Friday, January 23, 2009

Hamlet v.5 - Yorick's Revenge

Act 5
Scene 1

The scene opens with two guys digging a grave in a cemetery, and having a conversation about how could a person possibly get a christian burial considering she drowned herself. They come to the conclusion that because she was a "gentlewoman" that the rich folks can bury her as they like, suicide or not.

They then go on to a discussion about Adam and whether he used a shovel. (The Scripture says 'Adam digged:'could he dig without arms?) After a bit they see Hamlet and Horatio off in the distance, and one guy sends the other to fetch some alcoholic refreshment. The one left behind begins to sing while he digs. Hamlet hears the man singing and questions why the man is so happy. Horatio basically says its his job, he's relaxed, no big deal. The gravedigger continues to sing and tosses up a skull. Hamlet wonders about the skull, how it could be a politician or a beggar. The gravedigger, continuing his singing, tosses up yet another skull. Hamlet asks the gravedigger what man he digs for. The gravedigger tells him no man, Hamlet then asks what woman. The gravedigger says no woman, but someone who was a woman when she was alive. Hamlet fusses about the gravedigger being so absolutely literal and asks the gravedigger how long he has done that job. The gravedigger, not recognizing Hamlet, says he has done the job since King Hamlet overtook Norway, then goes on to gossip about Prince Hamlet being sent to England because he was mad.

Hamlet starts asking the gravedigger morbid questions about how long a person will last when they are buried before they rot away. The gravedigger tells him around 8 or 9 years. The gravedigger then finds another skull and tells Hamlet that it has been in the ground for 23 years. Hamlet asks who the skull belonged to. The gravedigger tells Hamlet that the skull belonged to Yorick, the king's jester. Hamlet remembers Yorick and goes on about what a good guy Yorick was. (Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy;)

Hamlet says its a shame to have such great men die and go to dust, only to have their dust be made up into something to patch a wall.

At that point the funeral procession comes along with Ophelia's body. Hamlet and Horatio are unaware of whose funeral it is, so step back into the shadows. Hamlet, hearing the service, realizes who is being buried. Laertes, in a fit of grief, leaps into the grave with Ophelia. Hamlet leaps in as well. Laertes then attacks Hamlet and they fight while still in the grave with Ophelia's body which, of course, causes an uproar at the funeral. Hamlet declares that he loved Ophelia, and his words are taken as coming from a madman. Hamlet leaves the funeral.

King Claudius asks Horatio to watch over Hamlet. He then reminds Laertes of their evil plan to kill Hamlet.

Scene 2 - The Climax

Hamlet and Horatio are back in the castle. Hamlet is telling Horatio about finding Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's orders from the King, still sealed, and that he found out that they are to lop off Hamlet's head when they get to England. Hamlet tells Horatio that he stole the original orders from the king and replaced it with fake orders, telling the people in England that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are to be put to immediate death. He tells Horatio that it was after this that he was kidnapped by the pirates, and that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern continued unknowingly to their fate.

Hamlet and Horatio discuss how horrible of a person King Claudius is (Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon-- He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother). Horatio reminds Hamlet that the King will soon know what happened to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

In comes Osric (new guy) to give Hamlet a message, but Hamlet gets distracted with the fact that Osric isn't wearing his hat. Osric tells Hamlet about the wager the King has on his head for sword play with Laertes. Hamlet asks what was wagered (6 horses against six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so). Hamlet agrees to the sword play.

Horatio tries to talk Hamlet out of the fight, saying he's going to lose. He tells Hamlet that he will go tell the King and Queen that he is not fit for the fight. Hamlet refuses and says he has been practicing with the sword so he should do okay.

The King and Queen and their attendants, and Laertes, and a small crowd of others all arrive for the sword play. The King puts Hamlet's hand in Laertes hand. Hamlet apologizes (sort of) to Laertes for all the wrongs he has done. They begin the sword play and Hamlet gets the first hit. The King urges Hamlet to come have a drink with him (what a git, remember he poisoned it), but Hamlet refuses.

Hamlet gets in another hit. The Queen grabs a cup of wine and takes a drink from it, and sees that Hamlet is out of shape and having trouble and sweating, so she goes on to urge him to take a drink (she took the poisoned cup), but Hamlet refuses the drink. The King realizes what she has done but knows it is too late to stop what has happened.

The sword play continues, Laertes gets a hit on Hamlet and cuts him, which results in a scuffle. Hamlet gets Laertes' sword from him and cuts Laertes. Laertes realizes what has happened and knows that he will now die from the poison on the sword.

Queen Gertrude collapses. King Claudius says she has just fainted from seeing the blood, but the Queen says no, it was the drink, it was poisoned. The Queen dies.

In a rage, and still unaware that he himself has been poisoned, Hamlet orders all the doors locked. Laertes confesses to Hamlet what he had done with the poison on the sword, and tells him he only has a few minutes to live, that there is no cure for the poison. He tells Hamlet that the King is to blame for all of it. Hamlet takes the poisoned sword and stabs the King with it.

The watching crowd is in an uproar and starts yelling of treachery. The King asks for them to defend him, as he is only injured. Hamlet forces the King to drink the wine that his mother had drank. (Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?) The King then dies.

Laertes, watching all of this, tells Hamlet that the King deserved what he got. He then tells Hamlet that he forgives him for everything. Laertes dies.

Hamlet, in his dying words, asks Horatio to let his story be known. A loud noise is outside and Hamlet asks what it is. Osric tells him that it is Fortinbras, on his way home from his conquest in Poland, and ambassadors from England. Hamlet knows that he will not live to speak to them, tells Horatio to tell Fortinbras everything, and that Fortinbras has the power to speak for him. Hamlet then dies.

Horatio is heartbroken over Hamlet's death. (Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!)

Fortinbras and the ambassadors come into the hall and see the dead bodies everywhere and asks what the heck is going on. One of the ambassadors say that they had come to deliver a message that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, but that anyone that it was to be told to are all dead as well. Horatio says to Fortinbras, "Boy do I have a story for you."

And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
How these things came about: so shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall'n on the inventors' reads: all this can I
Truly deliver.

Fortinbras tells him to tell his story quickly. He says that he has some rights in the kingdom and that he is claiming those rights (taking over as king, I think). He orders that the dead be taken away and that Hamlet is to be honored as a soldier.

The End


Larkin said...

Just for making me read that, I will not water your orchids today. You strange, strange little cookie.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Bravo! Encore!!

Why don't you parse Romeo and Juliet for Valentine's Day??

Deb said...

Ooooohhh Heart, that is a wonderful idea. I think I'll do it.

Yayyyy.. a good excuse to read more Shakespeare.