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HAMLET April 23, 2012

Posted by anagasto in drawing, history, poetry.
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Hamlet was at a university in Germany when he was urgently called back home to Elsinore.

His royal father had suddenly died and his mother had already married again. Hamlet was shocked.

Elsinore castle was full of rumours.

Around midnight on the tower platform a ghost looking like the dead king appeared to Hamlet and said that he had been murdered by his wife’s second husband. Hamlet promised revenge. —

Elsinore castle is in fact Helsingoer Kronburg in Denmark :

800px-Elsinore castle Hamlet
Photo released into public domain by Fiskfisk at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Helsingoer_Kronborg_Castle.jpg

>>> >> Versión en español → →http://anagasto.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/hamlet/.

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Hamlet meets the ghost of his dead father

© ghD

Sketches on a blackboard by hgD:  Hamlet on the tower platform watching the distant ghost and then meeting him.

Below, the same scene by Henry Fuseli: Hamlet meets his dead father on the watch tower platform..

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From then on Hamlet acted as if deprived of reason, kept saying strange things, was insulting towards his mother and sneered at the girl he once loved. Her name was Ophelia.

He understood that everybody lied to him. He tried to get back at them without letting them see what he knew. And he kept wondering what his real duty was.

Privately he asked some actors to improvise a play where somebody kills a king to marry the queen. He thought that the king’s reaction to the play would prove his guilt.

The shocking public performance brings the drama to a head : Hamlet kills Ophelia’s father who spied on him; Ophelia is demented and kills herself; and the curtain falls on Hamlet and Hamlet’s mother, all dead or dying.

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Hamlet is lying on the floor, because this was a private performance and he  felt more comfortable that way.. The man behind Ophelia would be Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend. Hamlet has asked him to help him watch the King for signs of guilt during the performance.

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Ophelia’s death has always received a lot of romantic attention from painters and even from some photographers:

Waterhouse Ophelia 22 …..Waterhouse Ophelia

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alexander cabanel ….Ophelia by Waterhouse

Ophelia drowning by JohnW. Waterhouse

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photo of Ophelia death … …?? To the right, are those roaches?

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. Ophelia drowning by Sir John Everett Millais

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dylan hard rain

Bob Dylan also rhymed something up for her in his “Desolation Row”. The photo is not as recent as the poetry:

Now Ophelia, she is at the window,
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid

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The film was made in 1996 directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars in the title role as Prince Hamlet. It is set in the 19th century, and uses Blenheim Palace for exterior scenes.

It co-stars Derek Jacobi as King Claudius, Julie Christie as Queen Gertrude, and

140px-katewinslet06tiff

Kate Winslet as Ophelia.

The complete cast is at http://tinyurl.com/bklhfw, but the JPEG is dark.

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Shakespeare’s best known verses, “To be or not to be” show Hamlet talking to himself and asking about the meaning of life. He thinks there isn’t any, but considers that suicide is not an option either because everyone fears  death.

To be or not to be soliloquy + modern English summary reproduced in GIF:

to be or not to be

Hamlet: To be or not to be Word.doc

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© ghD

Mark Twain’s parody of Shakespeare’s To be or not to be soliloquy: a parody is a funny imitation similar to a cartoon but made of words

mark-twain-to-be-or-not

Shakespeare’s plays are free online

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macbeth in trouble

Macbeth is the greatest to read. It is short and follows a straight line from the beginning to the end. The characters are simple.

By comparison, Hamlet is long and complex, meandering, going back on itself, reflecting the hero’s tortured awareness of conflicting ethics.

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William Blake’s Hamlet speaking to his dead father:

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Quoting Ed Friedlander, MD:

→ → “Hamlet” is the first work of literature to look squarely at the stupidity, falsity and sham of everyday life without laughing. (It means that before that it did not occur to anyone to publicly show doubts about religion and ethics.)

→ → “Hamlet” is the first work of literature to show an ordinary person looking at the futility and wrongs in life, asking the toughest questions and coming up with honest semi-answers like most people do today.

Quoted from Ed Friedlander’s analysis of the play at http://www.pathguy.com/hamlet.htm    erf@kcumb.edu

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Comments»

1. Anna - March 16, 2011

i love Hamlet it’s the absolute best play out there!

cantueso - March 18, 2011

……except Macbeth :-)


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