I first read Hamlet in high school (35 years ago), then again in college, and now several times since then. Every time I marvel at it–lines written 400 years ago that still sparkle in my own language. Or something like it, anyway. This time I read it a few scenes at a time while bathing. After each bath I popped in my DVD of Kenneth Brannagh’s production of the play and watched just those scenes. It took a few weeks, but I recommend such a routine for its curative powers. (I’m not saying what it cures. But it certainly cures something.)
In this reading I realized something about myself: If I talk like anyone in Hamlet, I talk like the comic characters, or Hamlet in his “madness,” with puns and equivocations. At first I felt a sense of satisfaction that there was anything Shakespearean about me. But then I noticed how these speakers tried the patience of their listeners in the play….