Thursday, August 6, 2009


Tucked into a small town in central Maine is the Theater at Monmouth which each year brings Shakespeare's plays alive on the stage. Charlie and I try to go at least once over the summer.

Earlier this week we went to see Hamlet. My oldest daughter lived, breathed, dreamed and spoke fluent Hamlet throughout her sophomore year of high school and still counts it as her favorite play. Charlie, as a high school english teacher, teaches the play each year. So, over the years, in spite of myself, I have had quite a bit of passive Hamlet exposure.

The performance that we enjoyed on Tuesday night was very good and what struck me is how very familiar the words are--and how familiar the thoughts behind the words.

Here are some of my favorites:

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"

"Brevity is the soul of wit"

"Madness in great ones must not unwatched go"

"More matter, with less art"

"This above all, to thine own self be true"

What is especially interesting, is how often we hear some of the lines in everyday speech, perhaps with the speaker not even realizing where they originated.


KGMom said...

How can I resist a blog on the subject of Hamlet? When I teach lit at my community college (too rare an event)I teach Hamlet. Always interesting to see students' reactions.
Yes, many great lines that we have incorporated into our daily language.
I always mind it, though, when someone says--as Shakespeare says--and then quotes a line. I want to say--as whatever character says. "This above all to thine own self be true" being a prime example. Shakespeare is really showing how much Polonius--whose line it is--is a blowhard in advice giving.

Sharon said...

Glad you had this opportunity to enjoy Hamlet, the theater's building, too. Since there are no Shakespeare offerings in August here in Montana, I will have to content myself with Sir Laurence or Mel, or.....

Kathiesbirds said...

"Madness in great ones must not unwatched go?" This quote is great! It made me chuckle. Though I have seen Hamlet and I know some of the other quotes, somehow this one escaped me. What a delight!

Ruth said...

We have the Stratford Festival near our home, an entire town and theatre dedicated to all things Shakespeare. (they do other plays as well) I love live Shakespeare on the acoustic stage. I don't know who has has the best one-liners...Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde.