Thursday, March 24

to be, or not to be

My second post on this blog was about Shakespeare.
That lovely obsession sometimes lies dormant, only to rise up with intensity when I am reminded of it.

Because of this deep love of Shakespeare, it's safe to say that I love his Hamlet.
In my opinion, he is quite arguably the best tragic character ever written.
(Joey says that it's Batman, but I disagree. Shakespeare is as good as it gets as far as tragic figures go. No one else can even come close. 400 years has proved this.)

But with over 70 different film or tv interpretations (or so IMDB tells me) how am I to choose my favorite?
I have seen quite a few.
The basics-- Mel Gibson, Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh.
The not so common-- Campbell Scott, Michal Czernecki.
But when I saw that David Tennant and Patrick Stewart did one last year, how could I resist?

And, of course, it is now my favorite.
Because Patrick Stewart makes me want to believe that Claudius is good, that he is not what Hamlet and the ghost suggest he is.
Because David Tennant's Hamlet is entirely and apologetically and utterly convincingly mad, without guilt or explanation, yet I still question whether he is or not. Naughty but so sweet that you want to forgive everything he does. I feel what he's feeling and am convinced that he is in the right, while knowing that his methods are sometimes immoral.
Because I cannot figure out Gertrude! What does she really believe? Why doesn't she understand her son? Why does she alienate him so? Her feelings seem genuine enough. Why do I believe her, but hate her, too?
Because Polonius is so annoying, but you still feel sorrow for his death.
Ophelia is the only one that is not what I would have her be. I love her in the beginning, but her madness is not a convincing transition from her cheerful state in the beginning. But then, I don't know if I shall ever understand Ophelia.

Shakespeare is always lovely to read, but his works were meant to be played.
And the Royal Shakespeare Company reminds me of this.

You doubt?
Let me convince you.


  1. ooooooohhhhh.
    I'm definitely looking this up and watching it tonight. Thanks!

  2. I understand Ophelia...she is one of those to whom it is or it is not. The sun is shining, or its cloudy and everything is gloomy. Her levity, which transitions quickly into a dark abyss is entirely consistent with her character. Just so you know, at least someone "gets" her :D

    And I love that you love Shakespeare. Favorite. Author. Period.


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