“To be or not to be. That is the question.” “To thine own self be true.”
These are the famous quotes from the play that I just read, 15 years late! Most people read Shakespeare in high school, because they’re forced to. I just like to torture myself and read it on a beautiful summer day…how fitting. Not really!
I did read a few works of Shakespeare during my high school English class but I never read Hamlet and it seems as though everywhere you turn there is a reference to the play and a mention as to it being worthy of reading in your lifetime. It is, after all, Shakespeare’s most popular play!
I’m happy to report that it was worth reading! And that it is only a commitment of 50 pages (Well, I have Shakespeare’s Complete Works which is a tome and therefore it is only 50 pages in this. 50 very large pages of very small print.
I can see the tragedy behind the play. Hamlet is mourning his Father, the King’s, death and is miffed that not even a month after the funeral his Mother marries his uncle, the newly established King. He is in love with Ophelia. He meets the ghost of his Father who tells him that he was poisoned by his brother while he slept. Hamlet decides he needs to avenge his Father’s death. And the tragedy begins…
He kills Ophelia’s Father, who is spying on Hamlet for the King. Ophelia loses her mind and drowns. The new King, his uncle invites Hamlet to talk to Ophelia’s brother, Laertes, who wants him dead. They meet to talk and the King has poisoned the sword meant to stab Hamlet and the cup of wine meant to be drunk by him. Instead the Queen drinks from the cup and dies. Laertes is stabbed by the poisoned sword, Hamlet is nicked by the poisoned sword, finds out that it is poisoned and stabs the King. And everybody dies.
And that’s it! Not much of an investment of time and not as labored a read as I would have expected from Shakespeare. Pretty straightforward and simple to decipher.