Monday, June 18, 2012

Suburbs of My Discontent

This weekend was a quick trick to Washington D.C., my hometown. On Father's Day, en route to the National Gallery, I found myself in front of the Department of Transportation, where my father used to work.

I say this every time I teach Hamlet: Claudius is not only a cruel dude for killing Hamlet's father; he's a cruel dude because he lectures Hamlet to just get over his father's death already.

Here's the Washington Post article I wrote about my father's death a few years ago. Shakespeare on Father's Day once again rings true for me.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece, Michelle. My relationship to/with Shakespeare changed with the loss of my parents, too. "Hamlet" was in particularly heavy rotation in my head after my dad died suddenly in 2007, and during my mom's longer illness a few years later, I spent a good deal of time recognizing and identifying with the situations and characters in just the way you describe. She died while I was finishing my MA thesis, and I began her eulogy with King John's reaction to impending the French invasion, when his first impulse is to call his mother, "Where is my mother's care,/ That such an army could be drawn in France,/ And she not hear of it?" When the messenger replies, "My liege, her ear/ Is stopp'd with dust; the first of April died/ Your noble mother," the king cries, "Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!...What! Mother dead!...Thou hast made me giddy/ With these ill tidings." Which is just how I felt when I got that phone call at 3am, almost exactly two years ago. You're so right that there is no real "closure" or conclusion to be reached in dealing with these losses, but there is instead an ongoing process, and we're fortunate to be able to find comfort in the words that we already love so well.