Bestow this place on us a little while.

In Rebecca Sonit’s essay, “Pandora’s Box and the Volunteer Police Force” she mentioned a feminist art exhibit from the 70s called “Your 5000 years are up.”
It makes me think of the conversation that Jill Soloway has started about maybe just making women’s movies for a little while – to just get the female gaze for a bit. Men had 5000 years in charge and the entire history of film so far – let’s switch it up – get just women’s voices for a bit. Like when Ruth Bader Ginsberg said we’d have actual equality on the Supreme Court when ALL of the justices were women.
There is something very appealing about all of these visions of the world –a world where we might rule for a bit – where the next 5000 years would be ours. We tried asking for equality. We were nice about it. We said we’d share. But….


Where is your son?

YOUR son. A formal YOUR.
No thy son here.
No OUR son
No MY son, definitely. (Something he was wont to try to employ earlier)
And an abrupt change in subject as well.
“Hey baby what’s wrong? Tell me what’s bothering you? Where’s that guy I’m mad at?”

And I appreciate how the Queen manages to respond to none of these things. She has the politician’s skill of not answering questions put to her.

These profound heaves You must translate.

And here Claudius makes his big mistake with his wife.
He does not comfort her in her obvious distress.
Instead of taking her hand or embracing her
He gives her an order – using the formal 2nd person “You.”
He doesn’t even ASK her why she’s sighing.
He just tells her she must use her words
And then doesn’t give her time to answer.
His first question is about Hamlet’s location – not her state of mind.
I wonder, if Claudius were better able to be with his wife in her suffering, might he have kept her trust?

There’s matter in these sighs.

It’s a rare sigh that does not have matter in it. This moment is interesting in that Gertrude is clearly sighing, clearly upset and her husband doesn’t say, “What’s the matter?” “What happened?” or “What can I do?”
He doesn’t comfort her at all. He just states the obvious and tells her what to do.

There’s a question of whether there was or is genuine love or even lust between these two characters and I wonder if that’s a question for Gertrude, as well. When she begins this scene sighing, is she hoping Claudius will comfort her, ease her distress and/or fears?

He doesn’t.

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.

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.