29 April, 2010


Last night on Great Performances I watched Hamlet with David Tennant as Hamlet and Patrick Stewart as Claudius.

The story of Hamlet is does not have a happy ending, and nothing else is all that happy either.

For those of you who don't know the plot, Hamlet's father is killed, and he finds out through his father's ghost that Claudius (Hamlet's uncle) murdered the late king, and Hamlet vows revenge. And then he seemingly goes mad, somewhat pretending, somewhat not. Ophelia--who is in love with Hamlet, though if he was ever really in love with her is questionable--then becomes miserable herself, when she's set up in front of Hamlet because her father Polonius thinks that Hamlet's miserable because he told his daughter not to encourage him. Then Hamlet, after his "friends" try to engage him in a pasttime, tells the players that come to use lines that he's written in hopes of revealing his uncle's guilt. The play is cut off, and Polonius suggests to his mother, Gertrude, that she should try to get the reason for his dementia. So he goes to her "closet" (bedroom/private chambers) and then practically attacks her, shouting at her for marrying Claudius so soon after his father's death. And when he heard Polonius move behind a mirror, he snatches up a pistol on the bedside table and shoots; no pause, no nothing. Just shoots, and Polonius stumbles out, dying fast. Gertrude refuses to listen to her son as he tells her about his uncle, and he leaves her in misery. Then Hamlet starts to drag Polonius's body through the castle (or chateaux, or whatever the building is) and the king sends for the guards to hunt him down and get the body. They demand to know where it is from Hamlet, and he finally tells them, while strapped to a chair and immobile. He is then taken away to England, drugged. Ophelia, already miserable about Hamlet's fury, goes mad herself as she finds out Polonius is dead. She drowns herself, and Hamlet watches her burial, as Laertes also goes mad. (This play is full of people going mad.) Hamlet bursts out of his hiding spot, and hangs over Ophelia's grave, shouting at everyone there as Horatio (poor Horatio) tries to calm him down. Then the king challenges Hamlet to a duel with Laertes, and Laertes and Hamlet slit each other's throats. His mother drinks poison intended for Hamlet, dies, and Hamlet forces the king to drink out of the same cup, killing the king. Laertes and Hamlet both die, Hamlet in Horatio's arms. 

That's Hamlet for you.

It's not the cheeriest play by Shakespeare. I liked watching it though, since I haven't before.

-----The Golden Eagle


KENZY said...

I LOVE DAVID TENNANT. He got an award for his role as Hamlet, but I haven't seen him in anything other than Harry Potter or (mainly) Doctor Who. But I wanna see it, definitely. :)

Icewolf said...

I went to see Hamlet, and it was really confusing. My brain was sorta fried.