Much ink has been spilled by scholars of English Literature and much public money spent in trying to explain why exactly Hamlet didn’t kill Claudius as soon as the Ghost of his father told him Claudius had murdered his father and he should be revenged. Hamlet’s procastrination and failure to kill Claudius and revenge his father is the whole crux of the play- and the careers of many English Lit scholars.
For those of you who have grown up in a forest, let me explain that Hamlet is the most famous play by the most famous English play-writer, Shakespeare, containing the words “To be or not to be…”, perhaps the most famous words of English ever spoken. Hamlet is a prince who is told by the ghost of his dead father that his father was killed by Claudius, and Hamlet now has the duty of killing Claudius and revenging his father. To make matters complicated, Claudius is in fact the brother of Hamlet’s father, he married Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, and crowned himself King of Denmark, while Hamlet, who should have been king, was away as a student.
A student! A-ha! This is the heart of the matter, all you scholars who have written about Hamlet’s Oedipal complex (love for his mother prevented him from killing Claudius), Hamlet’s moral sensitivity (he was simply too good to committ murder), Hamlet’s religious doubt (he doubted the word of the Ghost and the existence of hell etc), Hamlet paralysed by “thought”, etc etc etc, let me explain to you simply that the reason Hamlet delayed and delayed until it was almost too late (but not quite, he did kill Claudius in the end), was because he was a student. Like me. And students are professional procastrinators. They just can’t bear to do anything on time, and delay and delay until it is almost too late- but they get it done- just in the nick of time.
A week has flown by. The professors are kind, and have heaped readings and assignments upon us. I have slipped comfortably back into the routine of coffee-chat-library-class, with the addition of Dalplex fitness classes this term. And yet, and yet. I stare at the articles I am supposed to read. The words “At the international level, the Paris Declaration constitutes a mechanism which donors and recipients of aid are held mutually accountable to each other and compliance in meeting the commitments will be publicly monitored” start swimming and jumping before my eyes. I click to my blog. I start blogging. After all, the reading is due on Monday. Lots of time left.