Hamlet and “Waking Life”

Do you have memories which you recall and then wonder if you were awake or dreaming?

memoriesDo you ever feel like you might have dreamt a memory that you previously thought was real? How can you be sure? Are you filled with doubt?

The word “dream” can be defined as “a series of thoughts, images, and sensations that occurs during the state of sleep”. But the word “dreams” is often used metaphorically to represent our ambitions for the future or what we desire. Dream analysis is the process of looking at the connection between our sleeping dreams and our waking desires.

There is little doubt that Shakespeare had a particular fascination with sleep and dreams. I wonder if Shakespeare himself had trouble sleeping? I often feel possessed each time that I am teaching either Macbeth or Hamlet. The lines seem to echo in context like I am sleep walking through my waking life, and they enter my dreams like I am wake walking through my dreaming life. I started thinking about this when, some decade ago, I discovered the rotoscoped animated film “Waking Life”.

Here is a short trailer with a voiced over explanation of the film:

Hamlet has troubled dreams, and does not know what to do with his waking life. He talks about talking and is filled with doubt. All his surplus consciousness is proof that he is alive and without this talk, “the rest is silence”.

the rest is silence

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About melaniewhite2012

I am a high school English and Media Studies Teacher, an editor, and writer of educational publications for McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Ltd, and a mother of three. I distance run, exist largely on raw food, fresh air and sunshine, good literature, thoughtful radio, film, and laughter.
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