February 16, 2010

Would you were so honest a man

Was Hamlet crazy for love?

Goat Rope's meander through Hamlet continues, although if you've had enough of that you can scroll on down to the links and comments section.

As I mentioned yesterday, Polonius, father of Laertes and Ophelia and advisor to Claudius, is a twit. That is to say he is the Platonic form of twitness incarnate. He is at his twitty best (or worst) when he is caught up in his own verbiage.

One of the most amusing/irritating examples of this is when he tries to tell Claudius and Gertrude that he thinks Hamlet has gone mad through love of Ophelia. The scene occurs after diplomats have returned from Norway with news of an averted war:

This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

You can't blame Gertude for asking for more matter with less art. But Polonius is just getting warmed up:

Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause...

It doesn't get much better when he tries to engage the apparently mad Hamlet in conversation. Here's just a bit:

LORD POLONIUS: Do you know me, my lord?

HAMLET: Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.

LORD POLONIUS: Not I, my lord.

HAMLET: Then I would you were so honest a man.

In homage to this exchange, we take it as an article of faith at Goat Rope Farm that people who sell fish are paragons of veracity.

SNOW WHAT? Here's a little reminder that snow and global warming can go hand in hand.

GIRL POWER. New studies indicate that team sports bring lasting benefits to girls.

I PREFER COFFEE. Here's an interesting description of the recent TEA Party conference.

ANCIENT MARINERS (MINUS ALBATROSS). Archaeological evidence in Crete suggests that early humans or related species took to sea as early as 130,000 years ago.


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