Lord Larry Was a Lousy Hamlet

images-2.jpgSeveral years ago I suggested to my daughter, who was in High School and reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet, that perhaps she should speculate on whether Claudius was actually the bad guy in the play. Did Claudius interpret Hamlet’s activities (especially the play-with-the-play) as evidence that his crime was known or perhaps that Hamlet was planning to kill the new king, Claudius himself? Should we trust the ghost on the parapets?

As I said, it was speculation and should have resulted in a lot of careful reading of the play looking for clues and interpretations to support this alternate hypothesis. When I was at university it was made clear to me that in the humanities, having the right answer was less important than clearly representing the supporting evidence.

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Nutshell

I heard that you should have a general knowledge of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to fully enjoy and benefit from reading Ian McEwan’s novel, Nutshell. Let’s see: a brother and his brother’s wife conspire to kill the married brother and assume the marriage rites for themselves. But the wife is pregnant and her very well spoken unborn child (the narrator) is against the murder plot and has a lot of thoughts on the nature of existence even before the mother’s water breaks.

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The Plot Thickens

I notice that several searches that reach this site are asking for the plot to one of the books I read or mentioned (like in my Bookshelves). I associate these searches with young students, Junior High or below, that are either trying to avoid reading the  book in question or are looking for some authorization for what they want to say but are not yet comfortable with their own opinions and analysis.

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