It will, too. But like those arrows Claudius just described, they’re going to turn right around and get you. Revenge is like that. One revenge leads to another.
And it often backfires in the process, bringing the revenge onto the person who attempted it. Revenge IS good for dramas in that it is an endless cycle of dramatic events. But for life? It’ll get you before it gets your target, most likely.
Maybe seeing your sister as perfect contributed to the problems, Laertes. Maybe it might have been better for her mental health to see her as a human being instead of a perfect woman standing on a mount.
I mean – Hamlet describes his father as “a man. Take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again.”
That’s a human way of looking at someone. (Of course he also idolizes his father with that Hyperion nonsense…but that’s another story.)
Women are always expected to be perfect. This line tells me that it has been ever thus. We are not permitted the same indulgence of humanity. We are meant to achieve perfection in our looks, perfection in our behavior. We are never allowed to make mistakes. I think if Ophelia’s family had made space for her to be human instead of perfect, she might have survived this play.
What stories has Claudius told Laertes? I mean – sure – there’s the truth, which is that Hamlet killed Polonius, thinking it was the king. But this is information Claudius can only have gotten out of Hamlet himself or Gertrude. Or from intuition. Which is probably the more likely.
I mean. Hamlet has not done so much murder attempting as he would like to. And there’s not a lot for Claudius to point to. Nothing but Polonius’ death. Which, sure, maybe that’s it. But Laertes’ question here suggests that maybe Claudius has been doing some serious truth embroidery. Claudius has been sewing up a whole truth embroidery sampler for Laertes.
There are moments in which I almost forget the terrifying state of the world. For a fleeting instant, when the sun is shining and children are laughing, it seems that all will be well, that there is nothing to fear.
And then you remember the turning of the wheels of power, the ones that are grinding into dust: Art, beauty and all the delicate, vulnerable people of the world. You remember that there is injustice at the border, that people have stopped wanting to visit your fair land due to the xenophobic mania sweeping the country.
But. Sunshine. Children. Yes. It well appears.
Maybe it’s the way the actors said it in those first imprinted productions, but I had always thought this line was about Hamlet. I thought it was Laertes planning for Hamlet’s murder. But he doesn’t know from Hamlet yet. This is a litany of crimes against Polonius. These are all the issues with Polonius’ death. Only one of which is not Claudius’ fault. Claudius didn’t kill him, it’s true. But it must have been his decision to not give him a decent funeral. It is curious. Why make himself vulnerable by not honoring a statesmen? Why hush it up? How does this benefit him? There must be a reason. But I’m not clear what it could be.
I’m ready for the revolution, ladies. The time has long passed but we don’t always know until we’re old enough to no longer give a fuck.
Just now, for example, some punk ass privileged white kid thought he’d interrupt what I was doing by asking a banal and patronizing question. And in the past I’d have worried about a punk ass kid’s feelings. I’d have laughed, coyly, perhaps and tried to dismiss as nicely as possible. But times have changed, y’all. I ain’t feeling so nice. When asked a dumb ass question, I just said “no” – like they taught me at model mugging. No hesitation. Just force. Just clear. And then I moved away – just like they taught me to do when approached by a predator.
Now – do I think this particular asshole is dangerous? No I don’t. But…he’s good practice. And I’m just not having it anymore.
The thing is – what I learned from model mugging (years ago now but it remains vivid) is that a lot of assaults on women happen because we are socialized to be so polite, we are even polite to dudes who mean us harm, we are even polite to predators. It’s not that we want to be assaulted …it’s that we are so threatened by not being polite that we will risk assault rather than addressing an asshole’s asshole behavior.
Anyway – my prayer for myself is now: May I have the strength and peace of mind to respond to assholes appropriately. That is, quickly and forcefully.
I saw a clip of the Orange Man in Chief in which he was asked about his thoughts on God. He proceeded to give evidence of the Higher Power that could be best summed up as “There must be a God because look at all this cool stuff I own!” And given the way so many equate wealth with goodness, I’m sure he sees it as God’s approval of him.
Many people see it that way. That God is like Santa Claus and when he likes what you’re doing, he gives you cool stuff. I’m no religious scholar but I’m pretty sure that’s not what most religions are after.
And so. Here it is. Day 11 of the Crazy Administration and people are already dying. People are already being ripped from their families. A baby was denied food for 18 hours because her mother was on one side of the airport divide and she on the other.
Do you see this?
Hey, God…the one who’s supposed to reward good behavior and punish bad…what are you doing?
Are you missing what’s happening here?
Luckily, I follow God on Twitter and he is smiting like crazy. Sometimes he gets banned from Facebook for his smiting of religious hypocrites but this God is watching at least.
It’s sort of like a text book case, adapted with all the thought and remembrance fitting, Like….there’s a document – a list of all the symptoms of madness and there are little empty slots to individualize the diagnosis. Like “patient is obsessed with_____” and then here we could fill in “flowers” and “songs about death.”
What is Laertes responding to? There are bits of things that Ophelia says that make sense – the stuff about a funeral, a father, etc – but the last few lines are some of the nonsensical as far as I (and most notes) can tell. This made me think that there would be some requirement to create a shared story between Laertes and Ophelia that one of these lines might reference. If I were directing this play, I’d want to figure out what bell Ophelia is ringing for Laertes here that is not obvious to the rest of us. It would also make for an interesting and poignant tenderness between them to develop a secret shared history.
There are so many times wherein a woman’s wits and persuasion are not nearly as moving as she would like. Here’s Ophelia. If she tried to explain her position rationally, if she asked for support, if she attempted to persuade – anyone to anything – I suspect she would not be successful. Ophelia can only persuade with her body – once her will has been trampled. And then, of course, she’s not persuading anyone of anything she wants. She’s just become a symbol…a trigger on the gun.
I can’t help feeling that if a character like Ophelia had learned to use her wits – to become a little more like Beatrice or Imogen or even Lady Macbeth, she wouldn’t end up dead. It’s almost as though, because she had no persuasive power as a conscious creature, she becomes more of a projection machine. It becomes more possible for Laertes to read what he wants to read in her. I think it would be incredibly unlikely that Ophelia would use her wits to plead for revenge. I don’t think that is what she’d use them for.