Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Hamlet"

I finished reading Shakespeare's Hamlet today, and I'm interested in the balance between royalty and the church, and the issue of classism.

SPOILERS

The first scene of act 5 opens with a grave being dug for Ophelia. Ophelia has just drowned, and there is some question about whether her drowning was an accident or suicide.

Because of the uncertainty of whether or not Ophelia's drowning was suicide, there is some question about whether or not she should be given a Christian burial. But she is given a Christian burial because she's noble. As one of the gravediggers says:
"If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial."
That, right there, is classism. Also, it seems that royalty was able to push the church around (at least in the play -- I'm refraining from talking religion in this post) because the priest doesn't seem very happy later in the scene, when Ophelia is being placed in the ground. He says:
"Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranties. Her death was doubtful;
And but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctioned have lodged
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers,
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her.
Yet here she is allowed her virgin rites,
Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

[...]

No more be done."
Perhaps I'm getting a little overexcited, but I'd like to take a look at particular lines and comment on them.

She should in ground unsanctioned have lodged -- The priest here says that she should not be buried with the other Christians. As I said earlier, the church is getting pushed around by the royal family.

Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her. / Yet here she is allowed her virgin rites, -- I guess the priest knew that she had been Hamlet's lover, and isn't happy that she didn't lead a very moral life (in his opinion) and that on top of that she's being treated as a virgin after her death.

No more be done. -- It seems to me like he's saying that he's done more than he should already.

Quite interesting. Or anyways, it is to me. And it's my favorite scene in the play.

No comments:

Labels

a book turned into something else (11) adult (67) Alaya Dawn Johnson (2) Andre Norton (1) Andy MacDonald (1) Angie Sage (5) Anita Diamant (3) Anne McCaffrey (3) Aric McKeown (2) art (2) audio book (10) Avi (1) banned / challenged books (7) Bible (8) Bill Amend (1) Bill Martin Jr. (1) Bill Wisher (1) book mending (1) book review (23) book signings (1) Brendan Fraser (1) Brian Jacques (7) C.S. Lewis (3) captive narrative (2) Caroline B. Cooney (2) Catherine Murdock (1) Charles Dickens (1) Charles Vess (4) Charlotte Brontë (1) chart / diagram / whatever (3) Cheryl Schwartz (1) children's lit (1) Chris Speyer (2) Christopher Paolini (27) classism (2) comedy (1) comedy (drama) (2) comics (4) Cornelia Funke (6) correcting myself (1) cover art (7) Cynthia Kadohata (2) D.H. Lawrence (1) Dan Brown (1) Daniel L. Schacter (2) Daniel Loxton (1) Daniel M. Wegner (2) Daniel T. Gilbert (2) David Abram (3) David C. Cook (1) David Levithan (1) Debora Geary (1) Diana Hacker (1) Doug Mauss (3) Douglas Adams (2) Dr. Seuss (1) dragons (3) drama (10) dreams (6) dreams / visions (7) dystopian (1) E.M. Forster (1) early books / book binding / book history / etc. (1) Emily Dickinson (1) environment (1) Eoin Colfer (10) Eric Carle (1) Ernest Hemingway (2) essay (4) Esther M. Friesner (1) fairy tale retold (1) fan art (7) fantasy (126) fantasy -- historical (2) fantasy -- urban (4) fiction (46) fiction -- historical (1) Frank Herbert (4) Fritz Klein (1) G. B. Trudeau (1) gaming (1) Gardner Dozois (4) Garth Nix (8) gender roles (2) Geoff Dyer (2) George Orwell (1) Geronimo Stilton (1) graphic novel (13) H. G. Wells (2) Hank Green (1) Harper Lee (1) Herman Melville (2) historical fantasy (7) historical fiction (29) Hollis Shiloh (1) horror (2) Hugo Petrus (1) humor (2) inconsistencies (4) it ain't real syndrome (2) J. Jacques (1) J. K. Rowling (9) J.D. Salinger (1) J.R.R. Tolkien (8) Jack Dann (4) Jack London (1) James Clavell (7) James Hutchings (1) Jane Austen (15) Jaroslav Pelikan (1) Jean Cassels (1) Jeanne DePrau (1) Jeff Smith (7) Jen Delyth (1) Jenny Erpenbeck (2) Jim Butcher (12) Jim Smiley (1) Joanne Bertin (1) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1) John Green (8) John R. Erickson (4) John William Waterhouse (1) Jonathan Stroud (3) Juliet Marillier (13) just me rambling (2) juvenile lit (17) K.A. Applegate (2) Kage Baker (1) Kelly McCullough (2) kids literature (2) Kirby Larson (1) Kristen Britain (8) L.M. Montgomery (1) Lem Pew (2) Leo Tolstoy (1) Leslie Silko (4) LGBTQIA (9) LHoD (32) Llewellyn (1) Louise Erdrich (3) made me cry (2) magic (8) manga (1) Marion Zimmer Bradley (1) Mark Twain (1) Mary E. Pearson (1) Mary Nethery (1) masks (1) Meg Cabot (3) memoir (2) Mercedes Lackey (2) Michael Walters (1) movies (13) music / video (7) music / youtube (12) my crushes on fictional characters (7) my predictions (14) mystery (2) mythology (1) names (3) Nancy Butler (1) Nancy Resnick (1) Naomi Novik (2) narrator review (2) Nathaniel Hawthorne (2) Nathaniel Parker (1) Native American (9) natural disasters (1) nature / wildlife (1) non fiction (24) Nora Roberts (1) Northrop Frye (2) notes (6) Octavia E. Butler (1) Pam Jenoff (1) Pamela Frierson (7) Paul M. Kramer (1) Peggy V. Beck (1) Peter S. Beagle (1) pets / animals (4) Philip Pullman (2) poetry (10) questions (16) Rachel Pollack (1) racism (9) Randa Abdel-Fattah (2) Randall Frakes (2) Ray Bradbury (2) reading challenges (12) reading list (3) Rebecca Z Shafir (2) reference book (1) religion / spirituality (11) religion / spirituality / mythology (15) Rick Riordan (8) Robert A. Heinlein (4) Robert Frost (1) Robert M. Pirsig (2) romance (13) Ruth S. Noel (1) Sappho (1) Sarah Darer Littman (3) science fantasy (5) science fiction (66) Sergio Cariello (3) Seth Grahame-Smith (1) sexism (1) sexual violence (2) Shakespeare (13) Sharon Olds (1) Shaun Hutson (1) Sherman Alexie (9) Shirley Jackson (1) short story (5) signed book (1) six word novels (1) Stephenie Meyer (12) Susan Cooper (1) Susan Fletcher (1) Suzanne Collins (1) Tamora Pierce (44) Taylor Mali (1) Terminator (9) Terry Pratchet (3) textbooks (1) Thanhha Lai (1) Tim Curry (1) Tim Hamilton (1) Tom Fischbach (1) totally random (1) tragedy (drama) (5) translated literature (8) Trudi Canavan (1) urban fantasy (9) Ursula K. le Guin (47) vampires (2) Vanessa Sorensen (1) Victor Hugo (1) Virtual Read-Out (2) visions (3) werewolves (3) what I'm reading (9) what's on my nightstand (1) writing to an author (1) written for school (8) Yevgeny Zamyatin (3) young adult (61) Zack Whedon (1)