The Theater: Willy Loman at Elsinore

HAMLET

by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Hamlet is a loser. He loses his father, his crown and the woman he loves. His university chums betray him, his sanity all but deserts him, and at 30, he dies by the poisoned tip of a rapier.

Hamlet is a knowing loser. It is the difference between accident and fate that makes a destiny tragic, and Hamlet recognizes that difference. This militated against Richard Burton a few seasons ago because Burton is viscerally a born winner. It works against Stacy Keach, who seems by temperament to be very much the extravert.

Keach's Hamlet, in the current New York Shakespeare Festival...

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