Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Claudius, part 2

Your Royal Majesty Norway,

Thank you for calling off Fortinbras and his dogs. I was just certain that you had scarcely even heard of his army's aggression.

As for your request of safe passage through our territory to ease your move against Poland, have at it! We'll fortify the path; as you know, I have no love for that stupid Polack. Hey, you know what might be a great idea? The naval route goes right by Elsinore - maybe you could have Fortinbras direct his forces to go by sea the whole way there. I would arrange for a parade, a cannon salute to your fleet, the works. And it might be a little easier on my citizens, who, if you'll permit me to be completely frank about it, are a little tired of warlike sights and sounds.

Meanwhile, how is the rest of your family? Gertrude is lovely and sends her best, naturally. Hamlet... well... let's just say that there are days I envy the fact that your nephew is running around with the army. I mean, I'm glad he stayed here (his mother really appreciated it too) but he just seems to be on the verge of being unhinged. Or not to be. It's a mystery to me: one day he'll be fine, but on the whole he's acting WEIRD. Really, I think he would benefit greatly from getting out of the palace and just doing something once in a while. We've brought over a couple of his friends to try to get him involved a little more. I don't know much about them personally: they seem fairly uninspired to me, but Gertrude insists that they were thick as thieves with Hamlet when they were younger. They'll also provide additional sets of eyes and ears, in case they can figure out what's at the root of his distemper. (It can't be just his father's death, right? It's been three months!)

Polonius thinks it's puppy love. (Oh, Polonius sends his most heartfelt regards as well.) His daughter Ophelia and Hamlet have carried on some kind of flirtation, it seems, and Polonius is convinced that the fact that he advised her to withhold her affections is pushing Hamlet over the edge. I don't know... Ophelia is an impressive young lady, rather stunning actually (do you remember her? I think you met her when her brother Laertes won that fencing tournament in Oslo) but still, that is a farfetched explanation, in my opinion. Polonius has concocted one of his patented schemes to observe their interaction, and I'm going along with it. Can't hurt, right?

Once again, we guarantee safe passage through Denmark to your troops, and to that we add Royal wishes for your health and long life.


No comments: