I think my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays is Hamlet. I love the young emo-lad, disheveled by angst. I love Ophelia, the scorned lover who spouts gorgeously befuddling poetry before she descends into madness and floats beautifully downstream to her death, flowers tangled in her hair.
The play, brimming with gratuitous drama, is full of itself to such a perfectly Shakespearean degree. The fact that the play runs FOUR HOURS is itself a celebration of indulgence.
What’s not to love about Hamlet, feast of maudlin navel-gazing that it is?
T.S. Eliot, 19th century literary critic and curmudgeon extraordinaire, hated Hamlet. He called the play an “artistic failure” because it lacks “objective correlative.” Hamlet’s overwrought despair, Eliot felt, was not supported by the play itself, the other characters, or their circumstances.
I’ve always disagreed with Eliot on this point. There is a strong objective correlative in Hamlet, and it’s this: the guy desperately wants to sleep. He mentions it throughout the play, and when he dies at the end, finally descending into the rest he desires, his BFF, Horatio sighs with relief, “Goodnight, sweet Prince.”
The makers of Nightmare on Elm Street are with me on this one. The writers reference Hamlet throughout the film to parallel its tormented teens’ sleep deprivation.
I wouldn’t say I’m as distraught or sleep-deprived as Hamlet or Freddie Krueger’s prey, but I can say I empathize with them.
The ONE thing I can do to help my waning white cell count is to sleep during the day. Easier said than done, I find. Some people have no problem napping.
How do you all do it?
Sleep eludes me while the sun is up. I can turn off Bravo or put my book down or stash the iPhone (really, I can) but I just can’t fall all the way asleep, try as I might.
I need to start catching some daytime zzzz, but I’m as wakeful as the Prince of Denmark. So if you have any ideas, please share.
Meanwhile, I guess I could put down the iPhone right now and take this opportunity in the chemo chair to snooze while the Taxol is flowing.