Another Time for Hamlet
Another Time for Hamlet
Hume wiped tears off his face using the back of his hand. It was the conclusion of a trial that found Mr. A. Bundy not guilty for the murder his wife of six years. In his grief, he struggled to suppress the lump in his throat but doing felt so like he was choking himself. He was in disbelief, incapable to feel or think. He abdicated all reason and swung at Mr. Bundy’s father before the court guards held him. When he reached home, he took a bottle of whiskey and began gulping it down to numb his feelings. It was an ineffective intervention he used immediately after returning from his four-year deployment in Afghanistan. Hume grew up believing in the rule of law. Born to a father who worked for the New York Police Department and a mother served in the military, Hume understood developed the a sense of absolutism regarding justice.
Happy memories of his young wife flashed through his mind when he woke up. They had got married shortly before his deployment and only spent less than two years together before her disappearance in 2013. In her presence, the kitchen was a happy place. They made breakfast together, played childishly, fed each other, and imagined their future. He had never imagined a life without Tiffany. Her beautiful Caramel skin, warm and welcoming smile, and beautiful brown eyes made every morning whole. He remembered how he smiled unknowingly when he caught her smiling. It was an infectious smile that lit up the room. The thoughts made him melancholic. His morning was always happy-sad since December 24th 2014 when he received the information that Tiffany’s body had been found. On this day, 20 months after investigations began, the trial let the major suspect free. He questioned the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
His mind drifted to a discussion he had with Tiffany, who was a fearless, relentless, and determined social justice activist. In a memory that felt more recent than it was, he remembers her saying, “The criminal justice system is flawed. It often works against racial and ethnic minorities, and even more against the poor.” He shook his head when he remembered how disinterested he was in the conversation. In what seems like a slumber, he delves deeper into thought where Tiffany sits in her study writing notes she intended to present to a community of other activists. He remembers her narrating how cases of missing African American women go unresolved. In that state, his determination for justice compared to Hamlet’s when he says, “Haste me to know ‘t, that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge” (Shakespeare 59). For love and for justice, he started focusing on seeking justice by taking the law into his hands, because the system had failed Tiffany and many others like her.
As he started formulating a plan to mete out justice, he remembered a poem by Iris Winter, part of which says, “Justice and equality; protectors of the finery. The vibrant world we seek, is just a fantasy in dreams. For justice is mistreated, and equality unfair. They speculate the same thing, but black and white is what they truly are”. An urge to listen to one of the songs Tiffany listed to filled him. As Kendrick Lamar’s Alright played in the background, he felt the presence of his deceased wife in the room. He himself vowing to not only administer justice but also vowing revenge.
He was angry and firm. HUME looked at a picture of her wife beside the bed and said, “I will use every breath to find Mr. Bundy and ensure he never does to anyone what he did to you.” It was like Hamlet’s assertion that, “Oh, from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth” (Shakespeare 155). He was determined to contradict his long-held belief that justice should be left to the criminal justice system. He understood that the system was not only inefficient but compromised. It favored and shielded the wealthy such as Mr. Bundy from punishment, and often denied the poor and minorities justice.
Investigations had established that Tiffany was raped and murdered in the most gruesome way. The murderer had stabbed her 13 times all over her upper body. Despite evidence that Mr. Bundy was involved, he got off on a technicality because he was arrested without a proper warrant. A system he had believed in to deliver justice failed him and, importantly, Tiffany. Weeks of planning were often interrupted with his dwindling resolve to engage in the same act he was willing to punish Bundy for. Like Hamlet who sought to revenge his father’s “… foul and most unnatural murder,” HUME had sworn to avenge the horrific murder of his young wife (Shakespeare 59). “I will seek the justice that the system denies us. A life for a life it will be”. His conscience conflicted with his determination. While a thought of killing Bundy had crossed his mind several times since it emerged that he was involved in the rape and murder of his wife, he was never really psychologically prepared to act in that manner.
He had seen death first-hand, seen people blown up, bodies scattered in streets, and children murdered by merciless terrorists, and experienced the devastating psychological effects of watching a person die. “This is different,” he said, “It is just. It is for the sake of other vulnerable people in society whose lives and wellbeing are threatened by people like Bundy. The world will be better off without him.” He was going to actualize his plan. He had everything in place. He had found Bundy, mastered his highly predictable routine, and devised a way to get to him. While waiting, he wondered what would happen if his plan fell apart and had to face the system against a wealthy family. At such time he imagined going to jail at 29 and coming out old. Sometimes he would say to himself, “I am ready to die in jail, but justice must be served.” He was skilled and ready. His time in Afghanistan had prepared him for any adversities life would through at him but never the loss of the love of his life.
Six months after his release, Bundy had moved on with his life and would never anticipate HUME’s move. Bundy sat at a dimly lit corner of the club admiring a group of young ladies that was dancing unaware of what was to befall him. Some people humming to One Direction’s “Drag Me Down,” dancing in their seats, while other engaged their partners and friends. A majority were on their phones, scrolling, texting, taking photos, calling or engaging others on social networking sites. From the other side, HUME waited for Bundy and managed to successfully abduct him as he went for his car. There was no room for blunder. He took him to his safe house, tied him on a chair, and assured Bundy that he would use the most painful torture methods on him unless he confessed on tape to his heinous act. Though reluctant at first, half way through the torture process Bundy admitted to the murder of his wife and six other young ladies and girls.
At this moment, HUME who was struggling with PTSD was triggered and started acting outside reason. He acted like Hamlet, who after stabbing Claudius, Hamlet says, “Here, thou incestuous, murderous damned Dane, drink off this potion. Is thy union here? Follow my mother” as he feeds him a poisonous drink (Shakespeare 207). The fulfilment of his pursuit for absolute justice was in itself a breach of the law, which would expose him to punishment. He murdered Bundy to avenge his wife, and believed it justice. The act compared to Frank Castle’s in The Punisher (2004 film) who avenges the death of his family by murdering an entire family and criminal cartel. Castle first believes in law enforcement and justice through the criminal justice system until it fails to investigate to fruition the murder of his family. In meting justice, HUME failed to comply with the law and goes to the extent of committing murder. His belief in absolute justice pushes him to seeking revenge and justice through his means.
Shakespeare, William. Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Chicago: S.R. Winchell & Company, 1885.
Winter, Iris. Jusitce vs. Equality. 2013. https://allpoetry.com/poem/10995987-Justice-Vs-Equality-by-Iris-Winter. 15 January 2020.