Thursday, November 08, 2007

To Post or Not to Post...

That is the question...

I am currently teaching Hamlet right now to my Grade 12 English students (hence the "to be or not to be" motif here...).

Hamlet's chief tragic flaw is his inability to "act"... Similarly, I am unable to blog. To blog or not to blog... However, I was sufficiently prodded by Barb (and perhaps, The Bard).

Hamlet is, by far, the greatest Shakespearean play. The line, "To be or not to be" is the most quoted phrase in English language. The play has been performed more than any other play in the world. It has been translated more than any other play and "it has inspired twenty-six ballets, six operas, and dozens of musical works" ("Hamletology" by Norrie Epstein).

In this most remarkable play, Hamlet ponders the quintessential question for humanity: "What is man?" or, "What is the meaning of life?" In the next blog post, I will share Hamlet's musings on the subject.


Barbara said...

Hurray!!! I am good for something. I am always torn by which Hamlet movie I like best. I mean can Mel Gibson really do Hamlet? Of course we all love Kenneth Brannagh so much more. But then if it weren't for Mel's version I'd never get to see my "oh I wish I looked/acted/spoke like her" heroine Helena Bonham Carter, (and yes that might just be a girl name I use sometime) be the perfect Ophelia. But then in Kenneth's version, well, Kate Winslet was pretty stunning as well, and she even sang so WOW. See? entirely torn. Perhaps your lovely family can come over and we can watch them back to back to compare....that would guarantee at least a 7 hour visit. :-)

Jeremy W. Johnston said...

For the most part, I am a fan of Branagh's version. However, I think Mel's handling of the "to be or not to be" speech is a better performance. I also find Robin Williams, Jack Lemon, Gerard Depardieu, and Billy Crystal all obtrusive in their roles in Branagh’s version. Their fame overshadows their roles. Have you ever watched the Ethan Hawk version with Bill Murray as Polonius? It is modernized setting with original language. I started watching it once and was so bored I turned it off, never to finish.

Apparently there are over film forty versions of Hamlet, including a spaghetti western called Johnny Hamlet… Maybe we could watch that one too.

Barbara said...

40 film versions....hmmm. That's too long for one visit. I guess we'll just have to build a great big commune and invite all of our Shakespeare loving friends to come and live with us and then we can't sit and watch whenever we like.

And by the way, did you know that my absolute favourite Shakespeare plays are Taming of the Shrew (because I'm so shrewish) and Othello (especially the time Dianne tried to act it out on Cheers...remember? Just so you know. These are deep and important things about me! ;-)

AllyJo said...

I just found your nice blog and I hope you will share more on Hamlet. I will be teaching it this coming semester.

onfire said...

well, I am not so sure that Hamlet is my favourite, having acted in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Western. and that was also the year that I read thirteen of his plays (only thirteen because fifteen were on the final and if I left out two I could be assured of not forgetting the plots) I can say that my boys are really loving the tuesday shakespeare tea ... where we drink tea, eat sugary things and I read aloud from lamb's tales from shakespeare.
they love him.

Jeremy W. Johnston said...

Hey Allyjo,

Thanks for stopping by... I hope to be a better blogger and write more about Hamlet... I really love this play!

Hey onfire,

You inspired me to blog... finally... although I think it is a wordy post.

I should actually be marking exams to give back on Monday... Blogging seemed like more fun.