CR Episode 195: Hamlet, Act III

Hamlet Stabs Polonius
Hamlet Stabs Polonius

Download Link: Released on 2 October 2023

The panel reads Act III of Hamlet with attention to Hamlet’s feigned (or semi-feigned) madness, his suicidal or existentially fatalistic attitude, and the instability and even fatal measure of his interactions with Ophelia, Polonius, and Queen Gertrude.

One comment

  1. Hamlet describes the ghost of King Hamlet as “Hic et ubique” (here and everywhere).

    Ishmael describes Moby Dick as being ubiquitous in space and time. These two ubiquitous beings sometimes intersect.

    Lo, I hath seen the white whale in Hamlet!

    One version of Hamlet is in the First Folio.
    In Ishmael’s whale classification, the sperm whale is the First Folio whale.

    In Extracts: “Very like a whale.” – Hamlet
    (Act 3: Polonius pretending to see the same cloud Hamlet is pretending to see).

    Act 1: Hamlet to Claudius: “O villain, villain, smiling damned villain!
    Stubb to Moby Dick: “I grin at thee, thou grinning whale!

    Act 3: The Starbuck/Hamlet moment when they stand armed outside a room debating whether or not to kill Ahab/Claudius. Their failure to act
    results in disaster.

    Act 3: Hamlet compares the face of King Hamlet, who has the front of Jove, to the face of Claudius, who looks like a mildewed ear.
    Ishmael compares the head of a sperm whale, which looks like a Roman war chariot, to the head of a right whale, which looks like an inelegant
    gigantic shoe.

    And only one shall live to tell the tale – Horatio and Ishmael.

    If Moby Dick was a play, Hamlet could be cast to play Ishmael, Ahab, Starbuck, or Stubb, because his character is so complex that it has echoes in all of them. I can’t see him playing Queequeg, however. Perhaps this would be a good role for Fortinbras?

    For Moby Dick enthusiasts: Sign up for the New Bedford Whaling Museum Moby Dick Marathon is open from Oct 6th to Nov 1st. The marathon takes place from Jan 5th to 7th, 2024. They always have more volunteers than chapters, so readers are chosen in a lottery. I really hope Patrick Stewart is the celebrity chosen to read the first chapter, because he has played Ahab as well as King Hamlet (and Claudius and Horatio), and a Starship Captain.

    O< O< O<


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