I always wanted to read Hamlet but never got around to it until I was a month away from my 78th birthday. I became interested in Philosophy in my retirement and Shakespeare’s plays are chock full of Philosophy.
To start, lets have a quick synopsis of Hamlet:
Prince Hamlet attends his father’s funeral. His father was King of Denmark. His mother, Gertrude, is remarried to Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, brother to the King.
Hamlet is depressed and angry when he encounters the King’s ghost, who tells him Claudius has killed him, he wants revenge, so does Hamlet.
For a while he fakes madness to observe the goings on in the castle. Hamlet wants to kill Claudius but he thinks: “Conscience makes cowards of us all.”
He worries about death, but he realizes we all have to face up to it.
Then the deaths start:
Hamlet gets rid of Polonius, who is counselor to Claudius and father to Ophelia, Hamlet’s beloved. But Ophelia is bereaved over her father’s death. She eventually drowns.
Laertes, son of Polonius and brother to Ophelia, vows to punish Hamlet for his family’s deaths. Laertes and Hamlet fight, but Laertes has a poisoned sword. Hamlet kills Laertes but has been cut by the sword, so he will soon die.
Claudius, meanwhile, wants to kill Hamlet with a poisoned drink, which the Queen drinks making a toast. The Queen dies.
Finally, Hamlet stabs Claudius, so that does Claudius in. Before Hamlet dies, he declares the throne should go to Fortinbras, a Prince of Norway. He, also, wants Horatio, his loyal friend, to tell his story to the world.
The end of a great story with lots of words spoken by the main character.
So, back to the title of this blog: We are all like Hamlet in many ways. That’ right, we are! Hamlet thinks like an existentialist. He wants to know: “Who am I?” Don’t we all? Also, “To Be or Not To Be?” This question haunts all of us. Why do we exist?
We all have thought: “Should we accept out troubles in silence, or should we act to overcome them?” Hamlet feels the absurdity of life and thinks whether death is preferable to life. He delays his actions. Don’t we all procrastinate?
Hamlet questions the meaning and purpose of life. Who among us doesn’t doubt our motives? He, also, has and uses many masks, don’t we all?
Hamlet demonstrates the mechanisms of human thought. His state of mind affects his decisions. So does ours. He procrastinates, so do we. He seeks revenge. I’m sure all of us, at sometime or other, have thought about revenge.
Hamlet seeks meaning in life. So do all of us. But, I’m afraid it’s your responsibility to make your own meaning in your life.
Hamlet is angry and starts to collapse. All of these things are part of being human. This is why Hamlet is us, when you come to think about it.
“I think therefore I am.” Who said that? Not Shakespeare or Hamlet?
Isn’t Shakespeare’s Hamlet wonderful?
Words, words, words. Hamlet loves words, he is all about words, his soliloquizing is world famous. Words are his forte, just like a writer. Give me the words and I will write a story.
Also published on Medium.