"A king of shreds an patches--" I yell, for the umpteenth time. A king that is not twentieth part the tithe of your precedent lord--- a king of shreds and patches. I ponder. Obviously, there is Hamlet talking about what a terrible king Claudius is, but what else is there? Why is he so hung up on what a terrible king Claudius is, and yet, not a word about how wonderful Hamlet was? "Is he trying to justify something, maybe? He has just had his mainstay, his solid ground taken away. What must that feel like? What can he be thinking…..?"
It's been said that Hamlet is the toughest role to play, ever. I really do believe that. I think that Shakespeare had a personal connection with Hamlet, and was himself very confused, and that resulted in an extremely confusing character who no one really knows how to play. I think that Hamlet is the most human of any character in any play, ever, but that doesn't make much sense, because we are all human, so why would it be hard to play an accurate embodiment of ourselves? I think that it is because Hamlet is the part of us that we do not like to acknowledge. Hamlet is all the feelings we like to pretend we do not have. He is the less glamorous side of the human race. A race that prides itself on emotions and souls and other such things we say set us apart from all other living creatures, and we all secretly know that these emotions are going to be our downfall. It is what we fear, more than anything, no matter what we say we fear, this is what takes us over. It is fear itself. It is grief and selfishness, loss and loss of control, it is losing what you have stood on for so long, and then doubting whether it was the right thing to be trusting. It is all the bad feelings is the world and it is bottling them up so they have nowhere to go but inside you, tearing away at what you knew, leaving doubt and mistrust of what you still have, and most of all it is the feeling that comes from this. It is the overwhelming feeling of weakness that you get when you find that you cannot handle something, when you cannot take all that badness. All this is Hamlet. It is what Hamlet is feeling, and what Shakespeare does is accents it, so that everyone is feeling it too. What the actor has to do is just let him (or her) self go, and pretend to kill something with all that fear, because you can't do it in real life. But what actor can do that? What actor wants to? Who would want to feel all the bad feelings in life, and make everyone else in the room feel it too? No one wants to feel that, or make others feel that. No one wants to be everything we hate about ourselves. That's what I learned from trying to play Hamlet.