Ambitious People Shadows of Beggars


The following quote by Hamlet, Act 2 Scene 2, puzzles me immensely: “Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretched heroes the beggars’ shadows.”  This was his reaction to claim of Rosencrantz that ambition is so insignificant that it is a shadow of a shadow!(shadow’s shadow)

Hamlet appears to be claiming that beggars are more principled and honorable than rulers, politicians, heroes, businessmen and anybody else driven by ambition and ego. What else could it mean to be the shadow of a beggar other than being subservient or inferior to the entity that is casting the shadow?

Rosencrantz exact quote was “I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow’s shadow.” This not so subtle criticism of ambitious types makes me wonder if Shakespeare would be in the I Hate The One Percent crowd these days! Do we have proof that The Bard of Avon would vote democrat if he were still around?

Finally, it really gives me the creeps to think I am only the shadow of a punk like this Toronto, Ontario beggar.


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