Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hamlet Part 5: The Madness Continues in a Timely Manner

Gather round, ladies, gents, and variations there upon. It's time again for another exciting installment of Hamlet, or: Denmark's Royal Family is a Bunch of Murderous Wingnuts. Today we're going to be finishing up Act 3. Let's do this!

Act 3 Scene 3

Okay, when last we met, Hamlet had just presented the play to his mother, Gertrude, and step-father/uncle, Claudius. Act 3 Scene 3 is a short scene that begins with Claudius talking to R+G. Claudius tells the pair that he is displeased with Hamlet (no shit). He tells them to prepare to go to England with Hamlet. His plan is to get Hamlet killed there. Whether he wants R+G to kill him or is planning on someone else doing it, it's never discussed. Which is super helpful. Because this play is not hard enough to read without missing information. Anyways, Claudius tells R+G to hurry the fuck up and they leave.
Literally Polonius

Polonius enters the scene to relate to Claudius what Hamlet is up to. He says that Hamlet is going to meet with Gertrude. He tells Claudius that Gertrude will surely scold him for what has just taken place (the play with the implied accusation of murder). He then tells Claudius that he is going to go hide in Gertrude's room and listen to their conversation and relate back to Claudius what was discussed. Again, I totally understand why Hamlet is going so batshit crazy. I would, too,if this fool was always spying on me for the dude who murdered my father. Claudius thanks Polonius and Polonius leaves to go be the shady fucker he is.

The King is left alone to discuss his current situation. He confesses that he did, indeed, kill dead King Hamlet. He says that he wants absolution for his crime, but that he still wants to enjoy the benefits of having committed said crime. It totally doesn't work like that, fucknut. You can't have it both ways. Either deal with your shit or take the consequences. Claudius kneels to pray and is discovered by Hamlet. Hamlet draws his sword to kill Claudius, but notices that Claudius is praying. See, Hamlet wants to send Claudius to Hell, not Heaven, so he can't kill him while he's getting absolution from God. Hamlet puts his sword away and decides to kill him later, while he is doing some other shitty thing that he is almost certain to do. Hamlet leaves and Claudius confesses that he was praying, but didn't pray for absolution for his crime. So Hamlet should have just killed him, because he would have gone to hell where he belongs.

Act 3 Scene 4

This is one of my favorite scenes in the play because some truly ridiculous shit happens. Anyway...

Gertrude is talking to Polonius in her room. He tells her about his genius plan to hide behind a curtain and listen to her conversation with Hamlet. The plan that will totally not backfire in any way. They hear Hamlet coming and Polonius hides.

Hamlet enters and Gertrude tells him "Hamlet, thous has thy father much offended." By father, she means Claudius. Not a great start. Hamlet responds with his typically wordplay, "Mother, you have my father much offended." By father he means his actual father, King Hamlet. Gertrude tells him he's being foolish because she either doesn't understand or she's blatantly ignoring what he means. There's a bit of snippy back a forth. Hamlet says that she should sit. He then tells her, "You go not till I set up a glass/Where you may see the inmost part of you." He means that he will break a mirror and stab her with it. Because she's no fool, Gertrude takes this as a threat and calls for help. Polonius, still behind the curtain, parrots her call, for some reason. He should have just fucking helped her, maybe? Hamlet says that he 'thinks it's a rat' behind the curtain and stabs Polonius, killing him. I'm going to go ahead and call bullshit here. If Hamlet thinks that Polonius is a literal rat, why is he stabbing at person height? Wouldn't he stab at the fucking ground if he thought there was a rat? Or did Polonius get stabbed in the foot and die of his own accord? Something's rotten in the state of Denmark, indeed. My money is on Hamlet totally knowing that it's Polonius. I mean, there's no fucking way he didn't. The man spoke aloud, for fucks sake! Like the true nutcase Hamlet is, he briefly acknowledges that he just killed a man and bemoans the fact that it isn't Claudius. Then, Hamlet immediately goes back to yelling at his mom, completely ignoring the corpse on the floor. The corpse of his girlfriend's father, no less.
Hamlet: from zero to murder in no time flat.

Hamlet once again accuses Gertrude of killing his father, even though everyone in the free fucking world knows that it was Claudius. Everyone INCLUDING HAMLET. Sorry for shouting, it's just so irritating. No matter what happens, Hamlet will always believe that a woman is to blame. Always. What an asshole. Hamlet then takes a moment to rub it in to Polonius's dead body that Hamlet thought he was a rat. He says, "I took thee for thy better," as in, you are lower than a rat. What a jerk. I mean, he's right, Polonius was a moron, but the man is dead. Have a little respect.

Hamlet goes back to yelling at his mom like a petulant teenager. He accuses her of all sorts of things like killing his father, being tricked into marrying Claudius, not loving Claudius. He makes comparisons between Claudius and King Hamlet, saying that one is pretty much the best guy ever (King Hamlet) and one basically the embodiment of a dry heave (Claudius). Again, he's not wrong.

Gertrude asks him to stop because "Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,/And there I see such black and grained spots." Basically, she knows that marrying Claudius was probably not the best possible thing to do. She genuinely feels bad about it. Hamlet doesn't let up, though. He keeps going on and on about how awful everything she has done is. She begs him to stop, but he doesn't. Then, the ghost arrives again. Hamlet addresses the ghost, but Gertrude either can't or won't see it. She simply believes, once and for all, that Hamlet has finally lost his very last marble.

The ghost of his father tells Hamlet to lay off, that it's not Gertrude's fault, and he needs to stop accusing her of shit she didn't do. Gertrude tells Hamlet that she doesn't see or hear anything other than them (and probably Polonius, still lying dead on the floor). Hamlet tells her that it's his father and the ghost leaves.

At this point, Gertrude is convinced that Hamlet is crazy (I think he may be the only sane character in the whole damn play, but, whatever). Hamlet tells her that he's not crazy. She says that he has broken her heart in half and Hamlet tells her to throw away the bad half (the one that convinced her to marry Claudius) and live only with the good half now. He then implores her to not sleep with Claudius that night. He repents for having killed Polonius, but "heaven hath pleased it so/To punish me with this, and this with me,/That I must be their scourge and minister." He is saying that he is already being punished by the task of avenging his father because that is heaven's will. He also implies (by the use of the word 'scourge') that he will eventually suffer punishment at the hands of heaven. Again, sounds pretty reasonable. Gertrude asks him what she should do and he tells her not to tell Claudius anything that has happened here or anything they have talked about. He tells her that if she
Quit being a dick, Hamlet.
does tell, she should then commit suicide. Just when I thought Hamlet was going to stop being a massive jerk wad, he pulls this shit. I just... I can't even deal with him right now. Gertrude says she won't breathe a word of what has happened. Hamlet lets her know that he's going to England and that he knows about Claudius's plan to kill him. He has a plot of his own that it going to foil Claudius's plot. Everyone in this play is plotting instead of actually doing anything. He turns his attention back to Polonius, saying that he's going to drag the body into the next room and do what exactly? No one knows. Probably nothing. He tells his mother good night and leaves, dragging Polonius behind him.


For the love of god. No one in this play ever does anything. Everyone talks about doing shit and plots against one another, but nothing ever gets done directly. If Hamlet had just killed Claudius in Act 3 Scene 3, that would have it. Bam! End of play! Everybody lives! Except Claudius, but fuck him. But no, Claudius has to die the right way, so he lives to plot another day. The main thing that bothers me about this play is how long it takes to get anything done. Hamlet plots away and then refuses to deviate from those plans. If he would just do shit when the opportunity arises, this play would have a much lower death rate. Also, if he would stop hating all women, more people would survive.

There are really two ways to look at this play: Either Hamlet is the solution to all the problems (and he's just bad at his job) or he's the cause of said problems. If it wasn't for Hamlet, everyone would get along just fine. On the other hand, this great crime would go unpunished. Hamlet is a deeply flawed person with this huge task resting on his shoulders. He's starting to crumble under the pressure and it only get worse from here on out. So, strap in, kids! It's going to be a wild ride to the finish.

Until next time, Happy Reading.

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