Monday, October 29, 2012

Bad Shakespeare Election Guide: Hamlet

                 We are a week away from our elections. (I hope you are registered to vote.) Little is known about what William Shakespeare might think of our modern Politicians, outside of writing a witty play. His plays certainly contained politicians, that much is true, but the fact that they were politicians second, and people with real problems first. One of the only lines that actually refers to a politician comes from Hamlet:

“this might be the pate of a
politician, which this ass now o'erreaches; one that would
circumvent God, might it not?” (V.i)

And let’s keep in mind that he’s literally digging through skulls in that scene, and its most famous for the “alas Poor Yorick” speech. But Shakespeare didn’t say much about politics other than a general distain for them, an attitude that hasn’t changed much in 400 years. But how would his characters fare if an election was held today?

                Fortunately, Bad Shakespeare is here to help you all this week with a handy guide to Shakespeare’s politicians.

Name: Hamlet

Occupation: Prince of Denmark; playwright; freelance detective; dueler.

The Rundown: Prince Hamlet of Denmark suffered a great loss at an early age when his father was killed. Not content to stay dead like most other murdered fathers, King Hamlet (his father) came back to life, pinned it all on his brother and mother (who were now married). We didn’t see him do much “leading” during the time of the play, nor was it implied that at any point that he did any leading that didn’t involve people going to their death. He didn’t take any strong positions on many things, but he was exceptionally strong on crime. Died tragically when he was run through with a poison sword, but not before driving his girlfriend to kill herself, brutally stabbing a man, and inadvertently poisoning his mother.

Why Wouldn’t He Be Elected Today: Well, let’s face it, there’s a good chance that talking to your dead father and trying to coax the truth out of him with a damning play doesn’t spell “sanity” in the mind of the voters. 

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