Tuesday, November 15, 2011


FLG was up with Miss FLG Minor a couple of nights ago and caught part of a Charlie Rose on Hamlet.  At very end, Oskar Eustis claims that Shakespeare doesn't provide definitive instructions on whether Hamlet is feigning madness or is actually mad. 

Now, FLG isn't a Shakespeare expert or anything, but he did yell "I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw." at the screen.  Seems hard to argue that's not definitive.  Unless, of course, one wants to argue that Hamlet was mad, he was seeing ghosts and all, but didn't think himself mad.    Or maybe one could argue that in Act II, Scene 2 he was feigning madness but is eventually driven mad.

Maybe FLG got upset because he steadfastly refuses to believe that Hamlet was mad.

1 comment:

Flavia said...

Well, I'm not a real Shakespearian in that I don't know the full literature on Hamlet, but I'm not aware that this is a live debate (except maybe among first-time readers of the play). It's certainly not an interesting one.

Hamlet is quite clearly not mad in any thoroughgoing way, and most of what looks to other people like madness seems part of his calculated "antic disposition." I mean, dude's definitely depressed, and it could be argued that he has periods of mania; there's the killing of Polonius and the leaping in Ophelia's grave. But other people see the damn ghost, and I'd say his crazy behavior is, at most, of the "crazy with grief" variety. And that's not crazy in the King Lear or even Macbethian manner.

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