Solutions for Higher Education

Episode 59 - Summer Book Club Book 2: William Shakespeare's Hamlet


President Scott L Wyatt and Steve Meredith are joined by Dr. Joy Sterrantino to discuss the second book in the Summer Book Club: Hamlet. The trio discuss the upcoming performance of Hamlet by the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the complex relationships found within the story, and the overall themes woven into the story.

SUU Blog: President Wyatt’s Summer Book Picks for 2019



Full Transcript

Steve Meredith: Hi again everyone, and welcome to Solutions to Higher Education, a podcast featuring Scott L Wyatt, the president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. I’m your host, Steve Meredith, and I’m joined in-studio today, as I always am, by President Wyatt. Hi, Scott.

Scott Wyatt: Hello, Steve. It’s nice to be here with you today.

Meredith: Another great day, beautiful June day as we are recording this, and you and I actually met last night in Salt Lake City for a really nice event. The university was recognized…I think this is worth mentioning.

Wyatt: I think it’s good that we’re both still awake because it was a late night.

Meredith: Yeah, it was a late night. [Laughs]

Wyatt: Yeah, Best of State. SUU took home three Best of State awards including Best Educational Institution Award. It’s kind of a second year in a row actually, two years running. Out of all the educational institutions in Utah, that’s public, private, higher ed, public ed…

Meredith: That’s great, that’s great. Next year we go for a “three-peat.”

Wyatt: Yeah, we’ll see what happens.

Meredith: Anyway, it was a very nice evening and we don’t toot our own horn too much on this podcast, but I figured that was worth bringing up. So, today is our second book in our summer book club, and it’s actually not just a book but it’s a play, and probably, maybe Shakespeare’s most famous play, or certainly amongst those.

Wyatt: Yeah, and it…if it’s Shakespeare’s most significant play, we can probably take that a step further and say it’s the most significant play. But, before we defend that statement, let’s bring in our guest. So, Joy Sterrantino from our English department, literature professor…

Joy Sterrantino: Hi.

Wyatt: Is here with us today.

Sterrantino: Hi, thank you. Glad to be here.

Wyatt: Joy’s graduate studies focus…you had a few areas of focus, and one was early English literature, which is…

Sterrantino: Early modern literature is what they call it.

Wyatt: Early modern.

Sterrantino: Which is the language of that period.

Wyatt: So, that’s Shakespeare, and what were your other areas?

Sterrantino: Dystopian literature and composition, which is the classes we teach the 1010 and 2010 to make proper argumentative writing.

Wyatt: Yeah, have students be successful in written communication skills.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Wyatt: Well, before we get into this play, I think we ought to defend the statement that this might be the most important play ever. I don’t know how you defend that, but I can say this much, that no play has ever been produced on Broadway more times than Hamlet. Hamlet has been produced by far more than any other play.

Meredith: Really?

Wyatt: So, if that’s a measure, and I think that’s probably a pretty good indication, this could be our most important play ever.

Sterrantino: It could be. I’d have to give that more thought, but it’s definitely not not the most important play. I mean, it’s definitely up there if it’s not the most important play.

Wyatt: Yeah. Yeah, somebody somewhere on a podcast somewhere in the world today is making an argument play is the most important. We’re talking about Hamlet in this summer book club because SUU has a very special Hamlet summer. The Utah Shakespeare Festival, which is part of Southern Utah University, our professional theater department separate from our academic theater department, but the Utah Shakespeare Festival is doing a creative, slightly new take on Hamlet and it opens on July 5th at 2:00pm.

Meredith: Really?

Wyatt: And I have my tickets purchased and I’m ready to go watch it. I don’t want to be a spoiler, so I’m not going to say…

Meredith: But it’s different?

Wyatt: But it’s just a little bit different, a little bit different take.

Sterrantino: And I’m excited about it. It’s going to be really neat.

Wyatt: Yeah. I think I can say this without going too far: Ophelia has a slightly larger role.

Sterrantino: That’s enough to make me go.

Meredith: Yeah.

Wyatt: They haven’t changed any words.

Meredith: So, the words are the same?

Wyatt: Yeah. These plays, you know, everybody puts on these plays, but the way the director sets it up and the emphasis and the language and how they do things and how they’re looking, you can have one paly that has kind of a different meaning just by presenting it differently. And this will have a meaning that I don’t know that anybody’s ever tried doing,

Sterrantino: I’ve never heard of it.

Wyatt: So, everybody needs to come and watch, it’s going to be really fun.

Meredith: Yeah.

Wyatt: And read the play before you come watch it, of course.

Meredith: Yeah. I was going to say, I’m glad they’re not changing the words or updating them or excising them in any way because as I read this again, and I’d read it once before in high school or college and then I had seen the play a couple of times, and read it again this last week, I’m just astonished. Every single time, I’m astonished at how much of Hamlet is in our regular language.

Wyatt: [Laughs]

Meredith: I mean, if anybody stumbles across a skull, what’s the first thing you say? “Alas, poor Yorick!” [All laugh] It just…there are so…

Wyatt: I’ve never stumbled across a skull.

Sterrantino: At the Halloween store.

Meredith: Well, that’s right. [All laugh] I’m surprised with you, with your background. [Laughs]

Wyatt: I’ve had skulls, but I’ve never stumbled across them. [Laughs]

Meredith: That’s right. But, I mean, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” How many times have you heard that statement?

Wyatt: Yeah.

Meredith: And there are so many of these things that you say, “That’s either a proverb from the Bible or it’s Shakespeare.” And it’s a pretty good coin flip as to which has had the most impact on the language, and this particular play especially.

Wyatt: Yeah, Joy, what are…so, for those that have never read the play or seen it, we’re going to tell them right now that they’ve heard…

Sterrantino: Oh, yeah.

Wyatt: Quite a bit of them.

Sterrantino: There’s so many different things. The ones that you mentioned, there’s, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”

Wyatt: Which is a great statement.

Meredith: Yep.

Sterrantino: Yeah, although it’s funny because the person who says it, Polonius, he just kind of spouts off for long periods of time. [All laugh] But, he’s telling his son all the things that he needs to be when he goes away back to college, essentially.

Meredith: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

Wyatt: Yeah, it is a pity that the person making the statement is an advisor to a tyrant.

Meredith: Yeah.

Sterrantino: Yeah, I don’t think that necessarily was a choice on his part, though. It just is kind of…the job just kind of was fluid when the new king came in.

Wyatt: Yeah, that’s probably right.

Sterrantino: But, there’s also so many things, just the “To be or not to be” speech, “That is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing them to die, to sleep.” There’s also, “To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub; for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come? For who would bear the whips and scorns of time?” “The undiscover’d country from who is born, no traveler returns, puzzles the will.” So, all of those are just from that monologue, but there’s other things like, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.”

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

Wyatt: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

Meredith: Yep.

Sterrantino: Yeah, that one gets used a lot.

Wyatt: Which really means, “be short.” [All laugh]

Meredith: It’s funnier the shorter it is.

Wyatt: Yeah. Great little lines.

Meredith: I probably say, “There’s method to my madness” five times a week. [Laughs]

Sterrantino: Yeah, yeah. It’s true.

Meredith: Usually when I’m trying to convince my wife of some cockamamie scheme or another, yes.

Sterrantino: Yeah, in this case it was Polonius trying to figure out what was going on with Hamlet, and so, he was acting mad but there was logic to the madness. At least to Hamlet, and Polonius recognized that.

Meredith: Hmm.

Wyatt: Let’s set this play up. There’s about five major characters, or six. Joy, can you tell us Hamlet in a paragraph?

Sterrantino: The whole play? Yeah, I probably can. So, are we worrying about spoilers at this point? I think we’re past that time period, we don’t need to worry about spoilers.

Wyatt: Don’t worry about spoilers.

Sterrantino: OK. It’s a tragedy, Shakespeare’s tragedies don’t end well. So, King Hamlet is killed by his brother, but nobody realizes this, but King Hamlet’s ghost is at the beginning of the play asking…

Wyatt: And his brother is Claudius.

Sterrantino: Yeah, his brother is Claudius, and he’s…will only speak to Hamlet, his son, the son comes and essentially he tells him to avenge him and so…but they were also worried about the fact that the ghost might be not really his father because the devil can change the look and make it a positive or a pleasant one. So, Hamlet acts mad for a while to try to figure out what’s going on for real. And then he has a group of theater players come in to reenact the play, it’s called Murder of Gonzago, but he changes enough of it that his father will recognize it. In the meantime, his father—or, his uncle, I’m sorry…

Wyatt: This is a fascinating piece, isn’t it?

Sterrantino: It is.

Wyatt: His uncle, Claudius, is believed to have—we know he did—but Hamlet was told by his father’s ghost, maybe, probably…

Sterrantino: Well, yeah…

Wyatt: He marries Hamlet’s mother.

Sterrantino: Yeah, and it was right after the father died, within a couple of months. In fact, that’s one of the big things that Hamlet has a fuss about is the fact that they use the, the way he put it was they used the food that was still warm from the funeral for the wedding.

Wyatt: So, Claudius kills King Hamlet and then Claudius marries…

Meredith: His widow.

Wyatt: His widow, Gertrude, who is Hamlet’s…

Meredith: Mother.

Wyatt: Mother. The ghost comes…

Meredith: Before he’s even cold in the ground, yeah.

Wyatt: The ghost comes and tells Hamlet what happened and to avenge him. Hamlet feigns insanity to try to figure out if it’s true and goes about trying to get revenge.

Sterrantino: Yeah, he has a troupe come in and reenact it to see what reaction Claudius has and the mother as well. And then, there’s…

Wyatt: And it works.

Sterrantino: It does, it works. It totally freaks the king out and then there’s this whole thing where Claudius tries to kill Hamlet. He sends him away and asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to follow with a letter. They don’t realize the letter says, “Oh, by the way, Norway just killed Hamlet while he’s there.” But he gets away with that, which is why we have the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Based on those two little, big characters.

Meredith: Which is a very funny play.

Sterrantino: I love that play so much. [All laugh] So, Hamlet comes back and there’s these plots, so, Laertes blames…well, he did. Hamlet at one point ends up inadvertently killing Polonius thinking it is Claudius, Laertes finds out and so, he wants revenge, even though they were best friends and all this stuff. And then, Ophelia dies and that’s his sister, so he’s mad about that too. And so, he’s going to poison Hamlet with the poison on his sword when they are fencing. In the meantime, there’s poison in the wine…

Wyatt: And just in case that doesn’t happen…

Sterrantino: Yes, Claudius puts…

Wyatt: The backup…

Sterrantino: Poison in the wine for him also and says, “If you win, you get this pearl” and puts it in the wine. But, of course, Hamlet’s not the one that drinks the wine, so, we end up with almost everybody dead at the end.

Wyatt: Yeah, it…not the happiest of endings.

Meredith: No. No, when you coat everything in poison, the party is going to end badly. Almost always.

Sterrantino: Yeah, more or less, he’s at the end just saying, “Tell my story” to the last survivor of that group of people.

Wyatt: So, Joy, why do we care about this play? Why has this play been done more times than any other plays on Broadway and why is it that 400 years later we’re still talking about it?

Sterrantino: I’m not entirely positive. It is fascinating because of this whole…the ideas of loyalty to family, the idea of corrupt government, or even corruption within one’s own family and how do you deal with that? Hamlet had…revenge was one of those things where you just had a dual in that period and that was accepted to do that, but this was complicated because the king was head of the church technically also, so that means that he was supposedly had the right from God to be the king, and so Hamlet wasn’t sure if he had the right to kill him in that respect, but at the same time, he needed to avenge his father, and what would we do in that situation? Which is the reason why I think we find this so interesting. And then his relationship with Ophelia gets damaged while he’s…because he’s so busy trying to get the revenge. And just the reactions of the different people in the court…I think it’s really popular because we can…it’s so complicated and so, we try to insert ourselves and say, “OK, if we were in this situation, what would we do?”

Meredith: Right. I even find myself thinking about Claudius. You know, he’s a good villain…

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: He does villainous things, no question, but if you had recently been at war and if, as was the history of Europe, marriage and the joining of families was one of the ways that you held on to land and kingdoms and so forth, I’m sure in his mind, he could make a valid argument that, “This marriage needs to take place now so that there seems to be stability at the top of the government in Denmark.”

Sterrantino: Yeah, I’m not sure how he justified poisoning his brother…

Wyatt: Right.

Meredith: No, as I say, he’s a terrible psychopath, I’m just…

Sterrantino: But no, you could totally justify that because that’s what probably would have happened anyway.

Meredith: “If I’m going to do this, this would have happened anyway.”

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: It’s a…the things that cause the people in these plays to do what they do are very interesting studies in human behavior, and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s stayed around so long.

Sterrantino: Yeah. One of the most fascinating things for me personally is the way he treats Ophelia, because you get mixed messages. There’s a love letter that Polonius reads because he’s a nosy dad and he shouldn’t be reading that, but he does, that professes Hamlet’s love. He assumes Hamlet’s just trying to seduce her.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: Tells her to stay away from him, which she doesn’t really want to do. And I think a lot of Ophelia’s madness has to do with the fact that everybody is telling her what to do and not to do. She has no control over her life. And so, then Hamlet, who was professing to love her. Starts attacking her, essentially.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: Verbally. “Get thee to a nunnery” is another really famous line. And I think some of that was feigned, I think some of that was the fact that he was so angry with his mother and the falseness of women. At that point, he was kind of making a blanket statement on all women.

Meredith: Yeah.

Sterrantino: And so, that got put on Ophelia as well. And so, she gets rejected and she goes mad, which is just this little side plot that’s terribly sad, and then when she does actually die, she drowns, Hamlet feels really remorseful. He has this beautiful line…I think I actually have it written down, but it’s this speech where he is like, essentially saying how much he loved Ophelia, and he’s like, “A thousand brothers couldn’t make up the sum of my love.” So, in the end, he reveals himself as, “No, I really did love her.” And…

Meredith: “I was acting crazy and that’s why I treated her that way.”

Sterrantino: Yeah, and I think there’s remorse in that statement because he’s just like, “Well, maybe I took this a little too far.”

Meredith: Yeah.

Wyatt: There’s a…as we ask ourselves, “What’s the relevance in this play?” And there’s a great quote in here that we use, and I’ve heard it a ton of times, this is Claudius when he’s praying, “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” This is when he’s having maybe one of those brief moments where he’s actually thinking about what he’s done.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Wyatt: And…

Sterrantino: Yeah, so he goes through the motions, but he realizes, “Well, it doesn’t really count because I’m not feeling it.”

Wyatt: Yeah, and he talks about how can he repent? And he’s the king, he killed the king and took his place, married the king’s widow, so now he’s in charge, and he’s struggling with repenting of this event but maybe there’s nothing to repent of because he got away with it.

Sterrantino: Hmm.

Wyatt: And God didn’t punish him, he got what he wanted.

Sterrantino: Well, yeah.

Wyatt: And he’s OK.

Sterrantino: For now.

Wyatt: For now. And so…

Meredith: I read a couple of monographs about…

Wyatt: Can a king do wrong?

Meredith: Right.

Wyatt: I mean, I remember this from…there’s a lot of heads of state who would say that the president or the king or whoever can really do no wrong.

Meredith: Right, the end always justifies the means, whatever they are.

Sterrantino: Yeah, whatever.

Wyatt: Well, if you’re in charge of the laws, then you’re outside of the laws.

Meredith: That’s right.

Wyatt: And in America, as in most countries, we believe in the rule of the law, so even the head of state is obligated to stay within them. But, I think I remember the…when the Pentagon Papers…not the Pentagon Papers but the Watergate Scandal but Nixon made some comment about “The president can’t do anything wrong.”

Sterrantino: Yeah. He was really bold about defending himself.

Wyatt: If I do it, it’s OK.

Meredith:Yeah.

Wyatt: And the list of people that would have said that around the world is a long list.

Meredith: Over history, yeah. 

Sterrantino: Yeah. Well, and it’s more complicated even when there’s royalty because there’s this anointed…an anointing that physically takes place when someone becomes king or queen and they are representing God on earth, essentially.

Wyatt: They have the divine right of God to rule.

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: That’s right.

Sterrantino: And so, that makes it seem like they won’t do anything wrong. But clearly, that’s not what history tells us.

Meredith: I was saying, I read a couple of monographs and one of them was about the Christian themes that pervade through Hamlet and the writer was kind of comparing Oedipus to Hamlet and where there’s this strange relationship between mother and son and ultimately they end up in tragedy both, but he was saying the difference between the ancient Greeks essentially believed in fate and the Gods had determined your fate, so Oedipus could do nothing about it. He was fated to marry his mother and pluck his eyes out and so forth, but that Hamlet, and Shakespeare being a product of the Protestant reformation and just sort of Christianity generally, there is all sorts of discussion of repentance and morality and conscience and other things, and particularly personal choice. So, Hamlet could at any time have stopped from doing the things that he ultimately did, he just couldn’t make himself stop. Couldn’t keep from doing it. But it was that the Gods had fated that that was the case, it was that these were personal choices that he was making out of the sin of revenge.

Sterrantino: Yeah, I don’t actually know if he felt like he had a choice.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: But obviously there was a choice there, but when you bring up the ideals in Christianity when he had an opportunity to kill Claudius, but Claudius was in prayer.

Meredith: That’s right.

Sterrantino: And at the time, the belief was if you were praying, your soul went straight to heaven. And so, not only did he want to kill him, he wanted to make sure that is not where his soul went.

Meredith: Right. [Laughs]

Sterrantino: And so, he waited to kill him until later.

Meredith: One of the…I think one of the tragic little scenes in this is after the death of Ophelia, the discussion of whether or not she can be buried in holy ground.

Sterrantino: That’s right.

Meredith: Because did she kill herself? If she did, she’s not entitled to Christian burial.

Wyatt: Because she committed sin.

Meredith: Yeah. So, those themes, those kind of renaissance Christian themes really pervade this, and I thought that was kind of interesting because if you…as you said, the will to avenge your father’s death was so strong, I’m sure he felt as though he had no choice.

Sterrantino: Well, and you know, if your father’s ghost shows up and tells you to do that…

Meredith: Exactly.

Sterrantino: How do you right with that? [All laugh]

Meredith: That’s right. If your father appears to you in your sleep…

Sterrantino: If you’re sure that it’s real…

Meredith: That’s right. The world is full of things where someone appeared to you in a dream or a sleep or a vision of some kind and told you to go do something and people go do it.

Sterrantino: Right. And there were other witnesses.

Meredith: That’s right.

Sterrantino: And so, it wasn’t just him having this vision on his own. And he made him swear, the father’s ghost made him swear, which is binding.

Meredith: Yep. Anyway, I just always thought…I thought that was kind of an interesting take on it.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Meredith: So, tell me this: when Hamlet brings in the other group of players…

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Meredith: To create, and you remember the title of the play…

Sterrantino: Murder of Gonzago.

Meredith: The Murder of Gonzago, and then he says, “I’ve changed it, it’s called the Mousetrap.”

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Meredith: At what point does it become obvious to his uncle that he is a real threat and that he’s going to have to be killed? Is it kind of throughout or is it…because I kept wondering because Gertrude seems not really to be involved although there’s a little bit of nebulousness in her relationship with Hamlet.

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: And she seems really devoted to her new husband.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: And I just, I wonder at what point Gertrude recognizes that her new husband is going to kill her son and I wonder if it’s from the very first minute of the play that the king…he already knows he’s usurped this boys right probably to be the king anyway. Does he know he’s going to have to kill him?

Sterrantino: I don’t know.

Meredith: Or is it that moment in the play where he kind of freaks out?

Sterrantino: I actually think it’s during the play that he freaks out because earlier he talks about Hamlet being his son, he’s trying to be a father figure to him. And I’ve never read it as Gertrude knowing what’s going on.

Meredith: Right, I agree.

Sterrantino: So, during the play, the essentially act out the exact things. The king, I mean, the brother of the king puts poison in the king’s ear while he’s sleeping, which is a habit that Hamlet’s father had, he always slept in the garden so they knew that, so at that point, I think…I don’t know that Gertrude knew what was going on at that point but I do think that Claudius was like, “Wait a minute, that’s really too much of a coincidence.” But then with the marrying the mother and stuff and eventually, it dawns on Gertrude, it dawns on Claudius and then what are they going to do about it? Well, I don’t know that she…her, “What are we doing to do about it?” Is different than Claudius’.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: Because then she’s essentially committed adultery and she has to deal with the fact that, “Wow, my husband was murdered and by my new husband” which just is a lot of information. There is a version of it, a movie version with Patrick Stewart being Claudius and then David Tennant is Hamlet and right before…or right at the end of the movie, there’s a part where Gertrude is toasting to her son, to Hamlet, and she picks up the goblet that has the poison in it and Claudius is like, “Don’t!” And in that particular version it was so moving because you could her face recognize, “Oh my gosh, this was meant for Hamlet which means it’s poison” and she purposely makes that decision to drink it. It wasn’t an accident.

Meredith: Huh.

Sterrantino: And I’ve seen versions, too, where she accidentally drunk it too, but in this case, she realized the whole enormity of everything, and she drank it on purpose, and it was just really moving.

Wyatt: How can you live in a world where you’re married to…so, she must have figured it out by then.

Sterrantino: It might have been, yeah.

Wyatt: According to that version.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Wyatt: This reminds me of Machiavelli Prince because…slightly off topic, but relevant, Machiavelli was in the royal court, sent out to the country, lost his standing, was raising pigs or whatever it was that he was doing, he wanted to re-win favor, so he wrote the prince. And the prince was advice to government leaders and one of the things that he said was, “When you take over, you’ve got to kill every heir to the throne.”

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Wyatt: And that’s what Claudius is doing. He’s getting rid of every heir because if…he was pretending like Hamlet was his son and he’s going to take care of him.

Meredith: Right.

Wyatt: But, if you’re the kind of person that just killed to get power, then you assume that other people would kill to get power. And he can’t…he can’t trust Hamlet.

Sterrantino: That’s true. Although there’s no indication that that was part of the plan until he figured out that Hamlet figured out what had happened. But, if we base it just on his personality and on his history, there’s a good chance that he was thinking about that beforehand. It’s just that we as an audience don’t realize it at that point, or until that point.

Meredith: Or at least he always had it in his back pocket. “If this kid ever figures this out, I’m going to have to whack him.”

Sterrantino: Yeah. Or, “If he does anything that’s irritating” more or less.

Meredith: Yeah, yeah.

Wyatt: The father of modern political science or however we would describe Machiavelli.

Meredith: Yeah.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Wyatt: Was giving that advice and it probably was advice that was known and probably advice that people were doing, anyway.

Meredith: Yeah.

Sterrantino: Well, it comes up a lot in literature.

Wyatt: Yeah.

Sterrantino: So…

Wyatt: What else is interesting about this play? There’s a line in here…or, there’s a little discussion in this that I think is a really fun part which is about the worms.

Sterrantino: Oh, the grave digger.

Wyatt: And the fish.

Sterrantino: Yeah, I think that’s a lovely part. The grave digger or the clown he’s called sometimes is…his job is to dig a grave for Ophelia, but he’s digging out an old grave, which may have to do with the fact that they don’t know if she can have a Christian burial or not, and so, he’s bantering with Hamlet about this and the fact that the worms eat the body of the dead and then the fish eat the worms and then the king can feast upon the fish. So, by association, the king is feasting on dead bodies also.

Wyatt: Well, and that the king will end up being the food for beggars.

Meredith: Eventually dies and…

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: That’s right.

Sterrantino: Exactly. And so, it’s both directions, yeah.

Wyatt: Both directions. That ultimately, we become fertilizer or food.

Sterrantino: Yeah. Yeah, which is something, I think, you can’t say that directly to the king but because it’s in word play, and he wasn’t talking directly to the king anyway at that point, but it was in word play and he was just kind of making a funny observation and so you can get away with saying things like that.

Meredith: So, a lot is made of Hamlet feigning madness, and then some scholars, I think, think that at some point, he actually really loses his mind for at least a portion of the play, or at the very least, he becomes so riveted, so fascinated by the idea of revenge that he’s not thinking clearly and he’s not really just going through the motions of pretending. And maybe he’s just a great actor, but there’s an interesting part of his character, I think, that I’d like to get your insight on, which is that we hear him talk a lot. He seems like he is constantly, “To be, or not to be.” He’s constantly weighing life and death, he’s constantly…he seems almost paralyzed. Because if he was…he becomes fairly early on convinced that this is the ghost of his father…

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: He should avenge his father. Well, just take the sword while he’s asleep and chop his head off, right? And I think there are people, Laertes maybe, these are men of action who would do that. Instead, Hamlet, and of course…well, part of it’s a plot contrivance because that would be a 15 minute play otherwise instead of two and a half hours, but part of his character, part of his makeup seems to be this constant weighing…

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: Of things. And, of course, it’s some of Shakespeare’s most beautiful and most haunting writing, but ultimately, it makes him a character that’s inside himself all the time. Inside his head. We hear that a lot and we hear his thoughts in a way that maybe in a movie we might hear as a voice over almost.

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: We get inside this character. But he seems almost stymied into inaction by that and I’ve always wondered, people that lead lives of the mind.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Meredith: Are…they’re really interesting to talk to, but ultimately nothing happens or ultimately you don’t get anything done. [All laugh] And there’s probably something to do with higher education here sometimes that I’m trying to make. [Laughs]

Sterrantino: That’s what I thought of. [Laughs]

Meredith: But, I guess what I’m saying is there’s…I’m always fascinated every time I see this play by how much we hear of him but how little he actually does. And then, when the action happens, boy, it really happens in a flurry, in a burst.

Sterrantino: Yeah, yeah.

Meredith: But really, the whole play is him interacting but really even less of that, just thinking about these tragic events that have led up to him and then weighing life versus death, weighing committing suicide versus being alive and all those things.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: And I’ve…to me, to me that is one of the things that makes Hamlet such an interesting character, maybe so enduring, is because we really get in his mind in a way that we maybe don’t with other Shakespeare characters.

Sterrantino: Yeah, I think that’s true. Because we see a lot of plays where somebody needs to be avenged and they go out and avenge them.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: And that’s the end of the whole thing. But, yeah, in this one, he starts out melancholy before any…well, obviously he lost his father, but it lingers more than I think it does maybe for most people, and that gets mentioned. But then, he shies away from it. He really didn’t want to have to kill anybody and I think that’s one reason that his father’s ghost made him swear because he probably knew he wasn’t really had a strong enough will to do it because he wanted to do it. And then he hems and haws about it for a good portion of the play where he’s not sure if he should do it, if it would be easier if he was just dead because he’s so unhappy, but, of course, what is it exactly…when he did the “What dreams may come” so,

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For [in] that sleep of death what dreams may come

When he 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 the scorns of time,

For oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin?

(Saying he could just kill himself)

Who would fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscover’d country from whose bourn

No traveler returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

So, if it were simple for him, if anything were simple for him, he would just kill himself. That would solve the problem.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: He wouldn’t have to kill his uncle, he wouldn’t have to deal with his mother or anything of that, but, because his father, right at the beginning, makes him swear to do this vengeance but also the fact that he’s saying, “I’m also a coward” which that’s a different debate whether it’s cowardly or not to commit suicide, but from his own point of view, he’s too cowardly to do that. And he really does feel to cowardly even to kill his uncle. But you mentioned a second ago whether he was feigning madness or became mad and I don’t know the answer to that. I believe that he absolutely feigns it, at least at the beginning, I think he gets really caught up in the revenge more than feigning madness…or, not feigning madness, becoming mad, and I think it’s only with the death of Ophelia how far he really took it. How much the effect of his actions effected other people, even people he loved. Because he clearly loved Ophelia, and then when she was dead, he was like, “Oh, wow. I loved her so much.” And I think in his mind he’s thinking, “I should have been paying more attention to what I was doing to her but I was so busy” and this is not in the words of the play, this is me, “I was so busy getting revenge for my father that I did not realize that I had destroyed her.”

Wyatt: You know, the question about…that the two of you are talking about Joy and Steve and why is it taking Hamlet so long to figure out to do what he is supposed to do and is he a coward or not or whatever, I…so, what’s great about Hamlet is that any opinion has been stated by some expert.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Meredith: Yeah.

Wyatt: Because so many people have talked about it, so I don’t mean to say that this is true, but I’m inclined to believe that this play has nothing to do with revenge, it has everything to do with good government/bad government, because if it was about revenge, he could have just taken revenge. But we…

Meredith: And also, human…

Wyatt: But we drag this out so long…

Meredith: That’s right.

Wyatt: So that we can talk about human nature.

Meredith: Yeah.

Wyatt: The nature of governance and “Does the rule of law apply to the leaders?” And we have this horribly corrupt government where they’re turning friends against friends, getting friends to spy against friends.

Meredith: Yeah.

Wyatt: Manipulating their own family members, like Ophelia, to play in their plot or to take advantage of them and this is one of the reasons why the play is so prominent among plays is that it’s kind of a play for all times.

Meredith: Yep.

Wyatt: In that this is what we need to be careful of.

Meredith: Well, and you can see yourself in Hamlet as he weighs those things if you were presented with the same, or similar, choices.

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: You can see that, you know, on the one hand, this and on the other hand, this. And I think that everybody goes through that process. It’s just that he does it so much and so beautifully in such, as you read that again, I’m just still astonished. “Bare bodkin,” “Ay, there’s the rub.” In just those ten lines you read there are things that we say all the time.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: And it’s just…it’s indicative of the beauty of Shakespeare’s writing the impact he’s had on the English language, but also I think everybody can see themselves in that inability to make that decision and inability to make hard decisions.

Sterrantino: Yeah. I mean, it’s really hard to envision the fact, the idea of…for us to say, “Oh, what would I do if a ghost came and told me, if a family member came and told me that I needed to do this?” Or really anybody else. I mean, it could be an angel or whatever. “What do I do about that when it’s really against my nature to do so?” So, yeah. I think that’s one of the main reasons that it does resonate with people because he struggles so much and so openly about that decision of what to do. About his own life, about Claudius’s life and then he’s starting to lose trust in other people because of these things that have happened. He’s losing trust in his mother even though his mother didn’t mean to do anything wrong.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: But obviously, from his point of view, she did do that by marrying so quickly.

Meredith: And if you feel like you can’t even trust your own mother…

Sterrantino: Yeah, that’s a problem.

Meredith: That really would shake you to your foundations.

Sterrantino: Well, yeah. And that’s, again, while he was attacking Ophelia, he essentially, well, OK, essentially said, “If my mother” and again, these are not the words of the play, “If I can’t trust my mother then all women must be corrupt and I just need to stay away from them.”

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: “And they’re all evil.” Which is a huge jump, but he’s a very emotional man and so, everything that he does is this huge emotional decision and emotional toll that it takes on him.

Wyatt: “Get thee to a nunnery.”

Sterrantino: Yeah. He thought it would be better to live a chaste life rather than lie to somebody. Which we know that she didn’t actually do, but at that point, I actually think…because that was the part that threw me about, “Was he really being mad or not? Why would he hurt Ophelia?” But, I think he was so hurt by his mother at that point that he took some of that out on her. So, I don’t think all of it was, “Hey, I’m going to plan on hurting Ophelia.” I think he was hurt and confused and angry and he took some of it out on her.

Meredith: Yeah. There are some versions of the play and some experts I’ve heard opine that they’ve actually already been intimate, Hamlet and Ophelia, and that perhaps she’s even carrying a child and that this has led her to the fateful decision to kill herself, essentially. And there’s no indication in the text…

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: Of any of that, but as you said, President, every expert with a Ph.D. has weighed in on this play.

Wyatt: Mhmm.

Meredith: And there are some that have said, “Yeah, he’s mean to her” and I guess if she felt like she had no control over her life and she had a brother and a father that were really controlling and then the one man that she loved all the sudden turned on her, maybe that would make her so despondent, but perhaps there were also these other things that were not in the play.

Sterrantino: Well, sure.

Meredith: Or were not obvious in the play.

Wyatt: And maybe something’s going on that…

Meredith: Right.

Wyatt: We can’t tell you.

Meredith: Yeah, so you have to come see the other version of the play.

Wyatt: So, you have to come watch it.

Meredith: That’s right.

Wyatt: The new, improved Ophelia.

Meredith: That’s right.

Wyatt: So, we have a friend who lives in Washington, D.C., taught Shakespeare at Georgetown University and served as a board member of the Shakespeare Theater there. His wife served on a Shakespeare board in another community and has a daughter serving in another one. So, there’s three and he comes out to Cedar City every summer with his family to watch plays here. What he would say is, if he was here, is that this is the best theater because you watch the play in the evening and then the next morning, you get to attend the seminar. We have a pre-play orientation, presentation, for those that choose, then the play, then the next morning you can sit and talk with an expert and others who watched the play the night before and discuss it. It makes it a complete interesting package.

Meredith: Yeah.

Wyatt: Where that if you watch a play in a big city at some theater…

Sterrantino: Well, even at the globe. They don’t do that at the globe.

Wyatt: You just go home.

Meredith: Yeah, that’s right.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Wyatt: You just go home. It’s over, you just go home. You don’t have a chance to really talk it through. This is the best place to watch a play.

Meredith: That’s a very cool part of what we do here.

Sterrantino: Yeah, it is.

Wyatt: Ophelia is, I think, the most sympathetic character in the play because she’s manipulated by her father, by the king, whatever happens with her and Hamlet. She falls in love with Hamlet and her dad and her brother remind her that she’s a lower class than Hamlet, that she should get away from him.

Sterrantino: Well, because she's’…they essentially think that Hamlet’s playing with her.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: But even the…

Wyatt: But even that, the daughter of a servant of the king is not…it doesn’t go anywhere if you fall in love with the king’s son.

Sterrantino: Although, Polonius does apologize for that later when he reads the letter. He’s like, “Oh, OK. I think he actually meant it. I didn’t realize…”

Meredith: Yeah.

Sterrantino: But, at the very first part where Ophelia comes in, Laertes lecturing her, then Polonius lectures her and makes him show her the letter, which I…the privacy thing is just not an option for her. Yeah. So, you know. There’s this whole background that we don’t know about where, I realize that women had very few rights in that time period, but at the same time, maybe her family was worse than most families. You don’t know that part of it either.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: Again, we don’t know her background, but yeah. So, there’s just a lot of other people telling her who she is and what she needs to do.

Meredith: Yeah. I think that is why she’s so sympathetic is because these wheels are set in motion and she’s really powerless, more or less, to stop any of it. It’s why Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is funny, too. These are these two, small…

Sterrantino: Big players.

Meredith: Characters and now it’s Hamlet told from their point of view and their kind of watching the whole thing unfold and saying, “What the heck is going on?”

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: And it’s kind of these absurdist comedy thing between these two goofy friends of Hamlet’s and so, there are those characters to whom the play happens.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: And that’s kind of what I think about Ophelia. This whole thing is just happening to her and it…there’s nothing she can do about it.

Sterrantino: Yeah, in a way, the whole play happened to everybody.

Meredith: Yeah, right.

Sterrantino: There’s really nobody, I think, that actually has control over anything.

Meredith: Yeah.

Sterrantino: Because even Hamlet gets his revenge, but he died.

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: So, that didn’t go over as well as he was hoping.

Meredith: Well, that was the whole thing about that Oedipus and the Greek fate versus free choice was, “Does anybody in this play really have any choice?” If your father came to you and said, “Swear an oath, you’ve got to avenge my death.” Well, that feels like the Gods to me. Feels like that’s taking your free will away.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Wyatt: Yeah. Well, and this play has…so, what we would say is, “Read this play.” This is a great play to read.

Meredith: It’s amazing.

Wyatt: Read the play and then come watch it. But additionally, there’s a lot of other ways that somebody can be introduced to this play and one of them is to watch movies like The Lion King.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Wyatt: Which is a…

Sterrantino: Which is the retelling of Hamlet.

Wyatt: Retelling the story.

Sterrantino: Of course, it’s not exact, right?

Wyatt: Yeah, they change…

Sterrantino: But it’s off…the main plot is there.

Meredith: I saw a funny internet meme that down the left hand side was all the things that happened in Hamlet and on the right hand side…the last thing was, in Hamlet, everybody dies, in Lion King, Elton John sings a song at the end, [All laugh]

Sterrantino: It’s Disney, what do you want?

Meredith: There you go.

Sterrantino: That’s funny.

Wyatt: Yeah. All the characters are there. The ending is a little different.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Wyatt: Not everyone dies in Lion King. It’s a Disney movie, so it has to have a happy ending.

Meredith: That’s right.

Sterrantino: Yeah. But, for people who are intimidated by the language, and I get that, it gets easier, for one thing. But there are other ways to read it. There’s No Fear Shakespeare and they have a website, even, where you can read the play and a modern interpretation of it. So, if you don’t know what some of the language means, which, there’s no reason why you would know that. So, at the time, that was the language they spoke, but we don’t speak early modern English anymore, except for in that circumstance, but there are ways to learn the language. But, even if you don’t get everything, the more you go to these plays, the more you start to understand. So, a lot of it is just exposing yourself to it and I know people are worried about…sometimes people are worried about feeling stupid.

Meredith: Yeah.

Sterrantino: Not being able to keep up, and that’s OK. If you don’t, you can always watch it again, or, again, with reading the book where you can slow down and look at it. One of the things that I teach my 1010s is I always teach them one of the plays from whatever Shakespeare Utah Shakespeare Festival is doing and we do the graphic novel of it.

Meredith: Oh.

Sterrantino: So, they have the visual and the words, which I think is a really good way to learn Shakespeare because you have context for the words, but you can also do it at your own pace, where with the play, you just want to tell the actors, “Hang on! I’m not there yet!”

Meredith: Yeah.

Sterrantino: “I’m still trying to figure out what you said.”

Meredith: And reading the book, the struggle for me with the book, and I was glad what I thought was a really great annotated version of it that just had a running glossary.

Sterrantino: Yeah.

Meredith: But, I just thought to myself, “Holy mackerel, it’s so much easier when you add the action to this.”

Sterrantino: Oh, yeah.

Wyatt: Yeah. 

Meredith: It’s so much easier. Because I just would think, “OK, I got about six words out of that previous paragraph and they were all ‘the’ and ‘and.’” [All laugh] So, I’m checking the glossary, I’m going to the bottom of the page every line three or four times.

Sterrantino: Yeah, it’s practice but that’s the way these plays were never meant to be read, that was not the intention. They were intended to be watched by a modern audience of their time…

Meredith: Right.

Sterrantino: That would understand it. It was not this haughty thing just for kings and queens, which I think there’s a misinterpretation that some people think that that’s what Shakespeare was about, but it wasn’t. He had the groundlings…I teach study abroad with Jeb Branin in London two weeks every May and we take them to Shakespeare’s plays, and we have the students be groundlings. So, they stand up, right? And some of them were leaning straight against the play. That was the common people, you made sure that they could afford to go.

Meredith: Hmm.

Sterrantino: They understood the jokes, or even when it wasn’t a joke. Obviously there aren’t a lot of jokes in Hamlet, there are some, but he made sure that that was accessible to everybody. That was super important to Shakespeare’s time.

Wyatt: Yeah. And there are a lot of editions of Shakespeare. The one that I read was Folger’s Shakespeare.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Wyatt: And I read it on my Kindle.

Sterrantino: Oh, yeah.

Wyatt: Which made it very enjoyable because I’d hit something like, “Brevity is the soul of wit” and I’d think, “OK what does that exactly mean?” And I’d click on it and it says to me, “A wise speech, a few words carry the central meaning.” It has nothing to do with wit in the sense that I think of whit.

Sterrantino: Yeah, not the way we think of whit.

Wyatt: It’s just saying, “Make your words brief and it will be more effective.”

Sterrantino: Which is exactly why that is funny in that play because Polonius just goes on and on and on about everything, but he says that. So, he knows the rules, he just doesn’t follow them.

Wyatt: Yeah. But constantly through here, it was fun to click on a word and get the definition.

Meredith: Yeah, the commonly used at that time definition.

Wyatt: It kind of slowed me down because I found it fun to explore the language.

Sterrantino: Well, it’s so much easier than it used to be that way. So, you either had a version that had a glossary or annotations on the side, or you just had to kind of force your way through it and now, there’s all kinds of ways to learn Shakespeare. One of the reasons that I wanted to go into Shakespeare studies is because I thought, “I really want to know this language. I want to understand it and be able to go to the plays and get what’s going on no matter what it is.” And that fascinated me. But it was harder to study it back without the internet.

Meredith: Right.

Wyatt: Yeah.

Sterrantino: And without these easier versions…

Wyatt: So accessible.

 

Sterrantino: Of the play to read, yeah. Like, No Fear Shakespeare is a really good one because it’s modern wording on one side and the actual wording on the other side. And it was kind of this thing like, “Well, if you can’t figure it out, you shouldn’t be reading Shakespeare” which is not really true.

Wyatt: It wasn’t Shakespeare’s intent.

Sterrantino: No, definitely not.

Meredith: No, surely not.

Sterrantino: Well, it’s also funny because I had heard before, and I think I thought this when I was a kid, that “Shakespeare would never make a dirty joke” or whatever, which is all he does. [Laughs]

Meredith: Wanna bet? [Laughs]

Sterrantino: Yeah. You know, he wasn’t body. He was just very, very body and if he was doing things today, we don’t think about that very often, but if he was doing things today, they’d probably be rated R, there would probably be nudity, there probably would be a lot of language in it.

Wyatt: Well, there is a lot of language in it.

Sterrantino: Well, there is, we just don’t get the language.

Wyatt: We don’t get it.

Sterrantino: I actually think Shakespeare wouldn’t be taught in high school if the students understood what they were reading. But since they don’t, we don’t have to worry about that. But if it was put into modern terms, it might be a little iffy.

Wyatt: There’s a lot of phrases that we just let go over our heads because we don’t understand them.

Meredith: Yeah. This is the argument I have with colleagues all the time in Classical music. In some cases, this was meant to be some special thing that was meant only for a special group of people, but 95% of these people were just trying to write hits.

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: Mozart was trying to write a hit, and he wanted it to be accessible for everyone. By the end of his life, he’s lost most of his jobs.

Sterrantino: Right.

Meredith: Kind of drunk his way through most of the really good jobs in Europe at the time and was essentially writing operas on spec for whoever would produce them, and these things had to be hits so that he could feed Costanza and the kids. So, to imagine that, “Well, if you can’t understand…” No, these were people working with the language of the time, these were people working with the music of their time trying to write popular entertainment. It’s just the fact that they happened to be towering intellects of all time that the stuff continues to be amazing and it amazes at the very most elite level, but also, who doesn’t…who can’t whistle a Mozart theme?

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Meredith: It appeals and that’s what he was trying to do. He was trying to write hits.

Sterrantino: And Shakespeare was really successful. There’s this myth that if you’re a playwright or in the arts, which is still a myth, that you can’t make a decent living, but he owned part of the Globe, he was really pretty well off. He did really well. He had the favor of Queen Elizabeth and then James I, and there’s always references to both of them in just about every play. So, you could look at Gertrude as the aging Elizabeth now. Of course, you would never say that outright because that would have made her unhappy, but he always had veiled references to things that were going on in society. This way, he could deny it if the king or queen were angry with him and said, “I can’t believe you said that about me!” “Oh, that wasn’t about you! That was just this other thing that I made up.” But, yeah. So, he definitely was really successful at his time, too. It wasn’t just now.

Wyatt: Yeah. And he takes liberties with the facts in his historical plays.

Sterrantino: Sure.

Wyatt: He takes a lot of liberties, but times haven’t changed much.

Sterrantino: No. We think of Richard III  and the deformity supposedly that he had and that most of us grew up watching him always deformed, and then they found his skeleton a few years ago, he was not nearly that deformed. He wasn’t completely crippled at all, but there was this idea of that, and I think it was more symbolic than physical but it because a physical attribute as time went by.

Wyatt: Well, everybody should come see the play and everybody should read it and think about what it means. And then, because Cedar City is the destination for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, most of those that come to see the play will stay overnight.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Wyatt: Spend a little bit of time here. Make sure that, if any of our listeners are coming to see Hamlet this summer, again, it opens on July 5th, stay overnight and then come the next morning and listen to the seminar. Not listen to the seminar but participate in the seminar.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Wyatt: The discussion about the play. That’s what makes it so much fun.

Meredith: And then call you or me and we can go to lunch. And we’ll give them a tour of our palatial podcast studio. [All laugh]

Wyatt: I had the opportunity to sit in on some of the tryouts and readings of this play…

Meredith: Really?

Wyatt: In anticipation of this summer, and to watch these professional actors go through some of the lines and then to have our artistic director, Brian Vaughn, say, “Would you take a slightly different approach to this?” And instantly, they were a different person reading the same lines. And I thought, “Wow, the magic of live theater.”

Sterrantino: That’s true. And Shakespeare, in general, there have been plays I’ve watched dozens of times, and I’m like, “Wow, I don’t even remember that part” because it was portrayed so differently.

Meredith: Right.

Wyatt: It was deemphasized.

Sterrantino: Mhmm.

Meredith: So, President, our third book for the summer is Tao Te Ching, the kind of founding book of Taoism, right?

Wyatt: Yeah.

Meredith: And you were telling me earlier when we were having a discussion about the fact that you are actually reading a couple of other books and here came some quotes.

Wyatt: Yeah. So, Tao Te Ching is, Bryce Christensen from our English department is going to join us to discuss that and when I was talking to him about it, he mentioned that it is a fairly short book so it doesn’t take a long time to read it, but it does take a lifetime to think about it. So, this isn’t a hard read, but what’s been so interesting is that the book has never been really present in my mind thinking about it. But I read it quite a bit and ever since we decided it that this book was going to be part of our summer book club, I have read quotes from it in two other, random books.

Meredith: All of the sudden you see it everywhere.

Wyatt: And here’s one. This is a book called Atomic Habits.

Meredith: That’s a hot, best-selling book, Atomic Habits.

Wyatt: Yeah. “Men are born soft and supple; dead they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.” But this was in a book about how to form great habits and the idea that we don’t want our habits to become so hard, good or bad, that we become a disciple of death because dead things are not at all flexible.

Meredith: That’s right.

Wyatt: Living things…

Meredith: That’s how we know they are dead, they snap in half.

Wyatt: That’s how we know they are dead. So, I’m super excited. I haven’t started reading this yet. I don’t know if you have, Steve.

Meredith: Nope.

Wyatt: I haven’t started reading but I’m excited to read this book. Again, it’s a fairly quick read with a lot of thought. It just is interesting thought after interesting thought after interesting thought from a very old text. Far older than Shakespeare.

Meredith: Right.

Wyatt: Probably easier to read than Shakespeare.

Meredith: Well…

Wyatt: The quotes that I’ve read have all been easier to understand.

Meredith: But laden with meaning.

Wyatt: Laden with meaning and a lifetime to think about it.

Meredith: Cool, that will be fun. I’m looking forward to that. You've been listening to Solutions for Higher Education, a podcast featuring Scott L Wyatt, the president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. We’ve enjoyed our conversation today with Joy Sterrantino from our English faculty and we’ve been discussing Hamlet, which is not only the world’s greatest play, but also going to be part of the Utah Shakespeare Festival beginning July 5th. We invite you to Cedar City to come and see a very special version of that play. We invite you to finish reading this play with us if you haven’t, and, as always, we appreciate you continuing to be our faithful listeners. We’ll be back again soon. Bye bye.