I know that David Tennant's Hamlet isn't till July. And lots of people are going to be doing Dr Who in Hamlet jokes, so this is just me getting it out of the way early, to avoid the rush...To be, or not to be, that is the question. Weeelll.... More of A question really. Not THE question. Because, well, I mean, there are billions and billions of questions out there, and well, when I say billions, I mean, when you add in the answers, not just the questions, weeelll, you're looking at numbers that are positively astronomical and... for that matter the other question is what you lot are doing on this planet in the first place, and er, did anyone try just pushing this little red button?
It was one of those cases where you approve the broad, general principle of an idea but can't help being in a bit of a twitter at the prospect of putting it into practical effect. I explained this to Jeeves, and he said much the same thing had bothered Hamlet.
You can't just skip the boring parts.Of course I can skip the boring parts.How do you know they're boring if you don't read them?I can tell.Then you can't say you've read the whole play.I think I can live a happy life, Meryl Lee, even if I don't read the boring parts of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.Who knows? she said. Maybe you can't.
ROSENCRANTZ My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us to the king.HAMLET The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body. The king is a thing -GUILDENSTERN A thing my lord?HAMLET Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after!
HAMLET I will receive it sir with all diligence of spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use, 'tis for the head.OSRIC I thank you lordship, it is very hot.HAMLET No believe me, 'tis very cold, the wind is northerly.OSRIC It is indifferent cold my lord, indeed.HAMLET But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.OSRIC Exceedingly my lord, it is very sultry, as 'twere - I cannot tell how. But my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that a has laid a great wager on your head. Sir, this is the matter -HAMLET I beseech you remember.(Hamlet moves him to put on his hat)
POLONIUS My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.HAMLET Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?POLONIUS By th'mass, and 'tis like a camel indeed.HAMLET Methinks it is like a weasel.POLONIUS It is backed like a weasel.HAMLET Or like a whale?POLONIUS Very like a whale.HAMLET Then I will come to my mother by and by. - They fool me to the top of my bent. - I will come by and by.
The study of mathematics is apt to commence in disappointment... We are told that by its aid the stars are weighed and the billions of molecules in a drop of water are counted. Yet, like the ghost of Hamlet's father, this great science eludes the efforts of our mental weapons to grasp it.
I could a tale unfold whose lightest wordWould harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,Thy knotted and combined locks to part,And each particular hair to stand on endLike quills upon the fretful porpentine.But this eternal blazon must not beTo ears of flesh and blood.List, list, O list!
GUIL: It [Hamlet's madness] really boils down to symptoms. Pregnant replies, mystic allusions, mistaken identities, arguing his father is his mother, that sort of thing; intimations of suicide, forgoing of exercise, loss of mirth, hints of claustrophobia not to say delusions of imprisonment; invocations of camels, chameleons, capons, whales, weasels, hawks, handsaws -- riddles, quibbles and evasions; amnesia, paranoia, myopia; day-dreaming, hallucinations; stabbing his elders, abusing his parents, insulting his lover, and appearing hatless in public -- knock-kneed, droop-stockinged and sighing like a love-sick schoolboy, which at his age is coming on a bit strong.ROS: And talking to himself.GUIL: And talking to himself.
Pretend to be mad and talk a lot. Then — and this is the important bit — do nothing at all until you absolutely have to and then make sure everyone dies.
To every corner of the planet, to the young and old, to all humanity. I see your beauty. I really do.
Her gaze wavered towards one of the books on the sales counter beside the register, a hardcover copy of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with many of the pages dog-eared and stained with coffee and tea. The store owner caught her looking at it and slid it across the counter towards her. “You ever read Hamlet?” he questioned.“I tried to when I was in high school,” said Mandy, picking up the book and flipping it over to read the back. “I mean, it’s expected that everyone should like Shakespeare’s books and plays, but I just….” her words faltered when she noticed him laughing to himself. “What’s so funny, Sir?” she added, slightly offended.“…Oh, I’m not laughing at you, just with you,” said the store owner. “Most people who say they love Shakespeare only pretend to love his work. You’re honest Ma’am, that’s all. You see, the reason you and so many others are put-off by reading Shakespeare is because reading his words on paper, and seeing his words in action, in a play as they were meant to be seen, are two separate things… and if you can find a way to relate his plays to yourself, you’ll enjoy them so much more because you’ll feel connected to them. Take Hamlet for example – Hamlet himself is grieving over a loss in his life, and everyone is telling him to move on but no matter how hard he tries to, in the end all he can do is to get even with the ones who betrayed him.”“…Wow, when you put it that way… sure, I think I’ll buy a copy just to try reading, why not?” Mandy replied with a smile.
Doing nothing was as honourable as any available course of action. Think of Hamlet, think of Job, think of Jesus before Pilate.
In fact a favourite problem of [John Tyndall] is—Given the molecular forces in a mutton chop, deduce Hamlet or Faust therefrom. He is confident that the Physics of the Future will solve this easily.
Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord? Hamlet: Words, words, words. Lord Polonius: What is the matter, my lord? Hamlet: Between who? Lord Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Imagine the same scene in HAMLET if Pullman had written it. Hamlet, using a mystic pearl, places the poison in the cup to kill Claudius. We are all told Claudius will die by drinking the cup. Then Claudius dies choking on a chicken bone at lunch. Then the Queen dies when Horatio shows her the magical Mirror of Death. This mirror appears in no previous scene, nor is it explained why it exists. Then Ophelia summons up the Ghost from Act One and kills it, while she makes a speech denouncing the evils of religion. Ophelia and Hamlet are parted, as it is revealed in the last act that a curse will befall them if they do not part ways.
As Hamlet said to Ophelia, ”God has given you one face, and you make yourself another. The battle between these two halves of identity...Who we are and who we pretend to be, is unwinnable. Just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every person. One that we reveal to the world and another we keep hidden inside. A duality governed by the balance of light and darkness, within each of us is the capacity for both good and evil. But those who are able to blur the moral dividing line hold the true power.
Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a specialprovidence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will benow; if it be not now, yet it will come: thereadiness is all.
Ivanov: No, my clever young thing, it's not a question of romance. I say as before God that I will endure everything - depression and mental illness and ruin and the loss of my wife and premature old age and loneliness - but I cannot tolerate, cannot endure being ridiculous in my own eyes. I'm dying of shame at the thought that I, a healthy, strong man, have turned into some sort of Hamlet or Manfred, some sort of 'superfluous man'... devil knows precisely what! There are pitiful people who are flattered by being called Hamlet or superfluous men, but for me it's a disgrace! It stirs up my pride, I'm overcome by shame and I suffer...
No I am not Prince Hamlet nor was meant to be Am an attendant lord one that will do To swell a progress start a scene or two Advise the prince no doubt an easy tool Deferential glad to be of use Politic cautious and meticulous Full of high sentence but a bit obtuse At times indeed almost ridiculous— Almost at times the Fool. I grow old … I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. Shall I part my hair behind Do I dare to eat a peach I shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me. I have seen them riding seaward on the waves Combing the white hair of the waves blown back When the wind blows the water white and black. We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us and we drown.
...imagine anybody having lived forty-five or fifty years without knowing Hamlet! One might as well spend one's life in a coal mine.
I do believe you think what now you speak,But what we do determine oft we break.Purpose is but the slave to memory,Of violent birth, but poor validity,Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.Most necessary ’tis that we forgetTo pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.What to ourselves in passion we propose,The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
To die, to sleep - To sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub,For in this sleep of death what dreams may come...
We defy augury. There is special providence inthe fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not tocome, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—thereadiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is'tto leave betimes, let be. (Hamlet 5.2.217-224)
Hamlet promised himself he’d throw down afterward, but I think perhaps when he said, “From this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!” the limits of blank verse weakened his resolve somehow. If he’d been free to follow the dictates of his conscience rather than the pen of Shakespeare, perhaps he would have abandoned verse altogether, like me, and contented himself with this instead: “Bring it, muthafuckas. Bring it.
Act – make an event. Smash the coordinates and see where the smithereens fly. Let in the madness, and be sure to be a danger to oneself and others. Too much thinking turns you into that fool Hamlet.
I am haunted by the ghost of my father, I think that should allow me to quote Hamlet as much as I please.
This goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
To be, or not to be: that is the question. That’s from Hamlet’s - maybe Shakespeare’s - most famous soliloquy. […] But what if Shakespeare - and Hamlet - were asking the wrong question? What if the real question is not whether to be, but how to be?