Hamlet is prince of Denmark. His father has been dead two months and to his chagrin, his mother Queen Gertrude, has married his father's brother, Claudius. Hamlet's grief and despair knows no bounds as he witnesses this wedding on the heels of his father's funeral. As a result of his melancholic disposition, he suffers a rebuke from the new King.
But to persever in obstinate condolement is a courseBasically Claudius is saying, "stop grieving and move on." And that it is "unmanly" to be so despondent. "How dare Claudius judge Hamlet's grief", my reading voice retorts.
Of impious stubbornness. 'Tis unmanly grief.
It shows a will more incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschooled (I, II, 92-97)
When Hamlet is alone, we see the depths of his despair, wishing that suicide was not an act against God. I don't like reading this but understand that for centuries, the church taught that suicide was an unpardonable sin. We will see this again with the gravedigger's and priest's response to Ophelia's death.
Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,At the end of Act I, the ghost of Hamlet's father reveals to Hamlet that he has been murdered by Claudius. He wants his son to exact revenge for the loss of his life, wife and crown. In parting, he voices what all the dead would say: "Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me." I love Hamlet's response - his commitment to remembering his father.
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God, God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world! (I, II, 129-134)
Remember thee!"Remembering Josh" is the title of this blog - for a reason. "Running to Remember Josh" was printed on the backs of this year's marathon/half-marathon shirts purposefully. Is it too exaggerated to say that one of my life's ambition and goal is to remember my beloved son? No, I don't think so. It feels like a solemn, honorable duty - one that I could never tire of. It is why his pictures are still all over the house, why I have a tattoo of his name, in his handwriting on my arm, why I visit his gravesite every week and write a letter to him, why I sometimes wear his clothes.
Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter (I, V, 95-104).
As long as Josh is remembered, he stays alive.