Something have you heard Of Hamlet’s transformation – so call it, Sith not th’exterior nor the inward man Resembles that it was.

From man to centaur
From centaur to dragon –
Did true transformation literally suggest
A dramatic change in the outward form,
Like a shift in species?
Claudius feels compelled to justify his use of “transformation” –
as if it were not common to describe a change in character this way.
Possibly. He is, on one hand, attempting to be delicate to not say Hamlet’s gone NUTS, CRAZY, MAD but on the other hand, he is indicating something even more dramatic than strange behavior – a change so extreme he has become a mollusk or a camel.
And how is Hamlet’s exterior transformed? Ophelia indicated some change in wardrobe but are a few clothes in disarray enough to suggest a total shift in his exterior? Perhaps. We do respond to signals as simple as this. I always think of this exhibit I saw at the Exploratorium in San Francisco years ago.
It was on memory and the exhibit took images of famous people and replaced their hair with either Elvis or Marilyn Monroe hairstyles. It was nearly impossible to recognize them. Which was, of course, the point, that our memories latch on to hair in a very significant way. Perhaps Hamlet’s transformation is just an extreme haircut?


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