The Philodemic took a thespian turn on Thursday at our debate “Resolved: Hamlet was Mad.” Gathering with friends new and old in the lovely Riggs Library, the Society sat captivated by the performances of our four fabulous keynoters. On the affirmation, Mr. Brendan McElroy argued that madness is not clinical or legal, but an obsessive state of mind that drove Hamlet to beckon death. Standing before the Society for the first time on the negation, Mr. Sam Dulik whipped out witty words, one after another, arguing that Hamlet crafted his image of insanity, plotting the death of Claudius with perfectly sane deliberation. Back on the affirmation, Mr. Chris Tosetti made an equally entertaining induction speech, arguing that the nihilistic, obsessive and suicidal rants of Hamlet testify to a mad state of mind. Miss Jessica Stevens finished out the keynotes on the negation, quoting “To be or not to be” with perfect acuity to argue that Hamlet mused death with logical, cold inhumanity. The floor speeches following these amazing openings covered many grounds of madness. For some, Hamlet seemed to act in a perfectly human way, trapped in terrible circumstances, while for others, his attempt to love in itself was an act of madness. The debate teetered between madness and performance, leaning left when Mr. Olmstead fell to the floor in “the worm,” and swinging happily back when Mr. Dulik pulled out the skull of Yorick.
The evening was wonderful drama, coming to a close conclusion when the resolution was negated, 21-27-1. Mr. Dulik and Mr. Tosetti entered into the Society with perfectly poised performances, and we are all proud to count them among our ranks.
Please (please, PLEASE) join us next Wednesday, December 9 for our annual Christmas Debate and reception. We will gather in Lohrfink Auditorium in the MSB Building at 8 pm to debate “Resolved: The War on Christmas has been a failure.” See the Philodemic Society group on Facebook for more information.