Things were uncomfortable at court. Claudius just knew it. He himself was rather comfortable, but he couldn't help but notice that Gertrude was ratherThings were uncomfortable at court. Claudius just knew it. He himself was rather comfortable, but he couldn't help but notice that Gertrude was rather less comfortable than he. In fact, he sensed that she was being made uncomfortable. Also, as a matter of fact, Claudius felt sure he knew who it was who was making her uncomfortable.
"Hamlet," he said, in an accepting voice, put on more for the benefit, or, rather, the neutralizing of his Queen, than for any effect it might have on the sullen Prince. "Hamlet, my sometime nephew and now my son ..."
Hamlet looked at him with the glint in his eyes which Claudius had come to conclude was going to be there from now on, whenever their eyes should meet.
"Hamlet!," continued Claudius, "How goes it with you?"
I announce first that I've only read about a third of Shakespeare's sonnets. But I do feel I may make a valid point. While the sonnets, with virtuallyI announce first that I've only read about a third of Shakespeare's sonnets. But I do feel I may make a valid point. While the sonnets, with virtually no varying texts, are very pure compared to the plays, which exist in many editions, nevertheless, Shakespeare's personality is stamped on the plays, not the sonnets. Okay, now that the scholars have stopped reading this review, let's tell the truth: As brilliant as the sonnets are, as carved in marble as they seem to be, if the plays didn't exist, would the sonnets give us even the faintest glimpse of the shrewd observer we all love? The sonnets are Shakespeare in his purest form, but there's something much more compelling about the plays, no matter how many variations exist in the wording. Yes, the plays have many passages in iambic pentameter and the sonnets are nothing if not iambic pentameter, but in the plays, Shakespeare gives us a world of action. Certainly there is something of a plot in the sonnets, but there's no tragedy, no comedy and there's never a moment in which the reader finds him or herself shouting, "Yes!" People who love the plays find themeselves practically jumping in the stands like sports fans when certain anticipations are met. Everybody is roused to bloodlust when Hamlet shouts "'Tis I, Hamlet, the Dane!" If there is a single moment in the sonnets to compare with that, then, by God, I'll read the latter two-thirds of the SONNETS. But not yet. William Shakespeare is the prime mover of literature in English. It is he who lifted the boulders, hewed the rock and gave us ourselves in monument. But he did it as a playwright. As with Joyce's PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, Shakespeare's sonnets are deeply personal and tell us much about the psychology of the author. But with no ULYSSES on the shelf, the PORTRAIT would be ignored. Without HAMLET, KING LEAR, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM or any number of other plays by Shakespeare, Shakespeare's sonnets would not be on anybody's mind. ...more