I just finished the 5 week training for Intentional Peer Support (intentionalpeersupport.org) and we had to create a final project that demonstrated what we had learned from it. There were a lot of role-plays in the class and that was suggested as one format for the final project. I was thinking about what general personality types to use for the people in my role-play when Hamlet sprang to mind. What literary character is in more need of IPS than him? *smile* Here is what I delivered:
Scene: Interior of castle library. Hamlet is reading plays involving regicide (killing of a king). Enter Gildenstern, Hamlet’s friend from college in London.
Gil: How now Hamlet, my friend?
Ham: Gildenstern? Do my eyes deceive me or is that my friend from sunnier days in school?
Gil: It is I. (They embrace then Hamlet pushes him away)
Ham: How are you here in Denmark? I last knew you to be in London continuing your studies.
Gil: And that I was till I received notice of your father’s death a fortnight ago. How are you doing?
Ham: (Suspicious) So you came of your own accord? Who gave you notice of the king’s death?
Gil: Why, your mother, the queen. She sent for me to console you in your loss.
Ham: (In a rage) Ah ha! She sent you then? You are her agent. She sent you to spy on me!
Gil: (Surprised at the change in Hamlet’s tone) You seem upset my friend. This must be a stressful time and I am here for you, not for her. Remember how we would share and talk things through in school? It helped me and I simply thought you might like it now.
Ham: (Less defensive) Yes, I am feeling alone, as if the world were against me. You have been a good friend.
Gil: As have you. I am curious why you would think your mother was spying on you.
Ham: My father’s grave is still freshly dug and she has already married my uncle, the now-king. Is that not unseemly soon? Should not a queen mourn and honor her fallen king before crowning another?
Gil: I can see that makes you angry. But why would she want to spy on you?
Ham: I do not trust her. She is my uncle’s creature now and I have reason to believe he …
Gil: You don’t trust your uncle either?
Ham: No more than Lucifer himself! He is the venomous snake in the garden of Eden deceiving Eve with his forked tongue.
Gil: Those are some strong feelings. I have felt betrayed and mistrustful before but not as intensely as that. How do you come to mistrust him so?
Ham: (Evasively) I have been told he lies.
Gil: It must have been someone you trust a lot.
Ham: Verily … (Leaning in and whispering) it was my father … maybe.
Gil: Your father told you your uncle lies? Well, I can see why you trusted your father. When did he tell you this?
Ham: Two nights ago — I was walking the parapets that night and an apparition in the form of my father came to me. He told me of his murder, most foul, by his brother who coveted his wife and crown. He commanded me to seek vengeance and restore justice by killing my uncle. (Hamlet moves to cover the book of plays)
Gil: I am honored you have taken me into your confidence and shared that with me. How did hearing that from your father’s ghost make you feel?
Ham: I am troubled. If the spirit was truly my father and I do not act, I dishonor his memory and leave an injustice uncorrected. But if the image was but a conjuring of my sorrow and I do act, I am the one to create an injustice. What shall I do Gildenstern, my friend?
Gil: I see that you are conflicted and distressed. It must be hard to not know what to do. I can’t say what you should do but I will tell you that I wouldn’t want to do something I might regret later. Often, when I am faced with the choice of two extreme options I try and find a third, moderate way.
Ham: Eye, a third way. (He looks down at the book of plays) A play! I shall stage a play that reenacts the murder the spirt told me of. If my uncle reacts then I will know his guilt. The play is the thing to capture the conscience of the king.