I continue my slogging through the works of Shakespeare. My latest completion is Hamlet. Although in a previous post, I said that I was slogging through Othello; I took time to revisit the Dane.
I’ve read this play twice previously. Once as a freshman in college and again as a senior. I didn’t like it either time. I came to it the third time as a thirty-something. It is a different play.
I understand the lose that Hamlet feels much better now. Like the Prince of Denmark, I lost my father (not to poison in the ear). I understand the great psychological blow it is to lose that figure at a young age. Hamlet is thirty, and I was twenty-nine when my father died. This small factor made me see Hamlet as less of a whiny man-child, and more as a sympathetic character.
The real change on this reading was my perception of Polonius. Until this reading, I always thought he was a very wise man. It turns out that he had wise statements, but was more or less a fool. Hamlet manipulated him the most with his false insanity. The old man is dotty and seems as though he may suffer from dementia. The Bard does a good job with this idea. I was amazed at what a decade’s amount of time can do to how someone thinks about a story.
I still do not like Hamlet. I find it frustrating beyond belief. The indecision that makes Hamlet the tragic hero boils my blood. The fake insanity drives me bonkers. I was happy when I was done. I love that I see the play different now, but that isn’t enough to save it for me. I so look forward to MacBeth. Othello will be next. I promise.