Monday, November 24, 2014

Hamlet - Act III


Madness in great ones must not unwatch’d go.

Things get rolling here with Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. I had not realized how many phrases had seeped from this relatively short snippet into the culture at large, but here are a few of them.

To be, or not to be: that is the question.
To sleep: perchance to dream
Ay, there’s the rub
What dreams may come
shuffled off this mortal coil
the undiscover’d country

Following which we see a performance of the play that Hamlet has rigged to unsettle the king and queen and get them to display their guilt over the death of his father. Which seems to work pretty well, as strategies go.

Then Hamlet proceeds to rip the queen a new one and bumps off Polonius. Who should turn up just about then but the ghost of the old king. Whom the queen cannot see and who doesn’t really hang around for long. It’s just a brief interlude and then Hamlet goes back to berating his mom and then makes off with the corpse of Polonius.

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