Where’s your father?

Pronoun red flag! Hamlet’s been thee-ing and thou-ing in the entire passage before this and then suddenly it’s “Your father”? Why suddenly switch to the formal form? But this also raises the question of why “I did love YOU once” that happens before which is also in the formal.

Maybe that’s the standard when you break up with someone. Maybe it’s a distancing effect. Maybe you quit saying thee, along with you pet names, Maybe you replace “Pookie Bear” and “thee- “ in the event of a break-up.

But really – this shift in case, does demand that we pay attention to it. It might help point to a shift in tone, a shift in focus. Some productions have Polonius or Claudius make a little noise before this line – like cough or drop something. Something that stimulates a dramatic change of thought.

This happens particularly when the Hamlet begins to get a little bit violent or a little threatening or dangerous. There are Ophelias who look pleadingly in the direction she knows her father is in when Hamlet tells her to go her ways to a nunnery.

I’m sort of curious about what would happen if you really pushed the formality on this line. Like, something that felt like an executive sitting at his desk, his fingers steepled, while he asks you where your report is.


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