H2016: Juxtaposing Speeches

Tonight we’ll be blocking the latter part of “Scene 1,” which is our nomenclature for Hamlet’s 1.2. It’s the section after Claudius and the court have exited, and Hamlet soliloquizes (more briefly, in our script), then receives news of the Ghost via Horatio and Marcellus. It’s an exposition-heavy scene, although it’s made a bit more…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 52-54

BARNARDO: How now, Horatio! you tremble and look pale: Is not this something more than fantasy? What think you on’t? Following the Ghost’s first exit, Barnardo turns the scene’s focus back to the subject of fantasy, a word first used in line 22 (you remember line 22? Back in February?). Even though it was Marcellus…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 50-51

HORATIO: Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak! Exit Ghost. MARCELLUS: ‘Tis gone, and will not answer. With this post, I have managed to make my way through 50 lines of Hamlet. But this is not an occasion for celebrating; I just need to tuck my head down and keep analyzing, if I’m ever going…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 44-48

BARNARDO: It would be spoke to. MARCELLUS:                                  Speak to it, Horatio. HORATIO: What art thou that usurp’st this time of night, Together with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty of buried Denmark Did sometimes march? By heaven, I charge thee speak. When last we left our supporting cast — Barnardo the Paranoid,…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Line 43

HORATIO: Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder. I love this line. It’s not one of those bottomless Shakespearean mystery lines, like “Life’s but a walking shadow” or “Our revels now are ended,” but it conveys a wonderful image while also revealing something about the character who speaks it. Modern ears will be…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Line 42

BARNARDO: Looks it not like the king? Mark it, Horatio. Here we go again: two lines ago, Barnardo pointed out to Horatio (or, more importantly, to the audience) that the Ghost resembles “the King that’s dead.” And a whopping one line ago, Marcellus urged, “speak to it, Horatio.” The latter is not quite the same…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Line 41

MARCELLUS:Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio. At this point, your humble author reveals how rusty his research skills have become. Although I read Hamlet on my own in Grade 10, I didn’t study it until Grade 11. My teacher, Robin Carson, was enormously knowledgeable and articulate, to the point that I can still…

Line by Line: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 34-37

BARNARDO: Last night of all, When yond same star that’s westward from the pole Had made his course t’illume that part of heaven Where now it burns… I’m splitting Barnardo’s brief narrative into two parts so I can linger on the astronomical implications. Barnardo’s first line, “last night of all,” probably just means “only last…