Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hamlet VS Satan

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you came across Satan? Well I wrote a paper where Shakespeare's Hamlet met up with Milton's Satan, from Paradise Lost. The following story is what came about from my thoughts. Enjoy!

Last night I had a very interesting dream. It started out as any regular night; I brushed my teeth and put on my pajamas in the hopes of an eventless sleep. I lay my head on the pillow, and was soon fast asleep. My dream began in a little pub in England. As I walked into the pub to have a pint and some dinner, I realized it was no ordinary pub I had entered. In the darkened light, I found myself surrounded by characters from literature. Romeo and Juliet were in a corner sharing a kiss by the fire. The three witches of Macbeth set on stools at the bar, chattering about something they had just achieved. Sir Gawain and King Arthur sat at a table deep in conversation about some girdle and Beowulf sat at a nearby table with his young friend Wiglaf. At first I thought perhaps I had walked into a hang out for local actors, but then I realized that this was not the case. I had truly walked into a pub that catered to great characters of literature. I knew that this must be my lucky night. I took a seat at one end of the bar, and saw that at the other end sat a lonely and depressed looking man. He seemed to be down, and I thought of saying something when suddenly a booming voice came out of no where addressing the man.

“What’s your problem buddy?”

The man responded, “I have of late lost my mirth.”

“Lost your mirth? Why does that sound so familiar?” The loud and bawdy man said scratching his head. “Oh no, it can’t be. Tell me you are not the great prince of woe. The prince of Denmark, Shakespeare’s royal fool,” the man, whom I realized was Satan himself, sneered.

“Get behind me Satan,” hamlet responded.

“To the right, to the left? Whether under or above, in front of or behind, the argument is still the same you’re pathetic! You’re more pathetic then the prince they nailed to a tree!”

The fight seemed to be insulting, and I shrank back into my seat, somewhat entranced by what was happening before my eyes.

“Why is it that I am so pathetic, as you say,” questioned Hamlet.

“Tis your entire race that is pathetic, you just stand out amongst them as one of the most pathetic, the great prince of woe.”

“And what is my sin that is so great you feel this way?”

“This is the problem with you humans,” Satan sneered, “you have no action, you’re so pathetic!”

“How am I pathetic? I am not. I am a tragic hero of wisdom!”

“Hero? Wisdom? Ha! You’re no hero. You could not even take action. The underworld spirits thought highly enough of you to send the spirit of your dead father to tell you that your uncle had killed him, and was now lying with your mother. Yet do you do anything to avenge that death? No, it’s only oh woe is me. You even act mad and it is such a pity,” Satan said in a whining imitation of Hamlet.

“I only faked being mad to find out who my true friends are. I used madness to weed out their true colors. You Satan achieved the greatest act of madness by trying to usurp God. That was the ultimate act of vanity and pride, which of course you are full of. What you did was the ultimate madness.” Hamlet threw these words back into Satan’s face.

Then Hamlet continued, “You’re not interested in the truth you great deceiver. You deceived yourself into thinking you could overthrow God, which is insanity. I shall not listen to thee!”

“You feeble minded human! Sitting here drinking your alcohol to dilute yourself. You are not capable of seeing what you could be! You don’t feel you have lived up to your capacity. You hide in your ignorance!” Satan all but screamed his words.

Calmly Hamlet responded, “Deceiver, although you say my veil is ignorance, your veil is arrogance. It is not even like a veil, it is more like a cape. A cape of vanity and arrogance that you wear in your foolish pride. You constantly overestimate yourself. That is why you fail. You always underestimate God, and overestimate yourself!” Hamlet was on a roll.

Satan came back at him, spitting mad, “Tis better to reign in hell than serve in heaven! God wants no equal! That is why I infected the humans. So that they could, have knowledge that God tried to hide. You humans are all capable you just have to reach out and grab it. That is why I had them eat of the tree of knowledge. But you Hamlet, you are nothing. You take no action and do nothing, but whine.”

At this point, everyone in the bar had stopped and was watching the fight. I was worried that it might be getting out of hand, but then it looked like Satan was about to leave.

“Well I have other things to do, see you soon prince of woe. I shall take more of a delight in torturing you for eternity than most, for your lack of action. Truly you should have done yourself in back in the catacombs. Sitting there, oh woe is me, ‘to be or not to be, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer,’ what a load of crap. You should have taken your life with a dagger, so I’d have seen you sooner. You humans are such drama queens!”

“Do your worst Satan, for I have no fear. You could create no greater hell than I have experience here on Earth, from that of my own conscience,” Hamlet’s rebuttal was.

At that point the room started to spin, and I saw Satan looking miffed and about to say something else, but the colors all spun together, and suddenly I opened my eyes, back in my own bed.

“What a dream!” I said to myself.

That is what happened. I swear it. I wonder if it was reality and I was in an alternate universe, or if it truly happened. Either way I wonder who won the fight. Satan tore Hamlet down, but staying true to himself, I suppose Hamlet showed Satan’s true colors of deception and his web of lies. So in the end Hamlet wins, or you could say in the end Satan loses and God wins.

© copyright Nicole Schiavoni 2010


Lauren Bishop-Weidner said...

I love the concept! But Hamlet has more balls than you give him credit for--he was my first love, don't emasculate him:) Fun to read, might want to lose some of the "pathetic's"--you tend to overuse it here. I want to raise a pint with these folks, too--only I need some of my crazy Southerners there. Flannery for sure, and maybe Tennessee if he's not too drunk already. And I want Mrs. Threadgoode from "Fried Green Tomatoes" to be the bartender, assisted by Tom Joad and Bruce Springsteen (hey, it's a dream!).

Nicole said...

lol sounds like it would be a funnier dream especially if Mrs. Threadgoode was the bartender that would raise hell! I don't emasculate Hamelt that much, he just needed to stand up to Satan a little bit better than he might have. You can't back down and be all woe is me when your fighting with the big dogs. I like the way it turned out. Did you catch on to the literary and biblical references? How many can you find? Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Jenn Clementson said...

I thought that it was very well written very good use of vernacular. I especially like how when you came into the pub you described how what each literary figure was doing. I liked how you ended it also because it kind of leaves it open for discussion like you can kind of in a way make the ending your own. Good job Nikki :)
Love, Jenn