I’ve never read a Shakespeare play other than Romeo and Juliet in freshman year in high school. Going in, I expected Hamlet to be a copy of the plot in Lion King. However, it really wasn’t! They have some small similarities, sure, but I think both of them are great works that stand well on their own. I guess that’s a good thing, since I’m not sure how people would’ve reacted if everyone suddenly dropped dead in the last 10 minutes of The Lion King.
The play was definitely hard to read; the literature had difficult grammar, concepts, and words and I basically read it all out loud in order to avoid skipping through anything important. I definitely still missed a lot of the important plot points, which I was thankfully able to catch up on through a quick read through the Wikipedia synopsis.
Something that really struck me about Hamlet was how relatable the play was. I didn’t expect to find any point of the play funny, but parts of it were actually humorous, even today! It’s pretty interesting that humor can extend to over 400 years. On top of that, the treacherous nature of King Claudius made me angry, especially in the way that he behaves–it definitely evoked a lot of the same emotions that I feel when I see a villain in a modern-day film. It’s something that raises interesting questions about the type of similarities throughout centuries that people harbor, as a society.
Hamlet was a pretty likeable character, and some of his soliloquies actually make you stop and think for a bit regarding the frailty and short nature of human life. He struggles throughout the whole play on whether or not to kill Claudius. I didn’t notice this during the play as I took it to be logical; however, I read that most critics say that Hamlet’s hamartia was his indecisiveness in leaping towards action.
One of the “what the hell” reactions I had during the play was when Hamlet changes the King’s message to state that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern should be executed in England. It’s something I didn’t expect and definitely shows a more brutal side towards Hamlet. In addition, I have to say that it’s pretty unfortunate that Hamlet ends up killing people that really aren’t his intention to kill until the very end where he plunges his sword into Claudius, only to die moments later. Hamlet’s a tragedy, through and through, and it’s the characters that let it shine.