I have a confession to make: I’m not really a big fan of Shakespeare. Ever since first reading one of his works as a freshman in high school (Romeo and Juliet, naturally) I’ve had mixed feelings about the Bard. To be quite honest, none of the works I’ve read by him have really stuck with me in any meaningful way, probably because I haven’t felt a strong connection with any of the characters. There’s a part of me, though– that often annoying, pesky little voice that we all hear at one point or another– that insists that I should like Shakespeare. Some consider him the greatest playwright to have ever lived, and his works continue to entertain both readers and viewers and to influence our culture today.
Does my aversion to Shakespeare say something negative about my reading tastes? Does it somehow suggest that I’m unable to comprehend the brilliance of the Bard? What kind of uncultured swine am I?
In all seriousness, I feel as though sometimes people do judge me for my lack of interest in Shakespeare. I’ve learned to ignore it, though– he’s simply a writer, and as a reader I have the right to my own opinion about his work, whatever that opinion may be.
With all of that being said, let’s get down to the Hamlet business you came here for. I do understand the significance of this play, the reasons why it is so beloved and a popular favorite. Despite his apparent madness, Hamlet is undoubtedly a character to whom we can all relate with, at least to a certain extent. He’s indecisive and uncertain, thoughtful yet impulsive. Haven’t we all felt like Hamlet before, as if there are numerous paths we could take but they’re all shrouded in an opaque fog? I feel as though a flawed character is often easier to root for and connect with than a seemingly perfect one due to the obvious fact that none of us are without faults.
The story itself was interesting at some points and rather slow during others. My favorite parts were those involving supernatural elements, such as the apparition of Hamlet’s father. The rest of the play was entertaining enough to keep me reading, but it didn’t blow me away at all. I think my problem with Shakespeare is that the language doesn’t really click with me, and it takes me a while to figure out what he’s even trying to say. Perhaps I would enjoy his works more if I saw them performed rather than simply reading them on a page.
Overall, it’s clear that Hamlet is surely one of Shakespeare’s best works. Out of the few plays I have read by the Bard, it is one of my favorites. In the realm of my general bookish tastes, however, it’s not something that really appeals to me. I think it might warrant a reread in the future, but for now an ambiguous “see you later” will have to be enough.
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes. Apart from my own opinion of Shakespeare, I think Hamlet is still a worthwhile and valuable play to read. There are so many references to it in other works and even in our own modern culture (The Lion King, anyone?) that reading it is beneficial, at the very least.
What are your thoughts on Hamlet? Does anyone else share my lukewarm attitude toward Shakespeare? Let me know in the comments section below!