Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight, Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all, Or but a sickly part of one true sense Could not so mope.

Genius suggests that “mope” here means to be stupefied. The online etymology dictionary implies that it means to be apathetic and listless. I find myself not so sure how to interpret it – it feels to me that it’s more related to impairment. That her senses are more impaired by seeing without feeling or its opposite, hearing without tactile sense or just smelling. That’s the only sense you have. To smell. Which – you know – is PRETTY impaired. I’m not sure how long you’d survive with only a smelling sense.
And really, Hamlet, you DO exaggerate.
Which is interesting.

These lines are usually cut.
Most productions will go straight from apoplexed to “O, Shame, where is thy blush?”
Because this is a whole lot of exaggerated yammy yammy that Hamlet is saying here.
And it does, I imagine, help get him worked up – so caught up in his own exaggeration that he stops experiencing what’s happening in front of him and just gets caught up in a rant so extreme his father has to come back from the dead to check him.
There is a grand build in the rhythm of this line – in all these bits that are usually cut. The meaning might be tricky to get behind but the rhythm, oh, the rhythm!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.