I William Shakespeare: With a Message to Editors

Duncan ScottAnalyst IJuly 23, 2009

If I, William Shakespeare, write a seething melodrama concerning murder and ghosts, swordplay and poison, and I choose to call it 'Hamlet,' isn't that my privilege?

My title may say nothing about the nature of the play, but it's my play, and I'll title it as I please.

It may be that I've named the play after the leading character, it may be that I want to conceal the nature of the work so its content comes as something of a revelation to the audience. Whatever, the title in my business.

Not your business, my business.

I do hope you're nodding in agreement.

In 16th century England, a writer was allowed to title his works, but if he wrote today on Bleacher he would have a tougher time. Some pimply co-ed from Biloxi, MS would change 'Hamlet' to 'Death In Denmark', and if he undid the damage another cretin would come along and change it to 'Treason In Tights'.

Don't tell me about Bleacher guidelines or Google searches; your protestations meet with my supreme indifference and scorn.

I want to put my own title to my own work, got that?

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Now here's a little exercise, something to do while your pimple ointment is drying.

Watch this Hamlet-themed TV commercial.

Now think of a good title, write it on a postcard, and mail it to yourself. Because I'm not interested.

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