About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

H is for HAMLET

How many of you groan at the thought of Shakespeare's play "Hamlet"?  How many had to read and study it in high school?  Anyone ever seen it on the stage or any of the movie versions?  What are your thoughts?

I am currently finishing up "Hamlet" with a student I tutor and have to say that up to now, I've never been a fan of the play.  However, every time I have to help a student with it, I learn a little bit more.  I think I've finally figured out the point that Shakespeare was trying to make through this story of a Danish prince.

For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, Hamlet's father was King of Denmark and murdered by his brother Claudius, who then married his sister-in-law Gertrude.  The play follows young Hamlet as he professes to seek revenge on his uncle while at the same time, trying to love his mother as before, even though he feels she has committed the ultimate sin.

I have previously found the character of Hamlet to be frustrating because he talks a great talk but never acts on his words!  I still don't "like" the story that much, but at least this "go-round"  I finally "got it." Hamlet starts off in grief and is very depressed because his father, the King, has died.  The play works its way through Hamlet's desire to avenge his death when he finds out the truth of who and why he was murdered. 

It takes a long time, in my mind, to show how Hamlet evolves from being a "thinker" who never acts on his determinations to a "thinker" who realizes that one's life and death are in the hands of fate.

There are some words of wisdom in "Hamlet," a few of which I present here:
But he dies.  It seems like everyone dies.  As in all Shakespeare's tragedies.  My student is doing an artistic rendition (collage) to illustrate the progress of Hamlet's character through the play.  It was one option out of several, most of which were literary essays.  I convinced her this would be a lot easier and a welcome change from writing the obligatory essay!  She agreed and I think she will do well.

Thanks goodness my other grade 12 students are doing "Othello," which I find much more fun - even though it is a tragedy, too.  What might be your favourite Shakespearean play?


Melody Steenkamp said...

Not me ;-)

Never had it at school, I know those famous quotes ofcourse but that is all I know about it.

By the way, how is your back doing?

Hildred said...

I much prefer Othello too.....

Anonymous said...

Was in a Dutch school, Leslie, so no Shakespeare:) But Hamlet is a great H! Am also here to - so someone of the team knows - it's Tue, almost 1 pm,
and have tried a few times to link to ABC but keep getting the message (as with some more blogs) that "Amazon services are down, and problems in the internet may be experienced"
I'll try tonight again, and of course on Wed.
Have a joyful week!

keeyit said...

Yeah me too, never had it at school.


carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful post ~ I actually like Hamlet because of the powerful messages ~ thanks,


ps. not able to link up so sent you the link

Amit Agarwal said...

Personally, I feel Hamlet is the greatest of his tragedies, I like Anthony and Cleopatra more though! Othello, Macbeth and King Lear follow...
A wonderful tribute to the bard, Leslie, this post of yours:) Thank you:)

Trubes said...

My favourite Shakespearean play has to be The Taming of the Shrew although
I read Henry 1V PARTS 1/2 at college.
Many have complained that The Taming of The Shrew has a misogynistic theme
but I just saw it as a comedy of the time in which it was set.
Back to Hamlet I found it rather dreary but could see the point of Hamlet's ramblings
and there are some wonderful 'quotes'....'To be or not to be' etc etc.

Or to quote Spike Milligan the zany British writer and performer now sadly deceased.

Said Hamlet to Ophelia
I'll draw a sketch of thee
What kind of pencil shall I use,
2B or not 2B ?

ABCW team.

Roger Owen Green said...

I read in HS. It was tough, but familiarity has made it more interesting.


Rajesh said...

It is a interesting read.

Ann said...

Our Son was in the play in High school--hard one I think to enjoy.

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

I've seen the play, but have never read the book. Since I group up in Mexico, I'm much more familiar with Garcia Lorca's works. Blessings!

LindyLou Mac said...

I think Hamlet was spoilt for me because I had to study it in so much detail at school for GCSE!

Klara S said...

'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark', yes, I read it in high school. Probably I didn't like it :) I haven't seen either, but I saw 'Macbeth' in the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. Even if you don't like Shakespeare, I totally recommend the theatre, it was amazing experiance!

Joy said...

Not one of my favourites, I'd plump for Macbeth or The Tempest of that genre. I saw a Japanese inspired stage version of Macbeth once which was an interested take on it. The BBC recently did a series of the various Henry and Richard plays under the heading 'The Hollow Crown'. I like Henry V best, perhaps because I saw the black and white film version with Laurence Olivier at an impressionable age. They are all of course best seen on stage or my very favourite - a promenade performance (despite the British weather).

Carin said...

Some books I read for the school like Schindler's List and Anne Frank are still in my heart. I cried reading those books. I think they made me a better person being more mindful and caring. As for Shakespeare . . . I don't know.