Walking through stories, walking through tales is like a dream. It is like living multiple lives in this finite life. As I walked into the historic Kronborg castle, the literary castle of Hamlet, a strange gush of wordless-ness flowed through the mind. It was amazement, not at the stately structure of the palace alone; it was amazement at the fact that, William Shakespeare never visited Denmark and yet, it is through his work that I have visited this castle several times for a character that was and was-not at the same time. A thread of continuity seemed to tie us: three entities in three different centuries.
As I walk through the first gate, sound boxes positioned around the gates bring alive the sounds of the past. The sound of the dragging of the chains to lift the wooden spiked gate, the sound of the horses hooves galloping into the castle - transposed me into a fictional space that I had imagined several times while reading Shakespeare's texts. Standing on the grounds of history and of imagination, I was filled with silence and humility.
The history of the human civilisation is long compared to the life of a single individual. Compared to the history of the world, that of the human civilisation is but a spec of dust. Compared to the history of the universe, that of the world is that infinitesimally small era and that of the human kind is but an abstraction of the idea of history and existence. And yet, there was an Amleth, challenged by the royal need to defend the righteousness of the crown; and, there was a Shakespeare, challenged either by the financial need to write plays that are theatre-box-office hits or by the universal, era-transcending need of mankind to probe deeper into things of being. Shakespeare based his play on the character of Amleth. The characters of Amleth, Shakespeare and Hamlet are, thus, an amalgamation of facts, figures and fiction. The imagination of the human mind has kept these characters alive, beyond the boundaries of perceived time. As I step out of the castle of literature and history, I feel a throbbing in my head, and my heart - I love to believe that that is the pulse of continuity in me. It is the potential of the human mind to traverse beyond the cordoned off impossibilities in life
Image: The historic Kronborg castle, the castle of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark at Helsingør, Denmark. Photo by self. 2010.