Monday, October 3, 2011
Extending the Scene
I have a problem. When a lot of literature that I enjoy ends, I want to know more. It seems like there are always open ends and different things that could happen after all of the pages have been filled. Hamlet's fate did that for me.
In one of my Art Ed classes, I taught a lesson about figuratively extending a painting beyond the frame to know more of the story behind the painting. For example, Rembrandt's self portrait in his old age is just a painting of him with a very black background. But, if we were to extend the painting using history, we might see a man who has lost all those dear to him, as well as most of his physical possessions, since he was buried in an unmarked grave as a result of debt.
I would love to know the history of Hamlet after his death and therefore extend the image of him as well. Fortinbras has "four captains Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage" (Act V scene ii) and I feel like he is portrayed like a tragic hero as a result of the tone at the end of the play. However, is he a tragic hero in the afterlife? Is he born "like a soldier to the stage" or does he have to answer for his murders and inaction postmortem? If only Shakespeare had taken a cue from Dante and written a little epilogue about Hamlet's afterlife experience...then we could extend the scene and have a clearer portrait of the famous, or infamous, Hamlet.