Shakespeare: Hamlet | Christian Themes in Famous Literature (Part 1)

Shakespeare: Hamlet | Christian Themes in Famous Literature (Part 1)



today we're gonna we're gonna go from TS Eliot to William Shakespeare and so it's thinking about William Shakespeare this morning and I thought about to teach or not to teach that is the question and I've elected to teach so I'm going to do that anyway so let's let's talk a little bit about William Shakespeare because I think that it's important we have to remember why we're reading we did this a couple weeks ago we could read for fun or we could do it for knowledge and accumulation of facts or just for deep comprehension and understanding and Shakespeare to some believe it or not or fun I bumped into a gentleman that said no way of going to your Shakespeare class and I said dice and that's okay it doesn't hurt me and but you you're gonna miss out and he was like well you know that Shakespeare stuff well it's all Greek to me and I said do you know you just quoted Julius Caesar and that Greek to me is a phrase that Shakespeare developed you're using Shakespeare already as you're putting him down so reading can be fun and I think Shakespeare will be fun I'm gonna try to make it a little bit of fun for you but but there's a lot of understanding a lot of comprehension that I want you to deal with today and we talked about the evaluation of secular material primarily books in this class but also the same axiom that we have this algorithm behind you could be used for movies and TV shows and plays and musicals and in helping us to understand how to evaluate what is going on here what is being brought into our mind in Romans 12 right verses 1 through 2 Paul is telling the people at Rome that they had to be careful about what they're putting into their minds and their systems and as you're putting TV shows and movies I want you to always think about these ideas right here to evaluate they're important so you might watch a television show one time and it might be quite entertaining and quite fun but you might find it's it's not a really good show for you to watch after evaluating all of these things maybe has no biblical or spear virtual impact on you at all and perhaps that's a show you ought to put off to the left side and and be done with so we want you to think about those and think about the themes most TV shows most movies most books are going to have strong Christian themes because there are people in it and with people in it they are going to do all kinds of sinful and also interesting things in Chapter 7 of Matthew and the Sermon on the Mount Jesus addresses the big group there and he says this to them he says you know there are two men a foolish man and a wise man do you remember that and he says the wise man heard these words of mine and then he also put him into action the foolish man hears the words but doesn't put it into action but the thing that is common for both of them is that the storms of life come to both the sinner and the saint alike and I think that that's an important thing for you to think through because the same problems the same issues that you will face as a Christian are pretty much the same issues that every other human that is a non-christian will face as well and you look at a guy like William Shakespeare a 17th century early 17th century the way that people connected with culture wasn't necessarily by watching television because there was no TV there was no means for them to get a greater view of what the world was doing in plays and musicals became the way for people to connect with what was happening in real life and whether it was murder whether it was stealing whether it was jealousy whether it was revenge whether it was the afterlife all of these thoughts could come out in a bigger theme and a bigger venue by coming to a plague in a guy like William Shakespeare who is very very gifted had many many ideas of how to impact culture and he impacts culture in a very profound way during his during his era in writing these plays and think about how much how much he's impacting culture to this very day if you look at the best writers of all time I went out there and looked at all of them and kind of culled it down here's the top 12 writers according to the people that really like literature William Shakespeare is going to end at the top of the lists he'll be at the top of the list for many of these isn't it interesting that Dostoevsky finishes second because next week we'll be encountering Dostoevsky and the Brothers Karamazov but you can see the list of different writers and you see that Shakespeare will finish at the top of most of these lists so why would we encounter this guy Shakespeare at one time in a room in my office there are three or four of us and we're debating which books and we came up with we came up with Shakespeare we had to come up with Shakespeare fees the top of the list writer and and we talked about the play we wanted to look at which was Hamlet and the reason was his plays touch on timeless themes love friendship revenge his characters are real characters he's able to create a character you'll you'll see a character today like Ophelia or Claudius and he creates them and in such a way that they'll become real to you and his character development is amazing his plays are quotable and you know a lot of the quotes and and you know a quote right you're quoting something and I just quoted something from the 17th century hundreds of years ago and it has stood the test of time and the other thing is the repository of words over 3,000 English words are given to us by William Shakespeare and in phrases oh boy do we have some phrases let's see it's Greek to me you know that one I just used it or the guy just use it from Julius Caesar did you know he came up with break the ice the ice breaker that said from The Taming of the Shrew where one's heart on one sleeve is from a fellow clothes make the man now there's a good phrase we've heard before that comes from our play Hamlet today all's well that ends well is actually the title of a play itself and then bated breath comes from The Merchant of Venice neither a borrower nor a lender be also comes from it comes from Hamlet isn't isn't that an interesting and then refused to budge an inch measure for measure dead as a doornail you're dead as a doornail a Shakespearean phrase your kids eat you out of house and home Shakespearean fright for gone it's a foregone conclusion attorneys a heart of gold comes from Henry v have you ever been in a pickle before that's that's The Tempest kill them with kindness Taming of the Shrew knock knock who's there Macbeth Macbeth is there a laughingstock which is the Merry Wives of Windsor love is blind have you ever used that phrase before love is blind that comes from the Merchant of Venice and in our play this is something that's used on the East Coast quite often is you're a piece of work man what a piece of work you are you didn't know it you thought you're speaking slang but you were speaking Shakespearean English and and those are those are just those are just a couple out of literally hundreds of phrases that are created by William Shakespeare so look with me on the outline and let's get introduced a little bit to William Shakespeare you see was born in 1564 he dies in 1616 what's interesting is that we think that he's born and he dies on exactly the same date now we don't have his birth date at the Holy Trinity Church which I'll show you in a moment in stratford-upon-avon where he is from but we do have his baptism date and generally in generally babies were baptized three days after they were born so if you took it that way then the same date is a date that he dies which we have as well so all of that happens in the beautiful city of stratford-upon-avon one of the other things I want you to note about William Shakespeare is that he is not formally educated here's the guy that didn't go to Oxford or Cambridge or go to any fancy school he is a self-taught guy matter of fact his only education is elementary school william shakespeare's born in stratford-upon-avon it's about a hundred miles northwest of London and if you went with me on the English Reformation trip you got to go here which is his house which still stands today in stratford-upon-avon and this is this is Avon right here the river which is in the Town of Stratford Williams father was a successful leather merchant who once held a public position of Alderman he was a third of six kids altogether at two older sisters and three younger brothers he went to a local Grammar School where he learned about poetry history and of course Greek and Latin when William turned eighteen he gets married he marries a gal by the name of Anne Hathaway now the interesting thing about Anne Hathaway many things are interesting but one of those is that she was eight years older than Shakespeare so figured the math out he married a gal he was 18 that was 26 years old the other problem with her she was also three months pregnant when they got married they had a daughter named Susannah and twins named Hamnet and Judith now Hamnet is a is a boy who dies in not infancy but probably I think at 3 or 4 years old and many believe that that Hamlet the character is a is a tribute to his son Hamlet they also had a daughter named Susannah we said and eventually what happens for him is that stratford-upon-avon is too small for him he's got big ideas and in big big dreams and big dreams end up in big cities like London and he ends up in London and works at theatre where we as part of an Acting Company the Acting Company is called the Lord no the Lord Chamberlain's Men now there is a seven-year period that that he goes dark we don't know anything about him we call it the the blind era of Shakespeare and many people think he toured through Europe others thought he went to Africa but we simply don't know what happens for seven full years of Shakespeare's life Shakespeare writes plays for the Lord Chamberlain's Men he also worked as an actor now remember this is a time period when women were not allowed to act so all the women's parts were played by men with wigs so he played his plays become very popular in London and soon the Lord Chamberlain's men were one of the most popular acting companies in the city and some of Shakespeare's early plays include Taming of the Shrew Richard the third Romeo and Juliet in A Midsummer Night's Dream imagine if you were a playwright and those were your first four or five plays I think you I think you think pretty highly of yourself I think I've got this now well Lord Chamberlain's Men owned the theatre the land that they were that they had was owned by a guy named Giles Allen and as a land owner he wasn't much of a guy that was into the arts so he finally looks at Shakespeare and the guys and says you know what I'm selling this land and you better go find something else and so what they end up doing is they they go across the Thames River so several members of the company they dismantle the theater that they had and they move the timber across to the Thames River and they go to another spot a spot if you've been to London a spot that you've seen The Globe Theatre is where they are today and here's a picture of today's Globe Theatre I think I took this when we went and watched Romeo and Juliet and did that with 50 of you here from compass Bible Church so they go across here they build a new theatre it's called the Globe Theatre now this Globe Theatre was rebuilt in 1979 and so it houses up to 3,000 spectators it had a uniquely designed stage where the painted ceiling columns and a staged wall and many of Shakespeare's greatest plays were written in the last half of his career the last half of his career had plays called Hamlet and a fellow and King Lear and a play called Macbeth his success in the theatre as well as his investments in land in the globe made Shakespeare an extremely wealthy man and he lived kind of a dual life he was living in London working writing plays acting in plays putting plays together and then going back to stratford-upon-avon to be a family man and he had a lot of money and a lot of power he was also believe it or not a poet he's famous for poetry his most famous poem of the time was Venus and Adonis and and a book of a hundred and fifty four of Shakespeare's sonnets were published in 1609 now william retired his home in stratford and he dies exactly on his 52nd birthday like we said now he is credited with introducing nearly 3,000 words to the English language you need to step back from that for a moment 3,000 words so this is a guy that is is putting things together and as he's putting him things together which means he's writing plays he is creating a literally new language for people to understand and it becomes so powerful and so ubiquitous that it becomes part of the English language now this is the Holy Trinity Church two shots of it in stratford-upon-avon this clear shot here to give you an idea of what it looks like in this a little more of a conceptual shot I took through the trees I like taking pictures through trees and so if you look inside you'll see that there is the the burial place of William Shakespeare a guy that's buried in the Holy Trinity Church in stratford-upon-avon and you can see the fun little verbage that he put there good friends for Jesus sake Ferrer he's basically saying dust to dust and enclosed as my dust it's all in here and then when he says blessed is a man who basically leaves me in peace here and curse it be the person that would pick up and move my bones somewhere else and so he left us with a little bit of a little bit of a curse there at the end in addition his works are second most often quoted after another book the Bible the Bible's the most quoted book in the world and secondly the works of Shakespeare will be the second most quoted body of works he wrote over thirty seven plays in his lifetime averaging about one point five plays per year he was writing his plays were also performed in front of really important people like Queen Elizabeth the first and King James the first who he was friends with so that's just a quick easy view a mini biography of William Shakespeare there's so many books that are written about him if you'd like to dig deeper about his life for those books are out there and I'd encourage you to do that but I just wanted to give you a thumbnail but I think one of the most impressive things is here's a guy that introduced 3,000 words right to the English language 37 plays most of them so ubiquitous it's incredible and we're still quoting them today like out here on the patio and he never went to college isn't incredible and you talk about the giftedness that God has and the way he gives gifts out to people and he gave quite a gift to William Shakespeare to what she used now we have our simple map here of and we'll get way more complicated than this but we'll start because I want you to understand the whole idea how many people here have read and/or are familiar with Hamlet okay how many people have read Hamlet and not just watch the movie all right a little bit lesser the themes we're gonna see are madness the craziness of Hamlet will see revenge we'll talk about mortality faith becomes critically important to Shakespeare in this art and culture deception and lying sex gender between men and women and the value of men and the devaluing of the female characters that are so reliant on the male characters in this book and and then also what is it to be a family you want to talk about a blended family now this is a blended family that is for sure so let's take a look at the tragedy of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark and let's take a look at the summary so via the play opens up on a dark winter night and a ghost walks the ramparts those are the walls of the Elsinore castle in Denmark now the setting for this is not England it's in Denmark and Denmark is also a very Protestant country matter of fact is not only Protestant it's very Lutheran and we'll find out that importance here at a moment discovered first by a pair of Watchmen and then by the scholar Horacio Horacio and and Hamlet are good buddies the ghost resembles a recently deceased King Hamlet so the ghost looks like Hamlet's father and this guy King Hamlet whose brother Claudius inherited the throne and marries the Kings widow who's Queen Gertrude so what happens is this ghost is going to encounter Hamlet here in a moment but the ghost write his name is King Hamlet that's Hamlet's dad he has been murdered by his own brother Claudius and not only does Claudius murder his brother he does something else he marries Hamlet's wife think about that for a second and it took her two weeks after the death of her husband to marry her new husband who was a brother of ex-husband when Horatio and the watchman bring Hamlet they bring Prince Hamlet the son of ver truth in the dead King to see the ghost it speaks to him declaring ominously that it was indeed his father's spirit and that he was murdered by none other than Claudius so this ghost is speaking to Hamlet and saying you know what I am your father and guess what your uncle killed me and he's gonna say a lot more to him than that and now in Hamlet's shoes he's processing a ghost think about that he's in the ramparts it's at nighttime and he thinks that this is his father speaking to him and not only does this Hamlet senior tell Prince Hamlet to do – to do a number of things he tells him to seek revenge revenge and you need to seek revenge on the man who usurped his throne and married his wife and the ghost disappears just as quickly as these come with the dawn Hamlet devotes himself to avenging his father's death but because he's contemplative and thoughtful by Nature he delays he delays entering into a deep melancholy in even in parent even apparent madness so he doesn't act right away he's got this news from his dad that this is what's happened I've been killed by your uncle and I need you son to seek revenge and all of it and what Hamlet doesn't do is quite interesting he doesn't go grab a sword and go kill his uncle right off the bat he needs to think about it and as he thinks about it he thinks is this really a ghost where is this an evil spirit is a Satan or is this God speaking what what what is going on here I'm not sure and when Hamlet's not sure he doesn't do anything he stops now what happens next is Claudius and his new wife Gertrude worry about the princes erratic behavior and attempt to discover its cause so Hamlet is going to take the approach you know what I'm gonna do I'm gonna start acting real crazy in front people I'm gonna be erratic and foolish but at the same time I'm gonna be kind of like a private eye I need more evidence to figure out whether or not Claudius killed my father now they employ a pair of Hamlet's friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to watch them and when Polonius you know he's the pompous Lord Chamberlain suggests Hamlet may be mad with love for his daughter Elia Claudius agrees to spy on Hamlet in a conversation with a girl now Claudius is kind of the you know the he's kind of a goofy guy but he's also pretty smart he he employs other people to spy he uses other people to kind of work around corners for him and he kind of stays in the back he enjoys the power that he has he's not a military expert you're gonna find out that the Norwegians are making a move against the Danish because Prince Hamlet's dad actually killed the Norwegian King in a ward that they had and there's a Sun in Norway that wants to avenge that but that son just like Hamlet didn't get to be the king isn't it interesting Hamlet's dad died but Hamlet didn't become the king his uncle did and the same thing is gonna happen in Norway the King dies there and his brother takes a throne not the Sun but the Sun in Norway is a military leader he's a good man and we're gonna encounter him at the very end of the play because something happens very interesting with him so basically what happens now is is that that Claudius is using a philia he's using his Lord Chamberlain polina plone iasts to to spy on Hamlet to figure out why is it yeah and they're really concerned about Hamlet because they're thinking you're grieving your dad you got to get over this you know you're so sad about it we've all moved on and and that doesn't happen so Hamlet certainly seems mad he does not seem to love Ophelia he orders her to enter the nunnery if you're if you in this time period if you're told to enter the nunnery it's not what you think it's not what you think at all he's telling her she should join a brothel that's what he's saying to her and declares his wishes to ban all marriages now here's one of the most important things that that we see through Hamlet's eyes he sees his father dead he sees his mom moving on not only does his dad die now he sees this greater conspiracy and he's coming to a place of wondering whether life in itself is even worth it at all could there ever be happiness could there ever be happiness in Hamlet's life again could there be peace and he's coming to the conclusion the answer is no there will be no happiness there will be no joy in this life so what happens next is a group of traveling actors come to Elsinore and Hamlet seizes upon the idea to test his uncle's guilt and he's gonna use these people in a play he's gonna say hey you know what I know this is a great play and I know the king is coming and could you add a couple scenes that I'm writing into the play and he'll have the players perform a scene that's closely resembling the sequence by which Hamlet imagined his imagines his uncle to have murdered his father so that if Claudius is guilty he's going to react so here's Claudius and Gertrude they're watching this play Hamlet's wrote the additional lines into the play and they're sitting there watching it and next thing you know in the play it shows this murder and this murder convicts Claudius he's just like oh he's like stop the play stop the play turn the lights up play is over it's done and it's at that moment it's at that moment that Hamlet is convinced that is none other than Claudius that has killed his father and so what happens next is that that he believes that the moment of the murder arrives Claudius leaps up he leaves the room and Hamlet remember his buddy Horatio that's the guy trust agrees that this proves the guilt Hamlet now is going to seek his vengeance against Claudius and he finds him doing something it's one of the only times in the play that Claudius is by himself Claudius always has people around him he runs out of this room and he goes and he gets down on his knees and he prays and he prays a prayer of contrition not necessarily repentance you know we talked about the difference between confessing and repenting two different things we could say we're sorry but not really mean it because there's no real manifest change and so so Hamlet goes to kill Claudius and he finds him on his knees praying there is there is now since since Handel believes a killing Claudius wall in prayer would do something very horrible he believes that if he killed a man while he's praying that that man's soul would go straight to heaven and that's a last thing Hamlet would want Hamlet considers that it would be inadequate revenge and he decides again to delay to wait because his father wants him to go no other place but to help and if he kills him here while he's praying and making peace with God in a sense then Claudius will go to heaven you see when Hamlet's father died he didn't make peace with God we're gonna find out as he is we read some of Hamlet together here in a moment that that when Hamlet encounters his father his father is actually in purgatory and probably not going to be able to work his way out of the deal so this moment in time right here is a turning point in the entire play he says now I can't do it now what happens next is Claudius is frightened now of Hamlet's madness and he's fearing for his own safe he doesn't know that Hamlet was trying to kill him here and he orders Hamlet to be sent to England gets him out of here at once Hamlet goes to confront his mom who's in the bedchamber now Polonius is there remember he's a lord chamber and he is hiding behind the curtains behind the tapestry spying and this really nasty discussion is going to go on between Hamlet and his mother Gertrude and there's a noise that Hamlet hears behind the tapestry and he thinks it's Claudius he thinks the king is hiding there he draws his sword and he stabs through the fabric killing not Claudius but Polonius now this also is a huge turning point in a play it's the first time Hamlet who thinks things through and contemplates acts quickly and he kills Polonius and for this crime he's immediately dispatched to England he goes with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Claudius's plan for Hamlet in England is more than a banishment he's given Rosencrantz and Guildenstern sealed orders for the King of England demanding that Hamlet be put to death now in the aftermath of all of it remember Ophelia her father is Polonius she goes mad with grief and she commits suicide she drowns in a river now we haven't been introduced quite yet in class here – Polonius as son Laertes who has been staying in France he returns to Denmark in a rage he's he's the opposite of Hamlet he's like tell me how this all happened and I'll kill whoever killed my father Claudius convinces them that Hamlet is to blame for his father's and sister's death both and Horatio and the King received letters from Hamlet indicating that the prince has returned to Denmark after pirates after Pirates attacked his ship in route to England Claudius concocts a plan to use Laertes desire for revenge to secure Hamlet's death and basically be these pirates that they get in the way of Hamlet Hamlet also knew about the order that was written for his death in England and he rewrote the order and his two friends now will face the sword in England cuz they continue on and they are executed and he beats the sword now I told you that Hamlet also was a student when his father died where do you think he was a student at he went to a school called Wittenberg University did you know that some people think he was studying theology there and when his father died he wanted to go back to Germany he wanted to go back to Vinton burg remember the the Danish people or Lutheran right and that's the setting for our play and and Hamlet wanted desperately to go back to pursue his studies to be probably a pastor in Wittenberg so he Wiggles his way out of this whole thing where he was gonna die in England and he ends up coming back this new plan that comes up who develops a plan Claudius Claudius uses everybody and so the desire for revenge to secure Hamlet's death is set Laertes will fence with Hamlet in an innocent sport but Claudius will poison Laertes played so that if it draws blood Hamlet will die so just a little bit of poison on that blade will kill Hamlet as a back-up plan the king decided to poison a goblet big Goblet which he will give to Hamlet to drink should Hamlet score the first or second hits of the match so basic clot iya says got his bets filled on both sides so if if if Hamlet does well at the beginning here have some merriment drink some some of this from the Goblet to celebrate poison kill him if he loses he's gonna face the blade and poison he dies so either way Hamlet dies Hamlet returns to the vicinity of Elsinore just as Ophelia's funeral is taking place he is now stricken with grief he attacks Laertes and declares that he had all of us in fact loved Ophelia remember earlier I told the a pushed her away and said one of the reasons he pushes her away is no hope no hope in the future why marry a girl if there's no hope in the future no hope for a family no no nothing and so he pushes away now she dies and he literally jumps in the grave and holds on to her in that grave it expresses her love his love for her now back at the castle Hamlet tells Horatio that he believes one must be prepared to die since death can come at any moment a foolish courtier named ostrich rise a claw out on Claudius's orders he arranges that fencing match we've been talking about between Hamlet and Laertes and the sword fight he begins Hamlet does score the first hit but he says no to the drink from the king he says now I got a drink out of that goblet but somebody else drinks from the Goblet his mother Gertrude takes a drink from it and she's swiftly killed by the poison Laertes succeeds in wounding Hamlet and though Hamlet doesn't die of the poison immediately Laertes is also cut by his own sword blade after revealing to Hamlet that Claudius is responsible for the Queen's death he dies from the blades poison as well Hamlet then at the end of the play stabs Claudius through the poison sword and then on top of it forces him to drink down the rest of the poisoned wine Claudius dies Hamlet dies immediately after achieving his revenge at this moment remember the Norwegian guy I was telling you about yeah his name is Fortinbras and he leads an army to Denmark they attack Poland earlier in the play and now he enters with ambassadors from England who report that Rosencrantz and Golda Guildenstern are both dead no surprise to us and Fortinbras is stunned by the gruesome sight the entire royal family lying sprawled on the floor dead he moves to take power of the kingdom Horatio fulfilling Hamlet's last request tells him the story that Hamlet just went through it's a tragic story for Ross orders that Hamlet be carried away in a manner befitting a fallen soldier so all of this happens we're gonna explore the themes of this in a moment and and chat about it but let's chat a little bit about Hamlet and there's a picture of his mom with a goblet in her hand let's talk about Hamlet's character just for a moment and then we'll explore these themes that that I think are important for us to look at Hamlet is a mysterious character he actually tells other characters in the play that there's more to him than meets the eye now if you bump into someone at work or anywhere else that tells you you know what there's more to me than meets the eye run Hamlet's particularly drawn to difficult questions that have no answer they can't be answered with any certainty at all and as you look at this play they're questioned among question that is there that that Shakespeare doesn't even answer for us but people even to this very day spend hours days months they write books about what they think the answers are to Hamlet Hamlet becomes obsessed with proving his uncle's guilt before trying to act the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt is unacceptable to Hamlet he's gonna have to have 100% truth even though he is thoughtful the point of obsession Hamlet at times behaves rationally and impulsively rationally rather when he does act it is with surprising swiftness and little or no premeditation like when he stabs Polonius through the curtain without even checking to see who it is he seems to step very easily into the role of a madman behaving erratically and upsetting the other characters with his wild speech and pointed innuendos kind of sounds like David remember when David went a little bit nuts on purpose and there's a good example there it's also important to note that Hamlet is extremely melancholy and discontented with a state of affairs in Denmark in his own family you see there's something rotten in Denmark isn't there the and indeed not only rotten in Denmark but in the world Hamlet sees no hope he sees no hope at all one of the scenes in the play sees him at the graveyard and he's there with Yorick York is the Jester he was a funny guy and he's dead now and he he's holding York's dead skull and he's thinking about when he was a child and looking at it and and even the Jester has no hope and no joy and no happiness at all and and this is the character of of Hamlet all the way through this he's also disappointed with his mother for marrying his uncle so quickly and and I don't know about you but do you ever get disappointed when a relative marries somebody that you think they shouldn't get married to is it just you or is just me because that's exactly what he's looking at going I don't like this but yet it happens and it happens quickly and next he repudiates Effie Leo a woman he once claimed to love and he does it in the harshest terms his words often indicate his disgust and distrust of women in general and and we think about both Gertrude and Ophelia they're both very pitiful characters in so many different ways and the way Shakespeare builds them in this play is they're highly reliant upon men to make it through they can't they can't do it without the power of a king or or the work of a son and and they're always following the advice of men Gertrude's character seems to raise many questions did you have these questions was she involved with Claudius before the death of her husband were they having an affair already did she even love her husband did she know about Claudius's plan to commit the murder did she love Claudius or did she marry him simply to keep her high status in Denmark does she believe Hamlet when he insists that he's not mad or does she pretend to believe him simply to protect herself does she intentionally betray Hamlet to Claudius or does she believe that she is protecting the son secret all of those questions we don't have answers for but we sure can think about it for a while the Gertrude who does emerge clearly and Hamlet as a woman defined by her desire for status and affection as well as by her tendency to use men to fulfill her instinct for self-preservation which makes her extremely dependent upon the men in her life she is at her best in social situations when her natural grace and charm seemed to indicate a rich and rounded personality at times it seems that her grace and charm are our only characteristics and her reliance on man appears to be her sole way of capitalizing on her abilities so when we look at Hamlet altogether there there are multiple things we do we could do six weeks of all the different themes that are important but I've chosen three look at them on the outline with me do you see them there I mean the big theme that we think about right off the bat is the theme of vengeance and revenge and this idea of vengeance flies in the face of the Bible now the Bible that that is quoted by Shakespeare is not the King James Version Bible remember that that our friend Shakespeare dies in 1616 is it is that correct yeah 1616 and the King James Version Bible is 1611 most of his plays had already been written seem I want to ask what Bible was he looking at and for the most part the Bible that we see that he quotes is the Geneva Bible it's the Bible that came to America it's also called the Puritans Bible the first Bible had notes in the side of it that would explain certain things and it has explain certain things the Pope wasn't really thrilled with it the bishops weren't thrilled with that nor was the King King James and why would they not be thrilled with that because people on their own could interpret the Bible people on their own would have the ability to think in the Geneva Bible was first Bible that provided that opportunity for people that trusted in the Lord and it is the Bible of Shakespeare so what's the problem what is the problem with taking revenge what is that problem we saw it we saw it on the floor at the end of the play that's one of the things but Romans chapter 12 verse 19 says don't don't take vengeance on your own but leave it to the wrath of God vengeance is mine so says the Lord I'll do that and Shakespeare has that in mind in this play it's like you should be taking vengeance on anything and this becomes a big deal for Hamlet to think through should I take vengeance do I first do I have the right person that I'm going to exact revenge upon and secondly should I trust in God should I trust in God for that for that revenge and think about his dad who's a ghost he says this in the play I am thy father's spirit doomed for a certain term to walk the night and for the day confined to fast in fires to the foul crimes done in my days of nature are burnt and purged away but that I am forbid to tell the secrets of my prison-house I could a tale unfold those lightest words would Harrow up thy soul and freeze thy young blood I am I am thy father's spirit doomed for a certain term to walk the night and for the day confined to the fast and fires to the foul crimes done in my days of nature are burnt and purged away you see the older Hamlet believed that he was in purgatory and finally he looks at his son and says this revenge his foul and most unnatural murder but he wants him to do it even though it's bad and even though it's wrong and even though I'm in purgatory I want you to avenge what happened to me now Claudius remember I told you that moment there's a funny word that's called soliloquy oh there it is civil isola qui and this is a lengthy speech given to oneself when we think nobody else is around we'll talk about that to be or not to be it's a soliloquy and so that's it a monologue is a lengthy speech in the presence of you know other performers that are that are there but this idea of one person speaking and they're speaking to themselves and yet sometimes people listen the audience is listening the readers are listening and sometimes the character sneaks in to kind of hear what's going on and so so Claudius you know when he's thinking about the idea of revenge and he gets confronted with a play and he's by himself and he's doing that he says my office is ranked it smells to heaven now that opening statement tells us that here Claudius is going to start confessing a sin he's on his knees and praying to God it has protein primal eldest curse upon it a brother's murder pray can I not through inclination be as sharp as will my stronger guilt defeats my strong intent and like a man to double business bound I stand in pause where I shall first begin and both neglect what if this cursed hand were thicker than itself with brothers Blood Brothers blood what's he thinking about he's thinking about the first murder ever Cain and Abel a brother killing a brother and Claudius goes on and he's providing a complete confession of his sin but with a confession there really isn't something else there's no repentance because he gets up for his prayer closet of confessing his sin and saying that he is as bad as Cain and all of this and he gets back up and he goes out and continues the plan that he had his evil treacherous plan to kill Hamlet think about that for a moment as we encounter people in our lives right we encounter people that do say they're sorry and and yet those words of sorrow mean nothing because there's really no change and that's called repentance and Claudius is not repentant at all he goes on later to say is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens he's thinking about yeah as bad as I've been is isn't there something that could give me some forgiveness to wash it as white as snow to receive mercy from God you know DS quoting it's quoting Isaiah chapter 1 verse 18 saying if God is that merciful maybe just maybe even a guy like me Claudius maybe God will forgive me and he gets up from the floor of prayer closet no forgiveness at all because there's no real repentance he's not interested in real change he's interested in saying the words but not receiving a real level of change in repentance Hamlet watches all of this he's got a sword caulked he's ready to go and his words are spellbound he cannot send this man to heaven think about that in his belief system in his theology believing that if you kill a man who is praying that's an instant ticket to heaven is that true are there other faiths that if you die you might go right to paradise there other face that believe that but certainly if if we're looking at themes and Christian themes Hamlet had it all wrong if he was gonna kill kill him he should have killed him right there he wasn't and and he would have been okay with you he wouldn't have been okay but you know Claudius wouldn't have gone to heaven but that's what Hamlet believed and it stopped him he stopped him dead in his tracks and this whole idea the afterlife Hamlet wrestles with the afterlife a lot of people think that that that that Shakespeare was Roman Catholic there's nothing wrong in Catholic about him at all if anything he would be a professing a professing Protestant his views were Protestant I'm not saying he was a Christian but certainly his views were in that level even the way he wrestles in the afterlife in the play he talks about a worm he says you know a worm is interesting a worm is used to catch a fish and then the fish feeds the man and nourishes his body the man eventually will die and then the worm will eat the man and he thinks about Alexander the Great in that and he says about Alexander the Great as great as Alexander was is one of the greatest people powerful man but you don't look very powerful on death and the most beautiful women in the world when I die they he by worms they're dust it doesn't matter it doesn't seem like it's very valuable and so you see yd of death he's God you see everyone dies at the end and the idea of revenge and the idea of poison revenge is poisonous nobody wins with the revenge at all and so when Hamlet is thinking about how do I get out of this I could turn to Christ I could turn to Christ and put it all in his hands and not be responsible for it any longer or I could just check out you know today the suicide rate is so high it's never been this high and it's because people are hopeless and helpless and our character Hamlet is hopeless and helpless to be or not to be that is the question whether it's soo nobler in mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them to die to Sleep No More and by a sleep to say we end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is here too tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd to die to sleep to sleep for the sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause there's the respect that makes calamity of so long life for who would bear the whips and scorns of time the oppressors wrong the proud man's continually the pangs of despised love the laws delay the insolence of office the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes when he himself might his Quietus make with a bare bodkin who would these fardels bear to grunt and sweat under a weary life but that the dread of something after death the undiscovered country from whose Bourn no traveler Zeva return puzzles the will it makes us rather bear those ills we have than to fly to others that we know not of thus conscience does not does make cowards of us all and that's the native hue of resolution it's sick old over the pale cast of thought in the enterprises of great pith and moment with this regard their currents turn awry and the loss and name of action and what Hamlet's saying is going through it should I kill myself I don't think so because as bad as this place is here right now the place that I think or don't know even about could be worse than this it could be darker than this and I'm afraid and I don't know what I should do and as we think about evangelism here at compass Bible Church think about that for a moment would you how many people do you think are thinking what I just read to you by Hamlet that if they were to die the darkness where would we go what would it be like it would be worse than this horrible world that we're living at have no hope and and no no help that or helplessness that that we all experience think about that for a second most people don't want to think about what will happen to them in the afterlife they just put it away I was talking to someone recently that was experiencing a death of their loved one and they were unbelievers and saying what do you think happens next what do you think happens next what do you think happens next and they didn't want to think about it it was too terrifying they were they were like Hamlet it's dark I don't know you know what will happen when you die you know exactly what will happen your soul your spirit will be with Christ and then and then one day Christ will come back and take that soul in spirit and put your body back together again you'll live in eternity with Christ you know that Hamlet didn't know that but his conscience knew enough the conscience that God gave him to say I can't kill myself I'm gonna be to be I'm staying in this for now at least the impact of sin the lack of redemption people couldn't work these problems out you can work them at all think about your life and the problems that you have when you cannot work problems out the problems don't go away they just get better think about the end of this plight everybody dies Horatio is the only one left and he's only really left he's left there by Shakespeare to tell the story to the next leaders that are there to tell Hamlet's story but think about the problems in your life and the difficulties of your life if we leave them unchecked spiritually everybody could die spiritually in our relationships with people relationships could die and here shakespeare is saying just that he's showing you cheat you literally these are dead people here but revenge is poison it's poison nobody won in this thing there wasn't one winner in this play it is a true tragedy Hamlet says at the end in his last words as though art a man give me the cup by heaven I'll have it Oh God Horatio what a wounded name things standing thus unknown shall live behind me if thou did this ever hold me in my heart absent thee from the Felicity of a while and in the harsh world draw thy breath in pain to tell my story oh I die Horatio the potent poison quite air Crowes my spirit I cannot live to hear the news from England but I do prophesy the election lights and I'm hoping for fountain Ross he has my dying voice so tell him with the old currents more or less which have solicited the rest is silence and I think what Shakespeare is saying here at the end is that that Hamlet through this whole ordeal death of his father mother marrying his uncle him killing Polonius the death of a woman that he loved through suicide and everybody everybody dead at the end and before he dies he comes to a place of saying you know what Providence Providence I'm gonna die in peace and I'm going to trust God that God is gonna work this out now how it works it out that's a that's another question but Hamlet for sure at the end is no longer a guy that is afraid he has some form of peace and the interpretation of that I'll leave for you people have argued about it and discussed it for for as long as this play has been around there's so much to discuss about it but you can see the idea of revenge revenge my friends is poison revenge is poison if you've got problems let's fix them let's reconcile and restore with people the afterlife you have hope your hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ you can never stand like Hamlet did going I don't know and I'm afraid of the darkness and well what awaits me next do you know what confidence that is do you know how great that is and how much we should rejoice that we're not like Hamlet in this matter of the afterlife what a great thing that is but remember the preponderance of the people that you will run into and your world out there are just like Hamlet they're afraid of the afterlife something you fear not the impact of sin and something being rotten in Denmark is awful because truly it's not only rotten in Denmark it's rotten in the world so says Shakespeare so says the Bible let's pray oh thank you so much for this important play god you're so much at the center of the words that are written the ideas that are thought through God let us be men and women that do not seek revenge I believe that vengeance is in the hands of our maker God is so easy to want retribution and to cry out for it but yet we see the poison that that occurred in the lives of all of these people through seeking revenge and God is Hamlet stood before you Lord and and stood before the ideas of of a demon or a ghost speaking to him he's confused in so many ways he is mad he's crazy because he did not have a relationship with you craziness does set in with no holy spirit inside of you so god help us to remember that the people that we interact with are just like Hamlet they're afraid and they're afraid of their demise so father we have the answer for that it's called the gospel God we rejoice in knowing that simply by repenting of our sin and placing our trust in Christ we become a new creation the old is gone never to be defined by our past but rather defined by the imputed righteousness of your son the Lord Jesus Christ what a what a great promise of Scripture that is you make us brand new so father as we think through this play and we think through the writings of Shakespeare we thank you God for his life and the plays that are still here in this world and we pray God that we would use the themes and the ideas here for our evangelism and for our very own lives and we pray that in Jesus name

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