"I felt rather confused..." ~ Jane Eyre
Teaching Hamlet is no easy task.
It's not the language, the structure, or the style. That is cake. The fault, dear Friends, is not in our Elsinore, but our characters in Elsinore.
Take Hamlet, for example. I am supposed to tell my students that he is a fallen hero? Hero? When? Let me tell you something, if my daddy's ghost came back to tell me to avenge his murder, I would be racing to my kitchen to grab my Henkles knife from my knifeblock.
Then we have the ever-fragile Ophelia. Again, if I knew my crazy ex-boyfriend (and there have been a few) killed my daddy, I would be once again racing to my kitchen instead of playing around with cooking herbs like rosemary.
Then we have Gertrude, the blond Danish Queen who can't figure out that her husband was murdered by her brother-in-law. Gertrude needs to head to CVS and get some hair coloring in the shade of "expresso." Maybe that will help her intelligence.
We know Claudius is the antagonist whose intelligence matches Gertrude, which is probably why they married. He had the opportunity to let Hamlet go back to Wittenburg at the beginning of the play and asked that Hamlet stay in Elsinore. Get out your Danish dictionary, friends, and look up the word "moron."
Polonius is a character that I have no issues with. He was written as a windbag, he is a windbag, and I accept him as a windbag. Still, he has the best lines of the play and therefore I do like him. To thine own self be true, as day follows night, thou shalt not be false to any man...
Too bad he didn't practice what he preached and ended up with a foil in his tummy.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are another pair of winners who are complete brown-nosed sellouts. If I were going to cast them in my version of Hamlet, they would be played by Ashton Kutcher and Nick Lachey.
Still, my favorite lines about love come from Hamlet. Hamlet writes a letter to Ophelia telling her how much he adores her. I have known these lines since I was a young girl...
Doubt thou the stars are fire,
doubt that the sun doth move,
doubt truth to be a liar,
but never doubt I love.
I suppose I shouldn't be too harsh on Hamlet. He is a lover, not a fighter. I like a man to be a little of both, since we all know I am a woman who is a bit of both, too.
Hope this took you down memory lane back to the corner of Senior year English and Shakespeare.
I wish you all a good evening. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest...
Reader, welcome to my life.
- Name: ThursdayNext
- Location: New York, United States