In the following poem, I censor all words using the letter A from a passage of Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. The exercise was inspired in part by the book Eunoia by Christian Bök, as well as La Disparition (translated as The Void) by Georges Perec. The following soliloquy serves to close out Act II, Scene II. I have begun mid-line, starting at the line “Am I a coward?” and going until “O vengeance!” I found that this censorship took the first two lines and made them very reflective of the character of Hamlet throughout the tragedy. Unwilling, or unprepared, to confront his circumstances, the existential crisis that he undergoes seems to parallel these introductory lines. I had originally thought of censoring the letter I, as I thought it would take some of this self-referential perspective from the play. However, in realizing that the censorship of “A” would effectively censor the entirety of the play (removing the titular Hamlet, making the tragedy without title and rendering Hamlet anonymous to an extent) I found it to be a more interesting experiment.
Who me? my?
Plucks off my blows it in my?
me by the nose? Gives me the lie i’ th’
deep to the lungs? Who does me this?
‘Swounds, I should it, for it cannot be
But I pigeon-livered
To oppression bitter, or ere this
I should the region kites
With this. Bloody, villain!
Remorseless, lecherous, kindless villain!