(This blog is taking a leisurely stroll through Hamlet at the moment. If you like this kind of thing, please click on earlier posts. You'll also find links and comments about current events.)
The scene where Hamlet meets the ghost of his father pretty much seals the deal for the rest of the tragedy. The ghost told him something he had been wondering about anyway--"O my prophetic soul!" He promises revenge.
There's just one problem: Hamlet is Hamlet, meaning that he won't just run down from the battlements and whack Claudius. He'll agonize, doubt himself, doubt the veracity of the vision, and doubt his own sanity.
But he'll start by feigning madness. As he tells his friends,
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself—
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on—
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this head-shake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As “Well, well, we know,” or “We could, an if we would,”
Or “If we list to speak” or “There be, an if they might,”
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That you know aught of me; this is not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you,
Horatio, Bernardo and Marcellus swear, as the old mole of a ghost himself commands, and receive this thanks from Hamlet:
With all my love I do commend me to you;
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do to express his love and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lack. Let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint. O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
One wonders, however, how much of the madness was feigned. Aside from murder and family messes, he was already depressed to start with and would become moreso after Ophelia withdraws her affection and other events unfold.
That would probably be enough to give lots of folks an antic disposition.
LABOR. This past year should have been way better for labor unions than it was.
IF YOU CAN STOMACH IT, here's a little more health care hypocrisy.
AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT, health care profits have jumped through the roof.
THE WEIRDNESS OF WV COAL POLITICS made the NY Times again.
COULD CHICKEN MANURE save the world? If so, El Cabrero can hook y'all up.
LOVE, SEX, AND/OR MARRIAGE are all discussed in the latest edition of the Rev. Jim Lewis' Notes from Under the Fig Tree. Hamlet, of course, would say "get thee to a nunnery."
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED