Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31st: Hamlet

"Brevity is the soul of wit."
Shown: My antique volume of The Complete Works of Shakespeare,
with a cartoon I found in college that was used as a bookmark.
"Hey, Hamlet, who were these?" showing a smiley face and Killroy.

Renowned Shakespeare scholar Harold Bloom, in his book Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, notes, "After Jesus, Hamlet is the most cited figure in Western consciousness" (xix). We are aware of Hamlet, even in the 21st century, as we are aware of Jesus--specifically His words in the King James Bible. All that said, we know Hamlet. It has become ingrained in our Western culture and thought. To read it is to think about humanity, revenge, parent-child relationships, love, romance, insanity, and friendship.

I don't have any concrete reason for loving this play as much as I do, but I do. It's got it all, and it's beautiful. It's one of my favorite things to teach whenever I get to teach 1302 (Composition and Reading). I enjoy the newest movie (with Patrick Stewart and David Tennant) but I adore the Kenneth Branagh oeuvre of the entire play the most.

If you have never read the play, I highly encourage you to do so. It's more than The Lion King ever will be. It's deep and complex and profound and wonderful.

To read more of this #31DaysofBooks series, visit the introduction post.

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