This is a curious analysis of Hamlet’s character. Especially by a man who sees him as an enemy. I mean, he is generous and he DOES fail to peruse the foils. But he is absolutely NOT free from all contriving. And surely Claudius knows this. Hamlet contrived to have the story of the murder of his father in front of the murderer. He contrived to escape a ship taking him to his death and not be spotted upon his return.
It is an extraordinary and interesting contradiction.
Hamlet doesn’t bother with a sign off. He doesn’t say “Yours truly” or “Sincerely” or “Til tomorrow” or “thine as thou usest him” or “Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine is to him” as he wrote to Ophelia or “He that thou knowest thine” as he wrote to Horatio. He’s just like, “Hamlet.” Not “Prince of Denmark” or “your nephew” or even “That guy you tried to have killed but failed to.”
I wonder what story Hamlet is planning on telling Claudius. Is it the pirate story? Or will he start with what he found in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s orders? Or will he start with, “So I know you killed my father…?”
In the end, he doesn’t really have time to recount all this stuff because their first re-encounter is over Ophelia’s dead body but I’m very curious about what Hamlet’s strategy would have been.
There’s a director I’ve worked with, who cannot stand sarcasm on stage.
If I ever made a sarcastic choice, it was instantly rejected. I get it. But…this line right here, is just bedecked in sarcasm. Of course it can’t be played that way because it’s Claudius, it’s not Hamlet. But Hamlet is surely being a total smart ass when he talks about Claudius’ kingly eyes and surely Claudius knows it, too.
It’s the kind of thing that won’t get you convicted of king-bashing but will make your feelings clear.
Also – smart-ass Hamlet is my favorite Hamlet.
While it is super much fun to imagine a Hamlet running around the kingdom in his birthday suit, it’s likely that the nakedness is more a reflection of vulnerability than actual nudity.
An actual nude Hamlet would suggest the antic Hamlet, the Hamlet who is still playing the crazy card – but a metaphorically naked Hamlet is likely without his usual princely protections.
I suspect that this also suggests that he is alone and therefore without any of Claudius’ spies. If the ruse is that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were protecting him on his trip to England, to be returned naked is to suggest that he’s returned without anyone controlling him or reporting on him.
Nakedness can also suggest a brand new start – a rebirth – a beginning again.
We use this phrase now, in exactly this word order. Is this line why? Is the natural connection of High and Mighty, only natural due to this play? Or were people calling each other High and Mighty before? Is this Hamlet being a little bit of a smart-ass even in addressing his letter?
Scholars: Weigh in!
This line is so much more romantic than any of the ones Hamlet gives to Ophelia. Not anything from his letter that we hear read. Not any of his flirty lines while watching the play.
There is a sense that, until she’s dead, Hamlet demonstrates no real love for her. He resents her, teases her, condescends to her, manipulates her and insults her.
But Horatio, he loves without hesitation. The real romance in this play is between Horatio and Hamlet.
When you read this, it will be obvious what number of Farewell this is. It will appear in the URL for this blog post. The count will happen automatically when I post this. But I’m not writing this in the blog software. I’m not even writing it on a computer. So I can only guess what number of farewell this is in the play. I suspect that it is #8. Not including all the farewells that are more than the single word. It’s just funny how something that will be so obvious when I post this is such a mystery as I write it.
Well – looks like I guessed entirely accurately!
He does, too. He hath MUCH to tell Horatio about those guys.
Now, when he does tell it – he actually doesn’t say a LOT – at least compared to how much Hamlet can talk. But what he does say is pretty potent.
So “much” can be quantitative or qualitative!
I have a LOT of questions about this pirate attack. I mean – the pirates boarded the ship that was going from Denmark to England. Hamlet hopped on board the pirate ship while the pirates were fighting with the Danes. Now – why would the pirates get on board the Danish ship, fight everyone on it and then leave the Danes to go on their merry way to England?
Like, if they got control of the ship to get on it, wouldn’t they take possession of it? Or kill some folks on board? I suppose they could have just taken all the goods but the most likely scenario seems to me to be that this entire pirate attack was a set up. How else would Hamlet know that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are holding their course to England? If he’s hiding out on a pirate ship – how would he know what the other ship is doing? We don’t get to see any of these pirates – but I would very much like to, I would watch a play about Hamlet and The Pirates.