21 November, 2006

The play's the thing

In later years we would see great actors play Hamlet. We saw Hamlets who stripped and flagellated themselves, Hamlets who groped Horatio, Hamlets who had epileptic fits. Not one of them was a patch on a gangling Australian boy who did nothing but say the words as simply and as thoughtfully as he could.

Germaine Greer over at the Guardian Unlimited Arts Blog on the importance of letting Shakespeare speak for himself. I agree. Why try to interpret perfection?


Vi said...

Hm, that's assuming that shakespeare is 'perfection', because I don't think it is. Hamlet is, of course, one of my favorite (and perhaps, the only) play from Shakespeare that I can actually enjoy, but after years of English teachers trying to stuff it into us...it has lost its appeal.

Falstaff said...

vi: Hamlet is the only Shakespeare play you enjoy?? Really? No Lear, no Macbeth? No Midsummer Night's Dream? No Tempest? (to pick just the first four that came into my head). I feel very, very sorry for you.

Usha said...

Genius or no genius, Shakespearean is a sum of interpretations.
I am with Barthes here- the author only creates the ground for meaning, we who read it interpret it.
Writing is not a recording, closed and complete..it only starts a trail of meaningful association and signification.

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