Thursday, May 22, 2008


At the end of act 1 scene 5 of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears to Hamlet and tells him that he was betrayed by his brother who poured poison into King Hamlet’s ear while he was sleeping out in the orchard as usual. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, who was loved so deeply by Hamlet’s father, has now stooped down to the uncle with less than adequate natural gifts. Then the ghost vanishes leaving Hamlet alone on stage with new insight on his beloved family.
Hamlet’s soliloquy starts O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else? (1:5 line 92) The mans world has come to an end. All goodness in life, all respect, honor, dignity has gone out the window. Hamlet’s marbles have been knocked from their nesting place in his head and are about to be gone. His heart is feeling the facts right now “And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie! Hold, hold, my heart, (1:5 line 93). He’s like wait, hold on, don’t drop dead yet, Hamlet is soaking it up like a sponge and his heart is starting to feel it and his tone is not out of control, yet. Physically, his body is feeling it and he literally tells himself not to grow old and instructs his muscles not to give out “And you, my sinews, grow not instant old, but bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!”(1:5 lines 94-95). Hamlet is relating to his father’s pain and thinking about how he would cope with such a devastating betrayal and it hurts. And still the memory will last forever in his mind “Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat” (1:5 line 96), like yea dad, I will never forget this happened. The reference to the seat could be a reference to the throne where Hamlet will always have the memory of his father on the throne instead of the gift less swine Denmark now calls king.
Then there is a tone shift “Yea, from the table of my memory I'll wipe away all trivial fond records, All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past That youth and observation copied there, And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven! (1:5 lines 98-104). Hamlet is freaking out to himself saying he will wipe away anything in his distracted head and he will only remember thee. Hamlet is going mad, but at the same time he is loosing it, he is putting all the pieces together and understanding the situation. Hamlet is in control of Hamlet, he is just loosing his mind because a ghost of his father just came to him and gave him this breath taking news and now that it is processed in his brain, that’s all that will go on in there.
Then Hamlet realizes that his mother really stuck it to his father. She was coaxed into the uncle’s love somehow by his less than adequate natural gifts. She went from the most generously loving man to scum of the earth. And Hamlet knows who the vilans are “O most pernicious woman! O villain, villain, smiling, dammed villain! (1:5 lines 105-106) like damn you mom how could you do that, you are an evil woman. Hamlet’s tone switches down a notch and goes from a sad realization, to an outburst of promise, now to blame. Now he wants to write it down, he searches for a notebook to remind himself that villans can smile, and still be villans “My tables!—Meet it is I set it down At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark. (writes) So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word” (1:5 lines108-110). Now he is really vexed at his uncle because he knows what he did and made a vow to his father to remember it, and do what he thinks is right by the king. After all the king did say” Remember me” (1:5 line 111) and that is just what Hamlet intends to do.

1 comment:

Mista D said...

Hamelet was the best part of the year for me. I chose this for my notebook tid-bit because all the info is straight from my actual Hamelt notebook. With all the notes we took in class, i had some good stuff.