Saturday, 9 October 2010


The production I saw recently at the National Theatre was in modern dress (the Prince of Denmark was wearing a hoodie!) which I know isn't to everyone's taste....

And I know that director Nicholas Hytner changed some of the text....

But for me, as a first-timer at this play - it was an utterly captivating and moving performance. I loved it.

So I give you this enduring image of Sir Laurence Olivier with the skull of (poor) Yorick.

And leave you with the play's most famous soliloquy - which I now "get".

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

And wonder which is your favourite speech or quote from Shakespeare....


  1. My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.

  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful time, Sharon. Tough question but I think this is my favorite - from "Julius Caesar":

    "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."

  3. I add a qualifier - you have to name the play!
    So Ros, where is that luscious quote from?

    (And Dan, that is wonderful).

  4. I think that Shakespeare is the Alpha and the Omega, because everything he wrote was absorbed by every future writer. His message is universal: friendship, love, jealousy, death, madness, illness and sorrow were portrayed by his genius – and he also led a very ordinary life.
    Not as Giacomo Casanova (in Italy his name is synonymous of the art of seduction) the Venetian adventurer and writer whose life is such an incredible story!
    I think that Shakespeare was a great psychologist of human heart and mind and it’s hard to choose a single quote.
    Instead of comedies and tragedies, I’ll pick the words of my favourite sonnet (116).

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose Worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle's compass come;
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

    Sharon, there’s one the most beautiful scenes of the tragedy after the famous soliloquy you wrote, I’ll let you the link of another version. Glance at it!

  5. I love that sonnet too, Michela - and I agree, Shakespeare was a genius at understanding the deep gullies of the heart and mind.

  6. O, here
    Will I set up my everlasting rest,
    And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
    From this world, wearied flesh.
    Eyes, look your last.
    Arms take your last embrace.
    And lips, O You
    The doors of breath, seal with a righteouss kiss
    A dateless bargin to engrossing death!

    Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
    Divine xxx