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Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.
Today I’m going to talk about William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.
Hamlet is a tragedy. A tragedy is a kind of play – basically that has a sad outcome.
It’s Shakespeare’s longest play and probably his most well-known play.
I’m going to try and give you a brief summary.
Hamlet is the prince of Denmark.
And at the start of the play his father, who was the King of Denmark, has just died.
And his uncle has become king and got married to his mother.
So his uncle hooked up with his dead brother’s wife. And they got together pretty fast.
And Hamlet is not happy about this.
So, Hamlet’s not happy. And then a ghost appears. The ghost is the dead King, Hamlet’s dad. The first time he appears it’s in front of two staff members and he doesn’t say anything.
But the second time it’s in front of Hamlet. And he tells Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother. And he tells Hamlet to get revenge.
So Hamlet plans to do this. And he decides to confirm his uncle’s guilt by organizing a play of the story of the murder.
When Hamlet’s uncle sees the play he’s shocked and he leaves half way through. So, by his reaction, Hamlet knows he’s obviously guilty.
So Hamlet decides to kill him. And he goes to kill him … but he finds his uncle praying and he thinks mmm if I kill him now then he’ll go to heaven and he’s so evil that he should go to hell … so maybe I’ll do it later.
And then he goes to talk to his mother about the ghost and the murder and the evil uncle and stuff. And when they’re talking, he hears a noise behind a curtain. And he thinks it’s his uncle so he stabs the person and he kills him.
But it’s not his uncle. It turns out it’s actually his girlfriend’s father. I don’t know if it’s girlfriend actually, anyway love interest or something. Her name is Ophelia.
And after that everything gets even worse. Ophelia goes mad with grief and dies in a river.
And then finally Hamlet’s uncle tries to get him killed in a sword fight which is a set up – and almost everyone ends up dying.
The most famous quote from the play is: to be, or not to be.
It’s from Act III, scene I.
Hamlet isn’t happy and he’s deciding whether or not to commit suicide.
Well that’s the usual interpretation anyway.
To be means to live. And not to be means to kill myself
To be or not to be, that is the question—Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,And by opposing, end them.
And my personal favorite quote is from scene 2:
When Hamlet says: there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
What happens is that Hamlets friends come to see him and he says Denmark’s a prison.
And they say – we don’t think so.
And he’s like well then it’s not for you but for me it is because it all depends on your perspective.
Kia ora, in Stick News today a court of appeal in the United States has found that a judge was wrong to punish a girl for comments she wrote on MySpace.
Last year a teenage girl wrote comments on MySpace criticizing her school’s policy.
Her principal found the comments and a court decided they were obscene and that she was a delinquent child. Her punishment was nine months of probation.
Probation means that instead of going to jail, a person has to live by certain conditions under the supervision of a probations officer.
The teenage girl disagreed with the sentence.
According to the Associated Press, she argued that her comments were protected political speech under both the state and the federal constitutions because they dealt with school policy.
The Court of Appeals agreed with the girl. They called her AB in court and the judge said: “While we have little regard for AB’s use of vulgar epithets, we conclude that her overall message constitutes political speech.”
And that was Stick News for Wednesday the 11th of April.
conversations with sarah
#212 Have you ever seen Hamlet?
Step 1: Repeat Kim’s lines.
Step 2: Read Kim’s lines and talk to Sarah.
Sarah Have you ever seen Hamlet?
Kim No, have you?
Sarah Yeah, three times actually.
Kim In New Zealand?
Sarah Ah, once in New Zealand and twice in Japan.
Kim Which one was the best performance?
Sarah They all had their good and bad points.
Kim When you saw it in Japan, was it in English?
Sarah The first time it was – that was when I went and saw it at a university. It was really well done – but it was quite a small production. And the second time I saw it was at the Bunkamura. That was really good … except for the ending.
Kim What happened?
Sarah All these guys came … suddenly came running into the theatre wearing balaclavas and holding massive guns. It was really scary. I have no idea what the director was thinking. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the rest of the play.