Hamletting: A 24-Hour Comic

Page Twenty-Three: 10:10pm-11:10pm

Lines on this page from Hamlet Act 5, Scene 2.

Many people misinterpret Hamlet's "To be or not to be" as the prince contemplating suicide. Certainly he does talk about suicide during that speech, but one shouldn't think that Hamlet ever intends such a thing. It's just another option he is unable to take and he is frustrated that even that cowardly act is beyond him. The choice that Hamlet faces but cannot make is not one between living and dying but between living fully by taking the initiative and living hollowly in the shadow of, well, pretty much everyone, but most especially his uncle.

And so it galls me slightly that I have created a Hamlet-influenced story that ends in a suicide.

While drawing the previous page, I realized that the pills she takes back on page eighteen aren't harmless after all. Her entire situation leads up to the moment on page seventeen, when she decides "not to be." (Though Hamlet's suicide would clearly fall under "to be.") From the beginning, she's obviously dissatisfied, is unable to confide in the one person around who is apparently her equal and- let's face it- is a little out of her head anyway, what with those visions.

And the pills are the key. If the pills are just aspirin, as I'd thought at the time, then what happens next makes no sense and what happened before has no purpose. But if the pills are deadly (or, perhaps, deadly when taken in quantity), then what comes before leads to that moment and what follows can be of no other cause.

All of this was there in the story, but I'd not been conscious of it. When it hit me that what I'd written was actually a cohesive story, I was amazed.

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