COMMENT – Euphues (YEW-foo-eez) was a fashionable speaking style for plays, and in real life, in the decades before Hamlet was written. Euphues was popularized in John Lyly’s romance, “Euphues, or the Anatomy of Wit”, and was characterized by excessively wordy, circuitous prose, using a lot of words to make simple statements. Although popular, it was also beginning to be parodied as a pompous speaking style during Shakespeare’s life, and it has been suggested that he chose to highlight that style solely in the character of Polonius so audiences would recognize the parody (although this moderator feels there were plenty of other passages in “Hamlet” which could also be accused of circuitous prose…)
QUESTION – Shakespeare’s work, as a whole, is often accused of being too “formal” and out of reach for the average contemporary audience. How did you handle the text of Hamlet? Did you struggle? How do you feel the message would have held up through time had his prose been “simpler”. Does the loftiness of the writing style help retain its significance in the English language canon?