Word & Song by Anthony Esolen
Poetry Aloud
Hamlet goes a-fishing

Hamlet goes a-fishing

Poetry Aloud
“Children Acting the Play Scene from ‘Hamlet,’” Charles Hunt. Public Domain.

Due to our internet blackout on Wednesday, we are sharing Poetry Aloud with all of our subscribers this week. We hope you will enjoy the audio.

Our Poetry Aloud this week is one of Hamlet’s famous speeches — the one after he’s just sent the traveling actors to get ready to put on a play before the court, with an addition or two of his own. The power of art is on full display here. What is it about the acting of a scene that can stir us to the depths of our souls, when if we merely hear about the action, we shrug, and when we ourselves may have done the bad thing, we bring up all kinds of false reasoning to justify ourselves? Hamlet’s been told, by the Ghost who says he is his murdered father, that his uncle the King is the murderer, and that the uncle did it to gain both the crown and the hand of the queen in marriage. Hamlet knows enough theology, though, to remember that the Devil is a liar and the father of lies. So after he rails against himself for delaying, he comes up with the plan to catch the King off guard, by art.

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Word & Song is an online magazine devoted to reclaiming the good, the beautiful, and the true. We publish six essays each week, on words, classic hymn, poems, films, and popular songs, as well a weekly podcast, alternately Poetry Aloud or Anthony Esolen Speaks. To support this project, please join us as a free or paid subscriber.

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Word & Song by Anthony Esolen
Poetry Aloud
Poetry Aloud will help you learn how to read poetry with your ears. Unlike children with bad table manners, poetry is meant to be heard and not just seen. Join Anthony Esolen every other week (or so) as he introduces and discusses a longish poem and then reads it aloud.
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