Consummation is a word I have never heard in relation to anything else but sex and marriage or if not marriage, a relationship approximation of marriage. It’s probably a word like “commencement” – something that has come to really only mean one thing – when it has a broader meaning at its heart.
But let’s assume for a minute that Hamlet’s wished for consummation is of the sexual union variety. It would be a logical assumption – death and sex being already linked to each other poetically through the ages. To die – meaning to orgasm for many many cultures. Songs like “S’io ch’io vorrei morire” (*Yes, I would like to die) are embedded in these sorts of consummations.
So if we assume this consummation so devoutly wished is like a wedding night, who is the bride and who the bridegroom?
I guess I’m just trying to work out where this consummation stuff comes from – it seems like it might be a bit out of the blue. Although the word “Flesh” does come in the sentence before. Maybe that’s the trigger for thoughts of the consummation.
It’s just curious in this speech because while the language is very muscular and poetic, it isn’t particularly erotic. Or is it? I’m seeing this speech in a whole new way now. We’ve got bare bodkins, grunting and sweating, great pitch and moment, Ophelia’s orisons. We’ve all been reading this speech all wrong. It’s all about sex.
“Tis– a con·summation” (ABCABC) seems to be a line that I’d used in a dreadful tone for my opinions on bad combination of two things. “Devoutly ·to be wish’d” (ABCABC) is done in a sarcastic tone.
“Ay~~ ·there’s the rub” (AABC) is used when I wanted to say “I told you so” or “I didn’t heel my own warning”.
Hamlet was considering about option A (To be, natural tone which indicate to do nothing and follow orders) or option B (To beeeww, dreadful tone meaning to do what is righteous but the outlook is bad). Even at this first line, we know that the words used could mean differently depending on how the words are delivered.