Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew and dog will have his day.

And that, my friends, is an EXIT line.
I mean. Just – classic, perfect exit line. A bold assertion! A strong declarative that suggests a future! And I’m off!

I wonder what the dog’s day would be like, though.
I mean – most dogs, their ideal day would involve running around, playing catch, chewing on some bones, maybe rolling in some mud and just generally having a fabulous time.
It’s possible, sure, that the killer dogs might enjoy killing a rabbit or something. But I don’t really know dogs like that.

Cats will mew, though, for sure.
No matter what Hercules says.

But it is no matter.

Someone dear to me will often say, “it doesn’t matter” when I express sympathy for something that has gone awry in his day. And then it is a very short journey from “it doesn’t matter” to “nothing matters.”
I believe this is one of the language tells of someone who is depressed. Someone wrestling with depression is much more likely to say something like this than someone who does not wrestle with the dark fog.
There are other phrases as well – and they tend to group under a self-oriented negativity. They use more I centered words and blame themselves for everything.
I say they – though surely I have had my own depressive periods wherein all this was true for me as well.

I loved you ever.

It would be such a long list if I tried to sum up all the people I ever loved. It would cover pages and pages. I find myself suddenly quite comforted by that fact. Sometimes, the world seems dark and unfriendly – particularly when the news is so dire. But – to think of trying to list every person I ever loved is more overwhelming even than the current horrors. I have been lucky to have so many people who are dear to me.

What is the reason that you use me thus?

Come on, Hamlet. Come on.
Laertes should be asking YOU this question, you maniac.
Listen, I loved you ever. Always have. Always will.
But this question may be, in fact, the first genuinely crazy thing you’ve said in this whole play.

First – Laertes did jack shit to you just now. So he’s not doing anything to you – you’re the one who leaped out into his sister’s grave. That was you. As far as Laertes knew, you were in freakin’ England. So. Yeah – if he fought with you, it was self defense.

Second, he actually has some super genuinely legit reasons to be mad at you. You killed his father. Or did you forget that? Just because you loved Laertes himself doesn’t mean he can’t be mad at you for killing his dad. If anyone killed my father (even by “accident”) it would not matter how long they’d loved me, I’d still be furious. Also, you treated his sister like garbage and here she is dead. So…all of this “Why are you mistreating me?” nonsense just doesn’t make sense.

And it’s the kind of crazy talk that doesn’t feel like the madness he was feigning before. It feels genuinely unhinged.

Hear you, sir.

It’s possible I don’t really trust most men to hear me anymore. I used to think – oh, they just need to hear what’s going on – to listen to an explanation, to wake up to reality.
But. Yesterday – the news about the horrific parental separations reached peak horror (thus far).
The sexual assault of children in custody.
The creation of Tender Age facilities and I saw the comments from people joking about the kids as if they were not humans.
I heard the callous response to a kid with Down Syndrome being separated from his parent and I just – lost some faith in hearing.

If people can hear these horrors and not be wrung out by them, no hearing will ever be enough.

Nay, an thou’lt mouth, I’ll rant as well as thou.

Who wrote their PhD on mouthing?
I would like to read it.
Because etymology on-line declares it as speaking. That’s it. Speaking.
We use it now to mean speaking without sound or even faking it, in a sense. If you’re singing along and mouthing the words, you don’t know them or the melody, or your voice is terrible. And that meaning is often overlaid onto Hamlet’s references to mouthing – both here and in his speech to the players.
Is that meaning there or are we adding it?
It seems possible that it’s there. This line suggests it a bit. It can absolutely be read this way. It can be read as fakery or just over-exaggeration, just in the way the line to the players could be.

And in performance, the overly exaggerated choice is a useful one as you can do it as you say it. But I am curious as to what other layers might be present.

Be buried quick with her, and so will I.

Idea for a play: Hamlet and Laertes are buried alive with Ophelia’s corpse. Once Hamlet and Laertes have killed each other (as they inevitably would, as they do later) their three ghosts are stuck in a grave together and have to work out how to either get along or escape eternity in a tiny space.
Is it called Buried Quick? There’s probably a better title but that’ll do for the moment.

Dost thou come here to whine?

Most people do not go to funerals to whine, it must be said. Laertes has come to Ophelia’s grave to mourn her loss, the way everyone does at a funeral. He has taken it to an extreme, of course, by leaping into her grave but whining is not his motivation and surely Hamlet knows that.

Has Hamlet been so blinded by his own grief that he has lost his own intelligence? The news of Ophelia’s death does seem to have come as a bit of a shock and I suppose Hamlet has had a rough patch but his temper seems outsized here. I feel like I’ve never seen a Hamlet who has a dangerous temper. Because you want someone who can sensitively handle all the intellectual stuff, the thoughtful soliloquies, etc, most people tend not to cast actors who have explosive rage. (Not to mention that actors with actual explosive rage are not fun to work with.)

But I suddenly would love to see a Hamlet with a real well of dangerous fury in him. I bet Gary Sinise could have been a really interesting Hamlet back in the day. Did they ever do that over at Steppenwolf? Or with John Malkovich? That would also have been fascinating. I’d be very interested in a performer who could be thoughtful and sensitive and warm and then quickly ignite.

I’m thinking now of Mark Maron and how he talks about his rage issues. Most of the time, on his podcast, we hear him in thoughtful, considered mode – but it’s clear that if a flip switches, he can rage. It’s too bad he’s not so keen on Shakespeare and maybe a bit too old for the part, because he’d be a really interesting Hamlet.

I’ll do it.

I may have to acquire some better drawing skills because I would love to have an image of Hamlet eating a crocodile. It would be such a delightful cartoon. Or gif! He’d have to be dressed in, like, Olivier type Hamlet costume or just a broad signaling Shakespeare shirt and he could be wrestling with the crocodile while he’s eating it. Prince and crocodile, an image for the ages.