This week’s Photo Friday was quite a challenge for me. “The observed of all observers” is a line taken from “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. I will admit to you that I have never read “Hamlet”. In fact, the only work of Shakespeare’s that I have read in its entirety is “Romeo and Juliet”, and that was in the 7th grade. I have been ignorant of even the basic plotline. All I could connect with the play is a skull (a talking one perhaps?), a murdered father, and a couple of quotes that I’ll probably get completely wrong: “out damn spot”, and “get thee to a nunnery”. As “Hamlet” is Shakespeare’s longest play, and as I only had a week to put this post together, I didn’t think I’d have time to read the whole thing in order to glean inspiration. Ergo, I figured I’d read a synopsis or two. Which I did.
Kind of a depressing play!!! Hamlet is a king. The king of Denmark. His son is also named Hamlet. Hamlet’s (the prince’s) father is killed. A ghost identifies the murderer as the king’s brother, Claudius. Claudius marries Hamlet’s mother. Hamlet is torn by wanting to exact revenge, but isn’t sure if the ghost is the best source of information. He feigns mental instability while trying to figure out what to do. Hamlet is depressed. His feigned mental instability becomes real. Claudius’ most trusted advisor is Polonius. Hamlet loves Polonius’ daughter Ophelia. Hamlet kills Polonius in a case of mistaken identity. Ophelia is depressed. Hamlet is disgusted by Ophelia’s immodest behavior and spurns her. Ophelia is depressed. Ophelia commits suicide. Hamlet’s mother dies when she drinks poisoned wine meant for someone else. Hamlet dies at the point of a poisened blade but manages to finally kill Claudius before breathing his last. He also manages to make someone called Fortinbras his heir to the throne. Fortinbras orders Hamlet’s body to be carried off in honor. The end.
The line which is our assignment was taken from the words of Ophelia about Hamlet after he tells her to get to a nunnery:
O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck’d the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch’d form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Yeah. I’m with you. I’m not exactly what it means, either. She sounds like a girl who’s pretty upset that her wacked out boyfriend broke up with her, even if he is wacked out.
What to do????!!!
We have murder, love, rage, insanity, plots, war, incest, hatred, ghosts, poison, immodesty and all manner of other grim and dark elements.
Which leaves me trying to figure out how to capture ANY of this in a photo!
I wrote all of the above nearly a week ago. I am nearly inspirationless still, and this “assignment” is due! The only thing I kept thinking about all week long was my college days. My dorm room was up in the dormers on the fourth floor. They were the coolest of all the rooms in our building, called “East Hall”. The rooms on our floor faced towards a hill which led up to one of the boys’ dorms, and overlooked the parking lot. We learned a lot, and kept tabs on a lot, just by occasinally paying attention to what was going on outside, by observing, if you will. 🙂
Most of us in this little enclave suffered from more than the average amount of boyfriend drama, though perhaps not as much drama as Ophelia apparently endured. I’d only been there about a month before the drama got to be almost hilarious. We all decided that we’d rather live in a convent than have to deal with boys. “Get thee to a nunnery” became our motto, our battle cry. We called our little wing of rooms “the convent” and swore off boys. We bought matching baseball shirts and had them personalized, just for our “team”. The swearing off of boys didn’t last long, but the convent lived on. It’s probably still the convent to this day.
I happened across that shirt a few weeks ago. That’s probably why it’s the only thing I could think of for this entry. So, instead of something creative, this is what you get….the official “convent” shirt of Houghton college:
This post was so much more about the story than the picture! I’ll do better next week, I promise!
Click HERE to link to the site of Photo Friday’s hostess to check out the other entries for this week!
Next week’s assignment? Pathos.