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And Horatio just gets left there?


Everybody dies in the end...except Horatio. So why did Shakespeare feel the need to leave just onemain character alive? Throughout the film Horatio was a level headed character that other characters turned to for his opinion and council, such as the guards who had seen the ghost, or Hamlet while he is trying to determine his uncles guilt. As a symbol of consistency and reason, is Horatio's survival meant to show some sort of final resolution at the end of the play? The death of all the corrupt characters (Claudius, Polonius) and the conflicted quasi-heros ( Hamlet, Gertrude, and Laertes) may mean an end to the betrayal and chaos, while Horatio stands as a final testament to what the world could be like without corruption: calm, steady, and intelligent. Furthermore, Hamlet's attempt to save Horatio (in his despair he considers taking the poison himself before Hamlet stops him) may show our protagonists sudden clarity as his conflicts are resolved, and a final redemption in the act of saving his ever faithful friend and companion.

Act 5 Scene 2: Hamlet speaking to Horatio
As th'art a man,
Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I'll ha't.
O good Horatio, what a wounded name
(Things standing thus unknown) shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story

Style Analysis:
It is slightly ironic that this passage ends with Hamlet telling Horatio to "tell his story", since the play is in fact the story of Hamlet, however most of it is not written from the perspective of Horatio, but rather Hamlet. This could be a reference to the "play within a play" idea that is presented earlier in the text, but in a slightly different format. Hamlets words "Let go!" may also have a double meaning, indicating for Horatio to let go of the cup of poison, but also to let go emotionally, of all the strife they have endured together, and let go of the loved ones that are dying around him. This final moment of Hamlets may have been him trying to save Horatio from the torture that he experienced when his father died so unexpectedly. Hamlet is telling Horatio to "let go" in an effort to protect him from the agony of dwelling on death, an unchangeable and unavoidable force of nature. An obsession that clearly did not turn out well for Hamlet.

Mother and Son: Both Severely Screwed Up

So I'm still not sure how to feel about Gertrude in all this. She's been in multiple scenes, but she's almost always on Claudius' heels, and rarely speaks for herself. But the most perplexing question is whether or not she was in on the murder of her first husband. Obviously Hamlet thinks she was, but he is also almost insane with grief and confusion by the time he confronts her. One possibility is that she had knowledge of Claudius' intentions, but was not directly involved in the murder. However her guilt was still so great that she repressed the memories of it, instead opting for the uber denial sort of solution. If so, it is not surprising that Ophelia's own insanity makes the queen so uncomfortable, because it confronts her with the hard truth of how sick her mind really is. And if her majesty is not insane? Then she has the potential for a lucrative career as an eccentric soap opera character.
Hamlet's Soliloquy: To be or not to be?But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of
Style Analysis:
Wow what a downer. In Hamlet's soliloquy pondering the point and reason for his existence, Shakespeare uses extremely pessimistic language to illustrate Hamlet's dark outlook on his potential afterlife. First of all, unlike many christians who would refer to the afterlife as a heavenly paradise to look forward to, Hamlet describes his feelings toward it as "dread", hardly a hopeful attitude. Not only that, but it appears that Hamlet is not only questioning the existence of heaven, or his chances of getting into it, but also the entire christian teachings on the afterlife. In referring to his potential fate as "undiscover'd country" he is emphasizing that despite what anyone says, no one really knows. And i think that is what is truly torturing Hamlets mind during this speech, is the lack of knowledge that an achieved scholar like himself would not be accustomed to. This uncertainty may be what leads to his apparent madness immediately following this scene, during his crazed encounter with Ophelia. After all, sanity is most commonly judged on a person's grasp on reality, and here Shakespeare makes it clear that Hamlet is not only unsure of his future and his faith, but the entire purpose of the world around him and the useless toil of life that he is faced with.

Ophelia: Driven mad by the men who love her?

Sunday February 5, 2012

She even has the look of a suffering teenager down

  • Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
  • Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
  • Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?
  • I do not know, my lord, what I should think.

  • Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby;
  • That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
  • Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
  • Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
  • Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
  • My lord, he hath importuned me with love
  • In honourable fashion.

Style Analysis:
  • It is interesting in this passage that Polonius repeatedly uses the word "tender", when he is being almost the opposite of tender with his poor daughter. As he uses it, the word can mean either an offering (in this case meaning a show of love or affection), or to regard or rate. This demonstrates the confusing mix that is occurring between love and properness within Ophelia's life, and also shows how her fathers priorities are slanted heavily towards his reputation, and not the happiness of his daughter.

  • One thing is clear from this passage: Polonius is not one of those understanding dads that a girl can discuss her social life with. In this passage, not only does Polonius doubt his daughters purity and overall intelligence, but he goes on to say that it isn't really her he's worried about, he just doesn't want word getting around that his daughter is loose with her virtues. He obviously considers her a naive and gullible nuisance, who doesn't have the right or the brain to make a decision for herself, lest she become a liability to his good name. And its hard not to sympathize with Ophelia when you also consider that not two minutes before, her beloved brother was giving her a similar speech about keeping her legs crossed. With such an overbearing family, is it any wonder the girl loses her marbles?
  • It is also clear from this passage that Ophelia is like any typical teenage girl who has been over sheltered and pressured by her family her entire life. She is constantly torn by the desire to please her selfish father and his high expectations, but also tempted by the love and affections that Hamlet offers her. I think that Shakespeare left the subject of Hamlets love for Ophelia open and ambiguous on purpose, so that the reader (or rather the audience) could understand how conflicted Ophelia herself must have been. Its hard enough for any young girl to know if a boys love is genuine, but with your protective brother and self- involved father whispering in your ear? It would have been nearly impossible. Only the Shangrillas can describe her pain.... and actually they do it pretty accurately.
  • In regards to the essential question, I think that what Ophelia must have been feeling must have been the source of her later insanity. Being torn every which way by the men in her life, constantly suppressed by an already male dominated society, and then after all that, being used as a pawn in the sick games of her father, her boyfriend, and all their various issues and agendas. Who wouldn't go nuts after that?
Honestly it looks like the entire cast was nuts

The Significance of Hamlet's Ghost

Sunday January 29, 2012

Ooh so majestic

We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence;
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,

And our vain blows malicious mockery.

Style Analysis:

It is odd that Marcellus would use the word majestical to describe the ghost of the king. Why do they see a king that was slightly less than honorable in life so admirable in death? Or does the word majestical refer to his station, as in "your majesty". It is unclear whether or not the men fear and respect the ghost because it is their former king, or because it is a incorporeal and potentially dangerous spirit. The last two lines suggest that they revere the ghost, and are ashamed of the way they naively threatened it.However later in the play, they are less kind to the ghost, holding Hamlet back from it and claiming that it could be a dangerous demon for all they know. Seems like all these guys are pretty wishy washy..

So looking at these scenes objectively, its seems a lot more like Claudius is the lovable protagonist, and Hamlet is some moody kid with mommy issues. While Claudius is optimistically embracing the future and moving on, Hamlet is talking to himself about how horrible his mother is for finding happiness rather than wallowing in her grief. Without the ghost, Hamlet as a character would be much less popular. It is the ghost that justifies his paranoia and reinforces his hatred of his uncle and mother and their recent nuptials. So is it possible that there really is no ghost? If Hamlet is insane, it would make sense that he would create something in his mind that would make all his off color issues warranted and valid.