The punishments on Big Brother have always been entertaining, but the humilations endure by the houseguests on Season 20 have consistently been some of the best in the franchise's history. Haleigh's Hamlet punishment from BB20 is no different, bringing the entire house back to English class for some Shakespearean education.
Haleigh was the recipient of the third and final "crap app" from the BB App Store, and her punishment turned her in to the most accomplished actress in the Big Brother house. On Big Brother's command, Haleigh has to don her best Elizabethan garb and begin reading Shakespeare's Hamlet aloud from the beginning until Big Brother told her to stop. Luckily for her, she was not forced to read through the entire play at once — instead able to pick up where she left out whenever the powers that be told her to stop reading. Hamlet isn't as long as you probably remember. A one-person audiobook performance of the play performed by Frank Muller on Audible comes in at just over four hours. But Haleigh's performances have become so commonplace in the house that the entire Big Brother cast and audience seems to have come down with Shakespeare fever.
Part of the punishment also allows Big Brother to dictate where in the house Haleigh has to perform Hamlet, which has led to some hilarious, if unfortunate, circumstances. Trying to have an important discussion in the HOH room? Too bad, Haleigh is there announcing the reunion of Hamlet and Horatio. Need to use the bathroom? Unfortunately, Haleigh is busy in there detailing Hamlet's "courtship" of Ophelia. Fast asleep in the Have Not room? Enjoy a surprise English lesson in the middle of the night as Haleigh regales the room with one of Shakespeare's famous soliloquies.
While Haleigh was the only one forced to perform the play, the entire house got in on the action. At one point, Rachel and Kaitlyn provided Haleigh with a beat to rap some of Shakespeare's classic lines, and Haleigh has found joy in performing for the entertainment-starved houseguests who have nothing to read or watch while in the house. She's even been discussing the events of the play with the other houseguests as a makeshift book club, leading to the revelation from JC that Hamlet is "based on The Lion King if you think about it." This comment did not sit well with fans, since Hamlet outdates The Lion King by multiple centuries.
If anything, it's surprising that Big Brother hasn't introduced the works of Shakespeare to the house sooner. The comparisons invite themselves, from the political maneuvering of Shakespeare's histories like Richard III or Henry V, to the backstabbing of Shakespeare's tragedies like Othello or Macbeth. The twin twist of BB17 could have been straight out of Twelfth Night or any of Shakespeare's comedies, and what are floaters if not Big Brother's own version of Hamlet's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern?
In fact, the episode that shows Haleigh's performance had an interesting connection to Hamlet. Kaitlyn's vision from her dreams that "revealed" to her that Brett and Winston were plotting against her is reminiscent of Hamlet being told by his father's ghost that his uncle had betrayed their family. Of course, the events of Big Brother aren't as serious as Hamlet, as BB ends in everyone eventually getting evicted and not everyone dead on the ground.
Haleigh's punishment is a joy to watch because it's not really a punishment. It's a mild inconvenience at times, but it brings a sense of fun to the house that might not otherwise happen and provide entertainment for the houseguests —which is in very short supply. The houseguests may have ignored Hamlet in English class, but with nothing else to do in the house, Haleigh will probably have a rapt audience until her performance comes to an end.