I’m renaming my book reviews to Johnson’s book club. That way I don’t have to clarify that I’m not really reviewing these books. I’m enjoying them, and talking about what I like about them.
That being said, let’s dive into it.
I enjoyed this book. I’m hopelessly lost when it comes to reading books in ye-old-English, but the parts that I understood more or less I really enjoyed.
It fascinates me how much of our modern language and even phrases come from Shakespeare. My favorites being, “To be or not to be” and “Get thee to a Nunnery!” I mean, I haven’t heard “Get thee to a Nunnery!” that much before, but I can guarantee that it’s going to be a thing from now on with me.
Shakespeare has a way of writing characters that really makes you feel connected with them. They are intense, emotional, and they say exactly what is on their mind. Some of the characters are more one dimensional than others, like Ophelia compared to Hamlet, but you can still see where the smaller characters are coming from, and relate with them.
Hamlet himself is obviously the most interesting and standout character. He’s got problems. His mom’s a hoe, his dad is dead, his uncle murdered his dad, you know stuff like that. Hamlet is the prince of Denmark though, so you know what they’d say in the middle-ages:
“MO PROVIDENCES MO PROBLEMS”
Shakespeare is the master at crafting characters that you want to listen to. You want to hear their opinions and feel their intensity. They each come from a different place emotionally, yet you still want to hear each and every one of them when they get up for their turn to speak.
Hamlet is meant to be performed. While I was reading it I imagined every character standing in the spotlight and speaking their lines. It really made me desire to go and see more plays. It’s a method of entertainment and expression that I hope never dies, because while it is similar to books, or television, or movies, or whatever, it’s really in a league of it’s own.
It’s a special art, I hope it is always with us, just like Shakespeare.