I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

since brevity is the soul of wit, i will be brief

I love Grade 9 homeschooling. We get to cover cool topics, and A has just finished her unit on Shakespeare's Hamlet. As her final work on it, I had her choose a speech and rewrite it in modern language. This was to be done in two stages. The first, a line-by-line translation, came out as follows:

O that this too too sullied flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter. O God, God,
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on’t, ah, fie, ‘tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this,
But two months dead, nay, not so much, not two,
So excellent a king, that was to this
Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother
That he might now beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her faced too roughly. Heaven and earth,
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on, and yet within a month –
Let me on think on’t ; frailty, thy name is woman –

A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father’s body
Like Niobe, all tears, why she, even she –

O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourned longer – married with my uncle,
My father’s brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules. Within a month,
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her gall├ęd eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good.
But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.

Oh, if only my body could melt away,
And just disappear.
Or that God had not set
His laws against suicide – Oh, God
How useless, worn out and boring
The world seems to me.
Dammit! It’s like an unweeded garden
That’s left there, and choking, ugly things

Grow in it. That it’s come down to this:

My father has barely been dead two months.

He was a great king! Compared to my uncle,
Like a sun god to a grungy animal.
He cared for her
So much, he wouldn’t even let the wind
Be too rough on her face. Oh my God,

Must I remember? She would follow him

As if her love for him swelled
From his presence, not his absence, but within one month –
I can’t stop thinking about it; my mother is such a hypocrite –
The clothes she wore aren’t even old,
From when she attended my father’s funeral,

Constantly crying, she was constantly crying and yet -
Oh God, a creature without any sense of reason
Would have mourned longer – married to my uncle,
Who, although my father’s brother, is no more like my father
Than I am like a demigod. Only one month,
Before the sting of false tears,
Had left her eyes,
She married. The speed was wicked, to go
So quickly into incestuous marriage.
This has not and will not do us any good.
But alas, nothing I say can change it now.

We'd had to do some research on the references (like Niobe), but I was pleased with her understanding. The second stage had me laughing, when I said to boil it all down and give me a very modern version of it. It was as follows:



Shakespeare, meet the Twitter version...