Tocilescu’s rise against the Communist regime may be described with one sentence only. Jack Tinker wrote about Tocilescu’s Hamlet adaptation( Premiere date: 30th of November 1985), for Daily Mail that before Ceausescu also “free speech was a luxury”, “the tyranny of Claudius they saw a ruthless oppression of Ceausecu’s regime.” “the theatre became a place of pilgrimage to witness the mirror image of their own plight”
The present page describes the actors’ pantomime, yet this time Tocilescu, the director makes the entire cut, thus the scene within the scene is not put on stage here, but much earlier at the beginning of the performance. If the text is further considered, there are a few alterations, not that significant, only some words or phrases are exchanged in the forthcoming pages. Thus are we to consider page 62 of the prompt book of Tocilescu, where two words are underlined, or written with handwriting: gandul and tacere. Gand means thought, tacere means silence. This is the very scene when the king calls for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and delineates the plot against the prince: thought and silence is to be the main motto of the scene. Thought associated with further perspectives, if they are liable to commit the deed, silence may stand for the massive force of the system, ruled by the new king that keeps every single person under control; all acts shall be executed in silence. Silence may be a connotation for death, as no one may utter anything after death, thus the transcendence may interfere here with the mundane everyday life of the puppets on stage called Shakespearean characters lacking all character traits that would make them human, Ros and Guil are to obey to the king, to the regression, to silence and to the thought–all vehement and destroying elements on the fragile human life.
Wittgenstein’s concerns regarding thought and a priori thinking may be elucidating in this very case. He says in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus:
An a priori true thought would be one whose possibility guaranteed its truth.
Only if we could know a priori that a thought is true if its truth was to be recognized from the thought itself (without an object of comparison).
In the proposition the thought is expressed perceptibility through the senses. …
The method of projection is the thinking of the sense of the proposition.
Wittgenstein’s concept of thought and silence can be applied to Tocilescu’s adaptation of Hamlet in a number of ways. Wittgenstein believed that much of what we think and feel cannot be put into words, and that language is often inadequate to express the full range of human experience. He argued that there are certain things that can only be understood through non-verbal means, such as gestures, facial expressions, and other forms of bodily communication.
In Tocilescu’s adaptation of Hamlet, there are many moments where language fails to fully capture the emotions and motivations of the characters. The play is full of silences, pauses, and other non-verbal cues that help to convey the meaning and depth of the characters’ experiences. For example, in the famous „To be or not to be” soliloquy, Hamlet is struggling to express the depth of his despair and uncertainty. He is unable to find the words to fully capture his inner turmoil, and instead relies on gestures, pacing, and other non-verbal cues to convey his emotional state.
Similarly, many of the other characters in the play struggle to express themselves through language, and instead rely on silence and other forms of non-verbal communication to convey their thoughts and feelings. For example, Ophelia’s madness is expressed through her songs and her gestures, rather than through explicit statements or dialogue.
Overall, Tocilescu’s adaptation of Hamlet is full of moments where language fails to fully capture the depth and complexity of human experience. The play is full of silences, pauses, and other non-verbal cues that help to convey the emotions and motivations of the characters, and that demonstrate the limitations of language when it comes to expressing the full range of human thought and feeling.
In addition to this, Andrew Lugg in his writing on Wittgenstein’s True Thoughts considers Wittgenstein would have some explaining to do were he equating “thought” and “proposition” and taking them as they occur in the Preface and 6.54 to mean the same. But this is not how he understands them. His primary aim was to convey his thinking as effectively and as vividly as he could, and it is more than likely that he is using the two words in two ways. He states that “the value” of the book is “greater … [t]he more the nail has been hit on the head” (TLP 1955: 29, TLP 1961: 3-5), and the possibility that he contradicts himself so blatantly is hard to credit. He was not a careless thinker but neither was he especially concerned with technical niceties, and it is good policy to reserve judgement regarding his use of tricky words like “thought” and “proposition” prior to a careful examination of the context in which they occur. As has been noted, Wittgenstein “thought intuitively, not discursively” (McGuinness 2002: 135), and what he says in the Preface and 6.54 – in fact, I would say, the whole book – has to be read as recording the considered reflections of an inspirational thinker rather than the hypotheses of a philosopher concerned with spelling out every detail and pre-empting every possible objection.
If we consider further the notion of silence as the nonsensicality of ethics by Wittgenstein, we may see that Wittgenstein’s view on ethics is complex and multifaceted, but one aspect of his philosophy is his emphasis on the limits of language and the ways in which language can be misleading or nonsensical when it comes to ethical questions.
Wittgenstein believed that much of what we think and feel about ethics cannot be expressed through language. He argued that ethical statements are not propositions that can be true or false, but rather expressions of our feelings and attitudes towards certain actions or situations. Because of this, ethical language is often vague and ambiguous, and can be easily misunderstood or misinterpreted.
In this context, silence can be seen as a means of expressing the limitations of language when it comes to ethics. By refusing to speak or by remaining silent on certain ethical questions, we acknowledge the inherent limitations of language and the difficulties that arise when we try to express our feelings and attitudes towards ethical issues.
Furthermore, Wittgenstein believed that ethical questions often arise in situations where there are no clear answers or where the right course of action is unclear. In such situations, he believed that silence or nonsensicality may be the most appropriate response. Rather than trying to force ethical questions into a neat and tidy framework of propositions and logical arguments, we may need to accept the ambiguity and complexity of ethical issues, and acknowledge that there may be no clear answer or solution.
The nonsensicality of ethics is thus ‘rigorous’ (echoing Husserl’s proclamation of philosophy as a ‘rigorous science’): ethical discourse is essentially nonsensical because it transcends the limits of language and the world. The rigorous nonsensicality of ethics may be viewed, then, to paraphrase Wittgenstein’s preface to the Tractatus, as a corollary of ethics’ attempt to speak from the „other side of the limit” of language. Such rigorous nonsensicality is inconsistent, however, with what Carnap calls the representative use of language. If ethical (or religious) propositions are rigorously nonsensical, if they are beyond the limits of language and the world, then they can say nothing about states of affairs in the world. And if the Tractatus is concerned with ethics, then it, too, is rigorously nonsensical. It follows that the Tractatus is in principle incapable of conveying anything positive about reality; it is therefore not construable as linguistically representative. This conclusion clarifies Wittgenstein’s claim in his above-quoted letter to Ogden that the entire Tractatus is nonsensical. It also refutes the first interpretive view, on which nonsensical propositions are linguistically representative by virtue of conveying to their addressees some information about the complex structure of reality.
Overall, Wittgenstein’s view on ethics suggests that silence can be a powerful tool for expressing the limitations of language when it comes to ethical questions, and for acknowledging the complexity and ambiguity of ethical issues. Rather than trying to force ethical questions into a neat and tidy framework, we may need to accept the limitations of language and embrace the uncertainty and complexity that comes with ethical decision-making.
If we would scrutinise the notion of silence further in philosophical terms, we may find that Heidegger’s notion of silence is a complex and multi-faceted one. In his philosophy, silence is not simply the absence of sound or speech, but a fundamental aspect of being and understanding.
Heidegger believed that language is the primary means by which we make sense of the world, but that language is also limited in its ability to fully capture the essence of things. He argued that there are certain aspects of being that can only be expressed through silence, or what he called „the unsaid.”
For Heidegger, silence is not a passive state, but an active one. It is a way of being that is characterised by openness and receptivity, allowing us to be fully present in the world without the distractions and preconceptions of language. In this sense, silence is a form of meditation or contemplation that allows us to deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
He also emphasised the importance of silence in the face of death. He believed that our fear of death often causes us to fill our lives with noise and distraction, preventing us from truly facing our mortality. By embracing silence, we can come to terms with our finitude and find a deeper sense of meaning in our lives.
Therefore, we may argue that Heidegger’s notion of silence is a way of acknowledging the limitations of language and embracing a more open and receptive way of being in the world.
Heidegger’s notion of thought is closely related to his philosophy of being, and is concerned with the fundamental question of what it means to exist as a human being in the world.
According to Heidegger, thought is not simply a mental process, but is intimately connected to our mode of existence. He believed that we do not simply „have” thoughts, but that our thinking is a way of being in the world.
For Heidegger, thought is not about manipulating abstract concepts, but about engaging with the world in a way that allows us to uncover its fundamental meaning. He argued that our thinking is always shaped by our particular historical and cultural context, and that we must be aware of these influences in order to engage in authentic thinking.
Heidegger believed that our thinking is often obscured by what he called „everydayness,” or the routine and familiar aspects of our lives that prevent us from truly engaging with the world in a meaningful way. He argued that we must break out of this everydayness in order to engage in authentic thinking, and that this requires a willingness to confront the unknown and uncertain aspects of existence.
Overall, Heidegger’s notion of thought is a way of understanding our relationship to the world and our place within it. It emphasises the importance of authenticity and engagement in our thinking, and encourages us to explore the unknown and uncertain aspects of existence in order to uncover its deeper meaning.
Indicating Dasein’s ontico-ontological priority Heidegger says: “Dasein’s ontico-ontological priority was seen quite early, though Dasein itself was not grasped in its genuine ontological structure, and did not even become a problem in which this structure was sought. Aristotle says: „Man’s soul is, in a certain way, entities.” The ‘soul’ which makes up the Being of man has among its ways of Being, and in these it discovers all entities, both in the fact t h a t they are, and in their Being as they are-that is, always in their Being. Aristotle’s principle, which points back to the ontological thesis of Parmenides, is one which Thomas Aquinas has taken up in a characteristic discussion. Thomas is engaged in the task of deriving the ‘transcendentia’-those characters of Being which lie beyond every possible way in which an entity may be classified as coming under some generic kind of subject-matter (every modus specialis entis), and which belong necessarily to anything, whatever it may be. Thomas has to demonstrate that the verum is such a transcendens. He does this by invoking an entity which, in accordance with its very manner of Being, is properly suited to ‘come together with’ entities of any sort whatever. This distinctive entity, the ens quod natum est convenire cum omni ente, is the soul (anima)”
Heidegger’s concept of silence and Shakespeare’s use of silence in Hamlet are related in that they both explore the idea of silence as a meaningful and potent form of communication. However, their approaches to silence are somewhat different.
Heidegger’s concept of silence emphasises the importance of openness and receptivity, and sees silence as a way of being in the world that allows us to engage with it more deeply. In this sense, silence is a form of communication that is not limited by language, and that can reveal the essence of things in a way that words cannot.
Shakespeare’s use of silence in Hamlet is also concerned with the idea of communication, but in a more dramatic sense. Throughout the play, there are several instances of characters remaining silent or withholding information, which creates tension and uncertainty. For example, Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in Act III, Scene I, in which he contemplates suicide, is a moment of profound silence that reveals his inner turmoil.
In both cases, however, silence is seen as a powerful and meaningful form of communication that can reveal important truths about the world and ourselves. Heidegger’s concept of silence emphasises the importance of being open and receptive to the world, while Shakespeare’s use of silence in Hamlet is a dramatic tool that creates tension and reveals the inner thoughts and emotions of the characters.
Heidegger’s concept of Dasein and Shakespeare’s use of silence in Hamlet are both concerned with the idea of authenticity and the search for meaning in a world that can often seem confusing and uncertain.
For Heidegger, Dasein refers to the fundamental mode of being-in-the-world that characterises human existence. Dasein is concerned with the search for meaning and purpose in life, and the struggle to find authenticity in a world that can be alienating and confusing. In this context, silence can be seen as a form of communication that allows us to engage with the world more deeply and to uncover its fundamental meaning.
Similarly, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play that is concerned with the search for authenticity and meaning in a world that is characterised by uncertainty and deceit. Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in Act III, Scene I, in which he contemplates the meaning of life and death, is a moment of profound silence that reveals his inner turmoil and his search for meaning in a world that seems to offer only confusion and betrayal.
In both cases, silence is a means of exploring the deeper aspects of human existence and the search for authenticity in a world that can be bewildering and alienating. Heidegger’s concept of Dasein emphasises the importance of being open and receptive to the world, while Shakespeare’s use of silence in Hamlet is a dramatic tool that reveals the inner thoughts and emotions of the characters as they grapple with the fundamental questions of existence.
Hamlet can be seen as a character who embodies the concept of Dasein in many ways.
Throughout the play, Hamlet grapples with questions of existence, meaning, and authenticity, as he tries to come to terms with the death of his father and his own place in the world. He is constantly questioning the nature of reality and the truthfulness of those around him, and is always searching for a deeper understanding of the world and his place within it.
In this sense, Hamlet can be seen as a character who embodies the concept of Dasein in his search for authenticity and meaning in a world that can be confusing and uncertain. He is constantly struggling to find his own voice and to understand the world on his own terms, rather than simply accepting the explanations and expectations of others.
Overall, Heidegger’s concept of Dasein can be seen as a useful lens through which to understand the character of Hamlet and his search for authenticity and meaning in a world that can be bewildering and alienating.
Heidegger and Tocilescu have different approaches to Hamlet, and therefore their interpretations differ.
Heidegger’s interpretation of Hamlet focuses on the idea of Dasein and the search for authenticity in a confusing and uncertain world.”Dasein is ontically ‘closest’ to itself and ontologically farthest; but pre-ontologically it is surely not a stranger.” He sees Hamlet as a character who embodies the concept of Dasein in his constant questioning of the nature of reality and his search for meaning and purpose in life. For Heidegger, Hamlet’s struggle to find his own voice and to understand the world on his own terms is a central aspect of the play’s meaning.
Tocilescu, on the other hand, offers a more psychological interpretation of Hamlet. He sees the play as a study of the human psyche, with Hamlet representing the divided self and the struggle between reason and passion. Tocilescu’s interpretation emphasises the psychological complexities of the play, and sees Hamlet’s journey as one of self-discovery and self-realisation.
In addition to this, while Heidegger and Tocilescu both offer insightful interpretations of Hamlet, their approaches differ in terms of the concepts and themes they emphasise. Heidegger’s focus on Dasein highlights the existential concerns of the play, while Tocilescu’s psychological interpretation emphasises the internal struggles of the characters. Tocilescu intended to provoke an uproar against communism with his adaptation of Hamlet, using considerable philosophy indeed, yet for a single purpose: to show the double-facedness of the system, to show the de facto cruelty, to rise against Ceausescu.
Tocilescu’s „Absurd Hamlet” is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that focuses on the absurdity of human existence and the futility of the search for meaning in a chaotic and meaningless world. The purpose of this adaptation is to highlight the existential themes of the play and to emphasise the absurdity of the human condition.
In Tocilescu’s adaptation, the characters of the play are reduced to symbols of human weakness and folly. Hamlet himself becomes a symbol of the futility of human endeavour and the impossibility of finding true meaning in life. Other characters, such as Claudius and Ophelia, are also reduced to symbols of human frailty and the corrupting influence of power.
The symbolic connotations of Tocilescu’s „Absurd Hamlet” are intended to emphasise the existential themes of the play and to highlight the absurdity of human existence. By reducing the characters to symbols of human weakness and folly, Tocilescu underscores the futility of the search for meaning and the inevitability of human suffering and despair.
Thus, Tocilescu’s adaptation of Hamlet serves as a critique of the human condition suffocated by Communism and thus becomes a reminder of the absurdity of existence. Through its use of symbolic connotations and its emphasis on existential themes, it encourages audiences to confront the limitations of human knowledge and the ultimate meaninglessness of life.
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, p. 37. available at: http://pdf-objects.com/files/Heidegger-Martin-Being-and-Time-trans.-Macquarrie-Robinson-Blackwell-1962.pdf
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (London, New York: Routlage and Kegan Paul Ltd, 1988): 45.
Tocilescu’s prompt book of Shakespeare’s Hamlet