Wine and Hamlet - The Chalice and The Pearl

Hamlet and Wine - Part 3

OK, we've established that the court in Denmark was full of drunken partying and that Hamlet, for one, did not approve of this. It turns out that one of the court members, Polonius, agrees with this. Polonius is worried about his son, Laertes, who has left the court for foreign lands. He asks a servant to go check on Laertes in a sneaky way. He tells the servant to mention to friends of Laertes that Laertes had been spotted doing rascally things - drinking, fighting, etc. If the friends seem aghast, the servant will know Laertes is behaving. If the friends seem to take it in stride, the servant will know that Laertes hasn't been acting properly.

So Polonius instructs:

'And in part him;--but,' you may say, 'not well: But if't be he I mean, he's very wild; Addicted so and so;' and there put on him What forgeries you please; marry, none so rank As may dishonour him; take heed of that; But, sir, such wanton, wild, and usual slips As are companions noted and most known To youth and liberty.

As gaming, my lord.

Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling,
Drabbing:--you may go so far.

Drabbing, by the way, is another term for "wenching".

Later on we're back to Hamlet, who has just antagonized the King thoroughly by making the King watch a recreation of the murder scene. Hamlet is thrilled that the King was so upset. Along comes Hamlet's buddy Guildencrantz to tell him about the unhappy King. Hamlet purposefully misunderstands Guildencrantz and says that the King must be drunk, as usual.

The king, sir--

Ay, sir, what of him?

Is, in his retirement, marvellous distempered.

With drink, sir?

No, my lord; rather with choler.

Your wisdom should show itself more richer to signify this to the doctor; for me to put him to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far more choler.

Hamlet does run into his stepdad shortly after and prepares to slay him in revenge ... but realizes that as the King is praying, he'll go straight to heaven. He decides to wait until a time that the King is full of sin ... such as when he's drunk and asleep! Is being drunk asleep really a sin worthy of fiery hell??

Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep; or in his rage;
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing; or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't;--

Apparently to Hamlet it was!

Hamlet and Wine - Part 3

Wine in Movies and Books

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.