The Rest is Silence

Academics continue to analyse and debate the meaning of “the rest is silence” and the ambiguity of the words is certainly fitting with the ambiguous wordplay of the protagonist, Hamlet.

John Russell Brown argues that it may mean “All that remains for me to say must be unspoken.”

He also points out the meaning associated with Fortinbras and Hamlet in which “the remainder of his life can have nothing to say…no ‘warlike noise'”.

And if “rest” is death, then life is unrest and “the afterlife has nothing to say about matters of this world”. The two are separate states.

In the end, the character and the play validates “the world of the mind over the world of matter”.

However, this parting line has not created silence in this living world of unrest fraught with creative expression and many artistic renditions, spoofs, interpretations of this line have materialized.

This foreign film of the same name shares some common themes.

Hamlet is never silenced in the immortal words of Shakespeare and I only hope you revisit this play again, and again, and again, each time realizing that the words and meaning can never be put to rest.

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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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