depart from our regularly scheduled mommy blog to discuss the play I saw with my husband last night.  You gotta get intellectual now and then, or you lose the capacity.

I know it doesn't make sense to most people, but Hamlet is my absolute favorite Shakespeare play.  Not for the warm fuzzies, because there aren't any; not for the true love, because there isn't much of that, either.  No, what I love about Hamlet is the language.

So many of the most commonly-used Shakespearean phrases in our modern language come from Hamlet.  You really won't believe it, but Hamlet has the first recorded uses in English of :

The mind's eye
The witching hour
Giving more light than heat
To the manner born
A custom more honored in the breach than in the observance
Murder most foul
The time is out of joint
Though this be madness, yet there is method in it
Shuffled off this mortal coil
Hoisted by his own petard
To thine own self be true

But it's so much more than that.  Hamlet speaks to us, the audience, so frequently in this play.  His speeches are not monologues, they are soliloquies, as they are directed at the audience.  We are with him as he tries to figure out what he should do, whether he himself will be damned or pardoned for murdering his uncle, whether he should do the deed or simply kill himself.  More than any other Shakespeare play, we see inside the mind of the main character, and it is a mind at war with itself.

And yes, I know that everyone ends up dead (spoiler alert!) but I also love the friendship between Hamlet and Horatio. I enjoy a laugh at Polonius' expense, and I, like Hamlet, love to hear the actors recite, during the play within a play.  But really, I get lost, wrapped up in, consumed by the words.  And that, for me, is always an adventure worth having.

This guy played the lead role in the version we watched last night.  I kept thinking he looks like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory...

All dolled up for our Hamlet date!

No comments:

Post a Comment