March 01, 2010

A king may progress through the guts of a beggar

Goat Rope is meandering through Hamlet these days, although you'll also find links and comments about current events below if Shakespeare isn't your thing.

Things really start falling apart at the end of act 3. The play did indeed catch the conscience of the king but Hamlet bungled his attempt to whack him. Then follows a highly charged and kind of Freudian confrontation between Hamlet and his mother Gertrude, during which the former kills Polonius as he hid behind a tapestry, thinking him to be the king.

By this point, Hamlet seems to be beyond ordinary human empathy, merely telling his mother at the end of their meeting that he'll "lug the guts" to a neighbor room.

There follows an amazing exchange between Hamlet and his uncle Claudius about the murder of Polonius which is full of dark humor:

KING CLAUDIUS Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

HAMLET At supper.

KING CLAUDIUS At supper! where?

HAMLET Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain
convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your
worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all
creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for
maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but
variable service, two dishes, but to one table:
that's the end.


HAMLET A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a
king, and cat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.

KING CLAUDIUS What dost you mean by this?

HAMLET Nothing but to show you how a king may go a
progress through the guts of a beggar.

KING CLAUDIUS Where is Polonius?

HAMLET In heaven; send hither to see: if your messenger
find him not there, seek him i' the other place
yourself. But indeed, if you find him not within
this month, you shall nose him as you go up the
stairs into the lobby.

KING CLAUDIUS Go seek him there.

(To some Attendants)

HAMLET He will stay till ye come.

By now, Hamlet's feigned madness is getting kind of close to the real thing.

BUBBLES. Here's Paul Krugman on the need for real financial reform.

ARE THE VOTES THERE for comprehensive health care reform? Maybe.


SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. Exercise helps reduce anxiety among the chronically ill by 20 percent.

IF SPRINGTIME EVER COMES, here are several reasons to consider growing some of your own food.


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