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Who Says "Hamlet" isn't funny?While looking for something else, I came across this...

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 2, 2008 at 12:22 PM via web

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Who Says "Hamlet" isn't funny?

While looking for something else, I came across this humorous item.  A professor compiled a list of errors found on her Freshman class' Hamlet papers, all their glorious misspellings, confusion and atrocious logic maintained.  As one long narrative, it's a hoot!

About the conclusion is where all tragedies begin, and that is true of Hamlet. The seen opens with a a goast walking nervesly around the courtyard. When Hamlet learns that his father was killed by a snake put in his stomach by his uncel he is all shook up for he had been told that his father was stung by a hornet. Hamlet pretends to be a lunitic to discover all he can about his father's mudder. He confines in Horatio. It seems a pitty the way he treated Oephelia for his love was real, firey with a real meaning to it which was more than marriage. He has the players react the murder and there is a lot of tention as he confronts Cludius with his crime. He stabbs Polythemus who was spying in Gertruid's bedroom by thrusting a sword through the curtain. Ofelia became hysterical and climbed a tree. She fell into a pond and drowned.

(Even though this is from 1957, I doubt, nay, know the advent of spellcheck doesn't make much difference.) 

Here's the URL if you have access to JSTOR: 

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0010-096X%28195712%298%3A4%3C220%3AWTTT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9

 

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 2, 2008 at 5:23 PM (Answer #2)

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I love how, because of all the errors in logic and mechanics, we can't even be sure if they're talking about a "ghost" or a "goat" walking nervously around the courtyard!  I mean, really, if they thought Claudius put a snake into King Hamlet's stomach, they might also have thought Hamlet was seeing the "goat" of his dead father! :)

And does Hamlet want to know about his father's mother ("mudder")?  Sounds vaguely Freudian! :)

Great laugh, Jamie! :)

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 2, 2008 at 11:41 PM (Answer #3)

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Perhaps prior to reading Hamlet this class from 1957 focused on the Odyssey? "Polythemus" sounds an awful lot like Polyphemus and judging on the rest of the paper, I'm sure that's what he meant, except that he got the Cyclops confused with the Polonius, which actually might not be that great a confusion after all. :)

Perhaps spelling didn't count for this assignment?? :)

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 3, 2008 at 8:32 AM (Answer #4)

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Perhaps prior to reading Hamlet this class from 1957 focused on the Odyssey? "Polythemus" sounds an awful lot like Polyphemus and judging on the rest of the paper, I'm sure that's what he meant, except that he got the Cyclops confused with the Polonius, which actually might not be that great a confusion after all. :)

Perhaps spelling didn't count for this assignment?? :)

  In fact, it certainly did!  (Spelling counting, that is.)  The tenor of the author's post revovled around the scorn she had felt towards all of those "other teachers" who let their kids get away with such shoddy writing.  Yet when she reviewed some of her own papers, she was quite shamefaced to see that the things she'd harped on (continuity, spelling, etc) were not only lacking, but she had personally missed all of these egregious errors herself in many cases. 

I can relate.  Your eyes start to cross after a dozen papers, don't they? 

One of my fav professors once told us that he always sat down with a bottle of wine and a bottle of whiskey.  He'd read the first paragraph and decide if the writer was committing a "wine" offense or a "whiskey" offense and proceed from there. 

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 3, 2008 at 9:01 AM (Answer #5)

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Now that's teaching advice I'm DEFINITELY going to take...In fact, I have some rather lengthy Brit Lit papers to grade...I suspect they will be full of whiskey offenses! :)

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 4, 2008 at 11:19 AM (Answer #6)

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Ha!  I've not laughed so much in several days...of course, today my seniors created modern versions of several scenes from Acts IV and V.  All the "yo, yo, yo's" and "hey, baby's" are enough to make me giggle or groan...bring on the wine!

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 4, 2008 at 11:24 AM (Answer #7)

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Too precious!

Has anybody seen the Gilligan's Island episode where they put on a musical version of Hamlet to try to convince the famous Broadway producer to take them off the island with him?

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 4, 2008 at 11:31 AM (Answer #8)

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NO!  I can't believe I missed that one - how hysterical!!!!!

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 4, 2008 at 11:34 AM (Answer #9)

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I think the funniest part is when they sing "Neither a lender nor a borrower be" to the tune of the Anvil Chorus. Wouldn't it be fun to find a copy and show it in class for a break?

I couldn't resist. I did a short search and actually found the script for Hamlet: The Musical. Here's the address:

http://www.gilligansisle.com/hamlet.html

 

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