Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ghost 2

Throughout the play, the Ghost is viewed by various characters alternately as an illusion, a portent foreshadowing danger to Denmark (“strange eruption to our state”), a spirit returning from the grave because of a task left undone, a spirit from purgatory, and a devil who assumes the form of a dead person to lure mortals to doom ­ i.e., religious, supernatural and pagan.

It’s interesting to give some weight to the ‘devil’ notion, especially in light of the ending of the play. What if Hamlet was simply deceived, tricked into losing his soul that fateful night that spelled the beginning of the end? Revenge certainly isn’t a Christian concept, and especially as a student at a theological university he would be well aware of that. What if then, as some theorists would have it, Hamlet was set up, possessed, as Jonathan Pryce played him, by a demon who sought revenge and Hamlet was his surrogate?

It makes sense in a certain way but it isn't dramatic. It takes free will away from Hamlet and the Aristotelian tragic flaw. Also, practically, it doesn't explain why the Ghost would come back in the closet scene, of all scenes. Hamlet is already poised to carry out the revenge at that point, having just tested the Ghost's assertions and proven them to be true. Why bother coming back?

What's more interesting is the other imperative the Ghost gives Hamlet besides revenge: Remember me. There is some eloquent thought about that to be found, including that Hamlet's vacillation comes from weighing one against the other... But not tonight.

... Hey, the festival schedule is up at the Brick site. As well as a link to this blog. Alright you guys, are you gonna keep me hanging out here on this limb by myself?!?

No comments: