Shakespeare was a master storyteller. There are people who don’t really like the Bard, but I’m a big fan of his writings. My favorite of all his plays is Hamlet, which incidentally is his longest play. And my favorite character in the play happens to be the young prince Hamlet himself. Though written in the late 16th century, Hamlet is extremely popular even to this day.
I have to say Shakespeare was not just a storyteller, he was a psychologist too. How else could one explain the intense fluctuations of mind and character on display in Hamlet? Hamlet is extremely disturbed by the death of his father. He sees his father’s ghost one night who suggests that his father did not die a natural death but was poisoned by his uncle Claudius. Hamlet refuses to acknowledge the credibility of the ghost but is suspicious of his uncle’s dealings. I think Shakespeare intended the ghost as an extension of Hamlet’s mind and perhaps as an inner voice which we should listen to. The possibilities of the mind is again on display in Hamlet’s feigning madness, Claudius’ determination to eliminate Hamlet and Ophelia’s unfortunate mental disturbance as she hears of her father Polonius’ death at the hands of Hamlet.
This is an era in which we fight for possessions and are greedy and selfish. As a result, we bring down the truthful people as well – a state of utter chaos. This is exactly what Hamlet tells us. In Claudius’ attempt to kill Hamlet and Hamlet’s desire for revenge against his uncle, the entire royal family is lost. Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, dies drinking the poison meant for Hamlet; Hamlet is mortally wounded by a poisoned sword in fencing Laertes, Polonius’ son; and Claudius is killed by Hamlet himself. A disastrous ending because the people involved were trapped in a world of deceit and greed. What Denmark should have seen is a noble king in Hamlet, but instead what they see is the good prince killed and the kingdom occupied by the Norwegian prince.
What is pathetic is that 400 odd years later, we refuse to perceive the lessons that Hamlet offers us. In spite of innumerable stagings of the play and the extent of its popularity worldwide, we choose to turn a blind eye to the valuable piece of teaching from the great Bard. Given our persistence for needling towards the wrong side, it will not be a surprise if the world suffers the tragedy of Hamlet and Denmark.
Written as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge – http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/