Eyre Affairs

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"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...


Blogger Heather said...

This reminded me of this kickass English teacher I had in high school. The entire class got into Romeo and Juliet so much freshman year that we (the entire class) met up our Senior year and talked the play over one more time for fun... I still have the pictures.

We watched both of the important film versions, talked it out, read it aloud and defined every word Shakespeare used. I.loved.it.

Thanks for the Hamlet refresher!

4:05 PM  
Blogger Charlie Mc said...

I am a lover and I like being a bit fiesty.....

Oh, and I just looooooove reading.....haha

I'd much rather write.....

Look at Amester getting a bit sarcastic and amusing on the blog. Gertrude in CVS, racing for knives, Ashton Kutcher.....this is the Amester I adore...... :)

7:24 PM  
Blogger ThoughtsGalore said...

I love this!

You're sooo good sweetie! Thank you for turning on your comments. I can't wait to read this one, but I need to get my lovely daughters off to school and get my coffee into me. :)

I just love your blog! Ok, coffee and kids to school.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Pukk said...

Amy! I've agonized over how to comment on your Hamlet post (while also remaining apolitical, not anti-Clooney, and aspiring to be as lit-knowledgeable as you are, etc....). Given that, yes this might be tangential, but...

Tying into your theme of -
"racing to my kitchen to grab..." -
I suggest racing into one's kitchen to grab a nice, cold, creamy on the top, Guinness. Now, how would Ophelia fit in here? Well that could be material for an alternate plot ending for Hamlet. :)


I'm surprised the BBC actually served up a worthwhile read :)
Thank's to Blackfive blogger (cool blog btw) for the heads-up!

10:03 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Heather~I love that story about your English class. What part were you in R and J?

Chaz~I learned sacrasm from the best, and the best is YOU! Adoration right back at ya!

TG ~ Getting coffee is more important than reading my blog. I am serious. Don't let me ever impede that!

Pukk ~ I hope we get to drink a pint of G before you go off to get your tab. Oh for godsakes, you are as lit-knowledgeable as I am! Oh, and a better writer. I told you months ago you need to blog!

11:10 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I have a flair for the dramatic, so I wound up being Juliet...

I'm wondering if I should have pursued a career in acting... ;)

12:36 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

Nice blog you have here, Thursday!
I am reading Jane Eyre again just for fun...It's my favorite book ever (favorite character ever, too) and it's been too long since I read.
Your post here made me instantly feel like I was in Mrs. Huso's English class Senior year (where I also read Jane for the first time), sitting around the circle talking about Hamlet (also a favorite character).
Good stuff.

2:08 PM  
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