Something tough about writing an essay about Shakespeare is that I get caught up in all these wonderfully arresting images. This one was so literally delicious that I had to stop and write about it… or at least that’s what I tell myself to feel better for procrastinating.
When Hamlet meets his school buddy Horatio at his home/castle in Elsinore, Denmark, Hamlet jokingly remarks, “We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart,” but seriously asks his friend why he is not back at school. On a more somber note, Horatio responds: “My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral.” In a classically emo retort, Hamlet responds: “I think it was to see my mother’s wedding.”
Hamlet’s not entirely wrong for being so snarky: his mother Gertrude marries her brother-in-law, Claudius, shortly after her husband, Hamlet Sr., mysteriously dies. The prince’s next remarks to Horatio are just so fantastic that they deserve to be in-set (normally a taboo for quotes with three or less lines, but I think taboo is what we’re going for!), and broadcasted across the Internet:
Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Wow. Showing, once again, his mastery of imagery, Shakespeare has managed to depict such a profound life-change in such a mundane way. It’s sad and it’s bitter, but Hamlet maintains control over the situation by joking about it.
Thanks for procrastinating with me today! Back to the grindstone for this bardolator!