I’d like to add a note to my definition of a classic. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I think a classic is a book that is widely accepted of being noteworthy. I also strongly believe that a classic book is one that never stops speaking to you–it’s that book you can open many times and still learn something.
I have read many books that I would consider classics of this sort–books that keep teaching me long after I’ve finished reading them. One of the greatest of these is Hamlet. I love Shakespeare anyways, but for some reason Hamlet has a special place in my heart. I’m not sure that it’s my favorite play, but I’m getting closer to admitting that it is!
Every time I read Hamlet, it grows in its ability to speak to me as a reader. I’ve read it for several years in a row now, and it’s becoming one of my favorite yearly traditions. I don’t have much to say about the content of this play that hasn’t been said before. If you want to know more, just google it–you’ll get 51,100, 000 results (in .40 seconds!).
This time around I was struck mainly by the deep, deep sadness of the play.
It seems strange to say I was struck by the sadness of one of the greatest tragedies in the English language (Shouldn’t that be a given? Everybody dies! It’s sad!), but I was. I think the events of my personal life this past summer made me appreciate Hamlet’s loss of his father in a new way. He doesn’t seem so overly moody or disconsolate–he has suffered a great loss. That sadness was tangible throughout the play, even when Hamlet is witty and punny.
I’m sure as I think about it more I will be able to articulate my thoughts more fully. More to come on Shakespeare and why we should pay attention to him!