Saturday, March 15, 2008

Claudius has some good lines too.

I have, of late, and wherefore I know not, found a greater appreciation for the point of view of Claudius (the usurping king of Hamlet, not the eponymous character from I, Claudius). That's not strictly true, I guess. It's probably because I fairly recently watched Hamlet again and then also with the commentary by Branagh. Here's a bit that Claudius says near the beginning of the play:

Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father;
But you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness. 'Tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd;
For what we know must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd, whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
'This must be so.'