I first came to Hamlet in high school. We watched the Kenneth Branagh movie, had to analyse the “To be, or not to be” speech. Analyse in the sense of reading it closely and saying something about what Hamlet is really saying. My teenage self was excited with the possibilities of that. I could claim that Hamlet was saying anything I wanted. I merely had to gather the evidence. I gathered the evidence, like a detective, but the evidence did not support my arguments. Reading used to be an exercise in power, in imposing meaning on the text. I learned that the evidence determined what claims could be made of a character and a text. Reading became a listening exercise. Shakespeare is challenging to…

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