I love Hamlet. A lot. And I know that’s a strange thing to say because so many of my comrades drudged or sparknoted their way through the play in high school, but it’s always been one of my favorites. Hamlet honestly has everything you could ever want in a piece of literature: violence, romantic drama, existential angst, and of course, pirates. It’s not a perfect play by any means, but it is a beautiful, deep, and dark one, and that’s just great for me.
The problem was that until I came to Drake, I had a hard time finding others who understood my love for Prince Hamlet (my love for Prince Harry, on the other hand, was very well appreciated). Even in my excellent English classes, it was difficult to fully connect with other students over the play. And while there were a few other Shakespeare-fanatics, I just always assumed I was a little strange for spending my free time reading sonnets and watching the complete works of Kenneth Branagh. And, yes, I probably am still strange, but at least I now know that I’m not alone.
At Drake, I’ve found some incredible friends and English majors who feel the same way about Shakespeare as I do. In fact, I’m currently in a Shakespeare class where we’re spending a couple weeks studying the rotten state of Denmark. We’ve read the play, looked at some adaptations and scholarship and even just watched my all-time favorite film version of Hamlet staring the artful, angsty Ethan Hawke.
And while I’ve read the play a million times before, it makes all the difference in the world to share the experience with other passionate Shakespeare fans. We can talk about the heavy stuff that goes on in the play, but also just joke around about Polonius or discuss the pros and cons of Julia Stiles’ baggy pants in the film. I really am in a community of learners who understand me, and for that alone, the college experience has been worth it.