ive always thought the most revealing line hamlet says about himself (besides “o, what an ass am i”) is the “o i could be bounded in a nutshell and call myself king of infinite space, if it were not that i have bad dreams” bit. because it outlines his Problem so simply, or maybe just because it always feels to me like my problem. “i could do anything, i could do anything i wanted to or that anyone else wanted me to, if i wasn’t hecked up from the neck up”
Besides “if i wasn’t hecked up from the neck up” being the greatest phrase ever, this post is also Very Important because you do see Hamlet slipping here from pretending to be insane to actually talking about problems he has. It’s like halfway through To Be where he goes from being ~dramatic~ to stopping and saying that he is terrified of death and the afterlife, and confiding in the audience his fears.
It’s brilliant. We as the audience are also being duped by Hamlet and we don’t even realize it. Except, unlike his family being tricked into thinking he’s insane, we are being tricked into thinking that he’s dealing with things fine mentally and emotionally ever since the ghost showed up. It’s only in the little moments where he slips from acting mad to genuinely expressing the problems he’s having that we begin to realize Hamlet’s true mental state. He’s a clinically depressed teenager crying out for help with nobody hearing him, resorting to dropping hints and hiding behind jokes. To the audience. He is begging us to help him, and even we who have witnessed everything can’t even hear him.
Brilliant, but so so sad.
Hamlet YES YES YES also i was recently thinking about rhetoric and philosophy and Horatio’s responses to Hamlet vs Ophelia and Ros and Guil’s? like okay what’s R+G’s response to that line: they suspect he’s acting weird bc he’s pissed off Claudius took the throne ahead of him nd they’re trying to get him to confess that so they tug him along on the kind of philosophical crap he probably fuckin love ‘which dreams indeed are ambition!’ etc etc and later he’s aiming to antagonise Ophelia with ‘are you honest? … are you fair?’ and she replies defensively but rhetorically – she throws the question back at him turned around it’s wordplay and philosophy and they probably enjoyed doing this shit all the time ‘could beauty my lord have better commerce than with honesty?’ but hamlet’s in this mood where no no that isn’t good enough he wants to HURT HER with this shit and he does R+G and Ophelia think that turning Hamlet’s rhetoric back on him will help them but they don’t realise Hamlet’s at a place where no no that’s not enough he can’t deal with that kind of playful shit all these lines are coming from somewhere awful
meanwhile: Horatio. 5.1. ‘why may not imagination trace the noble dust of alexander…’Horatio’s response? ‘Twere to consider too curiously to consider so.’ HE GETS ITHE SEES THAT HAMLET ISN’T TALKING THEORETICALLY OR WHATEVER HE REALISES THAT HAMLET’S IN!!!! A REALLY!! BAD!!! PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and he says no that’d be weird; he gives him an out and says look mate are you okay? R+G say that dreams are ambition Horatio would have asked ‘what dreams? tell me about them.’ (cuddlytogas you are killing me)