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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Reader's Diary #22- William Shakespeare: Hamlet (End of Act 2, Scene 1)

A better blogger than I would have no trouble getting clearer pictures. Oh well, I've no time to go fooling around with code and besides none of these book covers are of the copy I'm reading anyway. I'm actually reading it from The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Irrelevant.

So, Hamlet has met the ghost of his father, who is also named Hamlet. Growing up named after my own father, you'd think I'd find this less confusing. In a nutshell, Hamlet Sr. asks Hamlet Jr. to avenge his death by going after his murderer, Claudius. And though they can both agree that Mrs. Hamlet is a bit of a backstabbing tramp, Hamlet Jr. should not bother with her. At least this is what I think is going on. I might be off base, so I'd advise my readers (both of you) not to take what I'm saying as the Cliffs Notes Summary of Hamlet.

Meeting up with the ghost of his father who reveals that he had met with "a murder most foul" would be enough to consume anyone's thoughts I would think. Still, I find it bemusing that Hamlet still hasn't as much as mentioned Ophelia, who on the other hand, seems to be under the impression that she means so much more to him. I'll just have to keep on reading to see if her love was requited. At the end of Act 2, scene 1 Ophelia describes to her father a visit from Hamlet. This was shortly after Hamlet met with the ghost and of course, he is not quite himself. Ophelia doesn't know the circumstances (as we do) and thinks his odd behaviour is due to her rejection of him (on the advice of her father).

On the topic of Ophelia's father, Palonius, I had started to think I had been too harsh on my assessment of him as a bad parent. But then we see him telling his servant to follow his son Laertes to Paris and slander him. I can only assume that this is an effort to drive Laertes back to Denmark. We'll see. (Why is it that I can't shake the feeling that perhaps I've misread something horribly?)

So I know I've said little more this time than a plot outline, but I've very little thoughts on the story thus far. I'm a little unsure if I'm grasping things, but still I'm enjoying it. I liked the scenes with the ghost and found myself wondering what these must have been like to the audience way back in the day. They're not exactly spooky scenes by today's standards but back in the 1600s were they? Was this more of a supernatural thriller than a drama?

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