Good night, mother.

God night, Denmark. Good night, castle.
Good night, ramparts. Good night, vassal.
Good night, Player. Good night, Ghost.
Good night, drinkers. Good night, toast.
Good night, Rosencrantz in your good night pants.
Good night, Guildenstern, with your loyalty dance.
Good night, Pirates. Good night, graves.
Good night, soldiers. Good night, knaves.
Good night, good night, in the hall.
Good night, good night, good night all.

Advertisements

Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.

And now, we present, the Weekend at Bernie’s section of the Tragedy of Hamlet. Fun with a dead body.
You know…the dead body trope has been around for centuries, I’m sure. And yet this lousy film from the 80s is our touchstone for it. Why is that? Was it particularly popular?
Or was it just that they took the conceit so far no one could forget it?
I don’t know. But it is fun when dead bodies can be funny. Or we can be funny around dead bodies. Even just crack a joke – laugh at their lifelessness – or perhaps what we’re really doing is laughing at our own mortality.

Indeed, this counsellor Is now most still, most secret and most grave, Who was in life a foolish prating knave.

Nice epitaph.
Not sure it’s one I’d want on my tombstone but…
It does have a nice rhyme.
I wouldn’t mind “foolish” somehow
Probably because of my clowning.
“Prating” though, is tough. Wouldn’t want that epithet.
“Knave” I could live with –due to the fun one can get out of making mischief.

But while I appreciate the word play, I’m not sure Polonius deserves such an ignominious eulogy from Hamlet.
He talked a lot, sure, and some of it was ridiculous but he’s not without sense and he was the father to the woman Hamlet (theoretically) loved. Why does he feel so little remorse at his murder? It’s almost like he has to convince himself Polonius was worse than he was so as not to feel horrible at his death.

Mother, good night.

I wonder what time it is.
What time was the show?
When did Danes go to bed in the Renaissance? Or, really, the English…when was bedtime?
They all seem to go to bed right after the show is called off – so it would seem like maybe an evening show, on the later side.
There may, though, be a tradition of going to bed to get a bit of alone time at the end of a day. I’m just curious if the show was unusually late or if those folks are all going to bed unusually early.

I’ll lug the guts into the neighbor room.

I’ve just started to wonder why he does this. I mean – it’s not as if he’s planning on trying to pretend he HASN’T killed Polonius – so he’s not hiding the body for purposes of avoiding the consequences. He knows what consequences are coming. I suddenly just wondered if this is a gesture of kindness towards Gertrude. I mean, he’s removing a dead body from her bedroom – and not taking it far – just the room nearby. I’ve never seen it played with tenderness – but I’m suddenly quite curious about playing it that way.

This man shall set me packing.

I came across this line on a day wherein I both packed and unpacked my suitcase in the space of an hour. Packing stresses me out. Even when it’s already decided. I just – worry, I guess. Is it all going to fit? Am I late? How will I get all these things collected before the deadline?

98% of my nightmares are packing dreams. I have things to pack like apartments or rooms or my clothes or something and there is a deadline – like a plane waiting. And I am always sure I will miss that deadline as I race around the space trying to collect all the things, which seem to multiply as I collect them

O, ‘tis most sweet When in one line two crafts directly meet.

Hamlet’s mixing his metaphors quite dramatically in this passage, it would seem. We’re doing all this mine talking – sweeping, martial-ness, military and explosions, etc – and now suddenly – crafts – which are usually boats. So …is the metaphor mixing reflective of a state of mind? Hamlet’s pretty clear and consistent most of the time.
As for this metaphor, is it expressing a kind of delight in confrontation? A joy in the battle? One craft traveling along refusing to budge when the other comes straight at it?
No one’s coming straight at anyone in this play, though. It’s all skirting around the edges. Digging beneath, spying and surprise.

And’t shall go hard But I will delve one yard below their mines And blow them at the moon.

Very crafty warcraft there, Hamlet.
Is this a strategy that actually works, though?
Can you dig under a mine and set up a whole other mine? I mean – it’s a great metaphor of beating someone at their own game…but practically…if someone has set up a mine for you, they probably won’t go near it again – cause they know a mine’s there.
Or is that Hamlet’s gonna get there first and dig below where they’re gonna dig and when they start digging, kaboom!

For ‘tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his own petar;

Ah, language! You are so changeable – so slippery sometimes.
I mean, here’s the source for a saying we hear everyday but today we say “Hoisted with his own petard.” And when and how do these tiny shifts happen?

Also? We have here an editorial choice between “engineer” and “enginer” – which may be a matter of spelling and pronunciation on one hand but also a matter of meaning on another. Without consistent spelling at the time when Shakespeare’s plays were printed, we can never really know for sure if Shakespeare meant “engineer” and “enginer” now. I know what an engineer is – and have no idea what an enginer is. Which is why, if I were editing, I might just go with the word more people have a sense of the meaning of. But – apparently enginer might have metaphorical connections, military connections to the ghost being called a pioneer. (Often printed as PIONER) See – we have these tricky extra e’s that either obscure meaning or enhance it.
And with language, we are always hoist with our own petar. Language will get us back every time we think we’ve built it flawlessly.

Let it work.

I have been making myself anxious about this conference in Montreal. There is not much to do to prepare for it so I am making preparation by getting nervous. It is possible it could change my life. It is also possible that it will have no impact. There is nothing I can do from this vantage point at any end of the spectrum. Whatever wheels are set (or not set) in motion, I must simply turn the key and let it work.