Hamlet: butterfliesanswheels.org

H/t butterfliesandwheels.org banner.

I’ve become fascinated with Hamlet. I watched a very dramatic film last year by Northern Ireland actor Kenneth Branagh to give me insight into a Shakespeare’s play, the latter of which are on the Irish Leaving Cert curriculum every year. Firstly, the reason for watching film, was because of being utterly afraid that I would never come to grips with the language. I wanted desperately to get over that hurdle.

When I first sat down in all earnest to read the play, I got such a fright at the complexity of the olde worlde language, and quickly closed the book and began to think that there was something seriously wrong with me that I could not comprehend what school-children were learning in secondary school. I was convinced that the nuns had to be right when they thought that the likes of me was not good enough to be educated. Simon Clare had the following to say in the comments here.

Simon Clare says: 

July 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm

My 11 year old daughter, *Aurora, is playing Gertrude in her school production tomorrow. I love how Hamlet has given us a prompt for discussing political expedience, humanism and poetry all in one car journey from Brighton to Ipswich.

I replied:

July 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm

“My 11 year old daughter, Aurora, is playing Gertrude in her school production tomorrow…”

Blimey, she must be a very smart girl – at only eleven years of age – to be playing Gertrude as it is such an adult role? I expect she’ll get to drink a nice glass of Ribena into the bargain.

 Every time the mere mention of Hamlet or Shakespeare plays and sonnets and novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte and Emily Jane Brontë were suggested to me for reading purposes. I just wanted to curl up in frustration. Don’t get me wrong. it wasn’t in any way that I didn’t want to read the books,- the opposite in fact was the truth. I wanted so dearly with all my heart’s desire to understand the complexities of the writings, but was so afraid that my dull mind wouldn’t be able to reach that depth of thinking. I was completely stuck.

I still have problems stepping out of early literacy levels and moving on to higher levels, but I’m getting there at a snail’s pace. I refuse to give up.

Most of my industrial *school* contemporaries never got the opportunity to take the first leap that I have taken with the help of my tutor, so I’m grateful to be climbing – not up the Goldenbridge ladder, but the one up to further education.

I still find it so difficult to cross the hurdle, but when I come across posts of this ilk from writers’ who are imbued with enthusiasm for the classics, such as Hamlet, they give me the inspiration to plod on with hope. I’ve now become enthralled with the works of Shakespeare. It’s so nice being attuned instead of out of tune to the bard.

H/t Ophelia Benson – has a very good discussion here on Hamlet.

Biggest thing: it’s not [just, or primarily] about A Guy Who Can’t Make Up His Mind. That’s become the boring soundbite about it, and it is very damn boring. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about a million things, and that one is more incidental than most of them.

It’s about everything. I think I mentioned when we were talking about Shakespeare before that I once developed a fascination with Hamlet, and spent several months reading/watching/listening to it and related things (the rest of the plays, other playwrights, Elizabethan writers in general, secondary stuff). That’s partly because it’s about everything.

Such as



Time, and the erosion of love over time

Grief and loss, obviously




romance, friendship





Appearances, and deception (or “seeming” as Shakespeare liked to call it).

“A man may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”








To think that had I not forced myself – with the help of others – to climb out of the big box I would not be privy to all the meaty, juicy psychological impassioned stuff that goes on in Hamlet.

Leaving Cert Play 2012 | Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin …

SHAKESPEARE, William – Hamlet

“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare [Kenneth Branagh Film 1996]

*Aurora (astronomy) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

3 Minutes: Hamlet – Séamus Kennedy


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