Act 1, Scene 2
Summary: The king of Denmark is doing king things when Hamlet comes in, looking all gloomy and brooding. The king and queen (Hamlet’s mom, who’d up and married her husband’s brother right after the funeral, which Hamlet is particularly upset and confused about) ask him why he’s still moping around about his dead dad. Everybody dies at some point so it’s nothing to be so sad about. The king even outright calls him a pansy, but in a flowery, Shakespearean way. Hamlet has a moment and then the guards from the previous chapter tell him about the ghost, which he is eager to see and wants them to keep secret.
Reaction: I have to agree with the king that Hamlet is pretty dramatic with his display of grief. He’s allowed to be sad, but he’s taken it pretty far with the clothes and the tears and all that, and it’s not like his dad died yesterday–it’s been two months, so he should at least be done crying in public. But the king comes off pretty unlikable, even if he hasn’t done anything particularly despicable, so I find myself on Hamlet’s side nonetheless.
Prediction: He’s going to see that ghost and will get some pretty shocking information, which will lead to tragedy for all–and lots of speeches and fun language.
Why This Book Is a Classic: Hamlet doesn’t just cry, he has a “fruitful river in the eye.” If Hamlet were in any book but a classic, he’d probably be beaten up for this, though maybe not. It would be pretty risky to pick on someone who seems to be a warrior who’d recently beaten up some Norwegians.
By the way, this post was rated 87% Shakespearean according to this site.