On Seeing Hamlet

As part of the online course Shakespeare’s Hamlet I’m supposed to write an imaginary blog post in the person of an Elizabethan spectator who has just seen a performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Here’s my contribution.


At the theatre today. Came out disappointed. But now, I’m not so sure. Went with Rodick. He’s heard about the play from some friends of his. But apparently, it was a different play, or at least the same play but by a different author. Anyway, he was disappointed. We had quite an argument over it. He was looking forward to something quite different. A real swashbuckler with blood and thunder with an avenging hero. To be honest, I felt a bit like him but couldn’t help feeling that what we got was something far more satisfying. No satisfying is not the word. How can revenge – blood revenge – be satisfying. Yes sure, if you’re God with a God’s eye all seeing perspective, then satisfying probably is the word as there can be no doubt. But for humans, there must always be some kind of nagging doubt.

To be honest, all this is only coming to me now that I’ve had a chance to let it settle and think things through. When we came out, I argued quite strongly with Rodick, but wasn’t really sure what I thought. I felt there was just something about this play which set it apart from others. Some of the things I said were quite stupid. For example, when I declared the role of Ophelia was only there to tantalize the audience with the prospect of a bit of bawdiness before the end of the play. Well, both Polonius and Laertes seem to pave the way for this when they talk to her. But would such a master playwright really stoop so low. Maybe. But this guy is different. He goes deep. He poses questions and suggests the answers may be totally different from what we’re used to. That’s what I think now anyway. But with Rodick I just wasn’t able to get this across. Maybe, the play just needs time to meditate on before coming to any conclusions. That’s why I want to go back tomorrow. Still not sure how I will find the penny entrance. Maybe I can sweet talk Rosa into getting me in as one of the hands.

I guess that’s what it really boils down to. Getting to see the play as often as I can and hoping it somehow rubs off on me. Then, I argue things through with Rodick again; this time from a much more informed position. He wants to go and see the version by Kyd and want me to go with him. But from what he tells me, I don’t find it all that appealing. There’s a lot of action, sure but the depth which I only began to scratch at earlier, just isn’t there. Well, perhaps I will go. Maybe, I can make a deal with him to go and see that and then go and see Shakespeare’s version again. Perhaps something will rub off on him.


About Welshman Paul

Welshman Paul loves playing around with words. One of his ambitions is to attempt a dictionary of short stories for words which have several meanings.
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