Essay on Hamlet

A circa 1884 poster for William Shakespeare's ...

A circa 1884 poster for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, starring Thos. W. Keene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Corruption, cruelty and uncertainty — three aspects of the human condition as perceived by Hamlet — are revealed in Hamlet’s employment of a rich variety of imagery, such as science, the military, law, racing disease, etc…

Hamlet’s way of employing imagery is to be identified as a unique artistic process. when he begins to speak, the images fairly stream to him with the slightest effort as immediate and spontaneous visions. They show us that whenever he thinks and speaks, he’s at the same time a seer, for whom the living things of the world about him embody and symbolize thought.

This visionary and prophetical power results in his applying the general to the particular through the employment of imagery. the following lines from his soliloquy are relevant:

” How weary, stale, and unprofitable

seem to me all the uses of this world …”

This world, in which he finds himself and towards which his attitude is defined, is expressed in terms of a most striking, central image of sickness, the “unweeded garden”, that will permeate the whole play. The “unweeded garden” evokes an atmosphere of corruption, decay and unfaithfulness in an indirect, general way. Hamlet, in fact, is capable of transforming this awareness into symbols and then interpreting those symbols.

The “unweeded garden”, already established as symbol of the corrupted world, Hamlet’s garden goes on to explain it: “things rank and gross in nature” until they “possess it merely.” Then there is a shift from the general to the particular: his family situation. This shift is revealed through a dramatic process in which we witness a succession of flashes produced by a comprehensive alert mind. There is a shift to the moral shock which has resulted from the sudden disclosure of Hamlet’s true nature. all his life he had believed in her. He had seen her not merely devoted to his father, but also hanging on him, “as if increase of appetite had grown by what it fed on.” This cluster of imagery reveals the spontaneity and acuteness of Hamlet’s mind it has the power of observation, the capability of scanning reality, and of penetrating the veil of semblance to the very core of things.

Incest triggers Hamlet’s mind to compare his mother to a beast, “A beast … would have mourned longer …”, thus giving an entrance to cruelty, the second aspect of the human condition. Hamlet now longs for ” self-slaughter”, a violent act forbidden by the “everlasting”. Later on, savagery and ferocity are expounded throughout the play by a poisonous motif. The description which the ghost of Hamlet’s father gives of his poisoning by Claudius,

“And in the porches of my ears did pour

The leperous distilement”,

is characterized by vividness with which the process of poisoning and the malicious spreading of the disease is portrayed, “… and curd like eager dropping into milk.”The corruption of land and people throughout Denmark is evaluated by Hamlet as an irresistible process of poisoning. Finally, this motif reappears in the poisoning of all the major characters in the last act. Corruption, as represented through the poisonous motif, reveals Hamlet’s power of transforming reality into imagery by his full awareness of the human nature and of the world around him.

The first appearance of the ghost, creating a sense of confusion for both Marcellus and Bernardo, introduces the notion of uncertainty to the play — the third and vital aspect of the human condition,”Horatio says ’tis our fantasy”, until reality defeats uncertainty,”is not something more than fantasy”.

Uncertainty reappears later with Hamlet’s hesitation between contemplation and action–the tragic flaw that leads to his destruction. His hesitation is revealed stylistically through a succession of incomplete sentences,

” and yet, within a month-

Let me not think on’t Frailty, thy name is woman …”

This fragmentation reflects the fragmentation of his mental process. Here the style is reflecting the dilemma of his mind; it has been invaded by “frailty”, a disturbing element from the human condition. Such fragments evoke not only his mental state but also his psychological conditioning, characterized as they are with bitterness and agony: “… like Niobe, all tears-why she, even she …”

Hamlet’s mental debate is concluded with the following couplets:

“The time is out of joint. O cursed spite

That ever I was born to set it right!”

Hamlet doesn’t have the active will to take revenge, so his mission seems to spring more from without than from within. In other words he seems to be more persuaded by the ghost than by his own conscience. Realizing that “conscience does make cowards of us all”, Hamlet experiences deactivation of will. “… and lose the name of action”, seems to be the proper description of the will’s failure to assert itself.

The "gravedigger scene" The Gravedig...

The “gravedigger scene” The Gravedigger Scene: Hamlet 5.1.1–205. (Artist: Eugène Delacroix 1839) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Corruption, cruelty and uncertainty–three aspects of the human condition–are revealed genuinely through keen observations of reality embellished by various clusters of imagery, most prominent among which is poison imagery-animal and plant imagery being less effective in evoking the proper atmosphere of the human condition. Through their concreteness and preciseness, their simplicity and familiarity, Hamlet’s nature is introduced with all its aspects: corruption and integrity, cruelty and mercy, uncertainty and assertion. We see a man, who in other circumstances might have exercised all the moral and social virtues, placed in a situation in which even the amiable qualities of his mind serve but to aggravate his distress and to perplex his conduct.

National Poetry Month: April 6th

The Saddest Poem by Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
                            .
Write, for instance: “The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.”
          .
The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.
                                           .
I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
.

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Guest Blog: Keats and Stoicism

Interesting Literature

By Laura Inman

John Keats lived for twenty-five years, from 1795 to 1821. He is considered one of the great Romantic poets, along with Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron and Shelley. Unlike those other poets of his era, most notably in contrast with Byron and Shelly, Keats was a middle-class commoner, whose parents were inn keepers, a factor that affected his outlook and reception as a poet.  Keats and his two brothers attended a progressively-minded school and received an education that included Latin, but not Greek, a language taught at upper-class schools.

Keats1

Keats’s life was marred by a succession of sad events, thus he wrote that he had hardly known any days of ‘unalloyed happiness’. His father died while Keats was a child, after which his mother fell into various forms of degradation and finally succumbed to tuberculosis. Keats nursed her through the final stages, as he would also do for his…

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Teaching at Home Hits New High With Internet

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

 Nowadays, a large number of children are being taken out of school and educated by their parents at home. Nationally, up to a 100 children a month are leaving the classroom because of their parents’ disillusionment with the educational system. Around 15000 families are now teaching their youngsters at home, a rise of 50 percent from last year, according to latest figures.

 The popularity of home tuition (home schooling) has traditionally been blamed on the rigidity of the examination system, parents being unable to get their children into the school of their choice, and dissatisfaction with teaching methods. Some parents also prefer to keep their children at home because of bullying and lack of discipline in schools. Academics now claim, however, that a significant proportion of families educating at home do so because they feel that the concept of institutionalized education is a thing of the past. Professor Meighan said many academics now thought schools, as we know them, could become obsolete within 20 years. Instead, children will be taught at home using the internet, computers, and video. He said, “The schools of the future will be small pockets of children, sharing equipment in each other’s homes, with teachers taking on  a new role as advisers, sorting through the available information.

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 020

Homeschooling – Gustoff family in Des Moines 020 (Photo credit: IowaPolitics.com)

 Under the law, parents must ensure their children are educated, whether at school or at home. It is the responsibility of local authorities to safeguard their schooling. Professor Roland Meighan, a senior lecturer in education at Nottingham University, said parents were fed up with the constrictions of the existing education system. He said, “Schools have become an outdated concept from the days of the town crier, when information was scarce and a central figure was needed to impart knowledge. Parents are now coming to the conclusion that education is moving on, and they do not want their children to be stifled by conventional methods.

 The future institutionalized schooling was recently called into question by Sir Christopher Ball, the director of learning at the Royal Society of Arts. He predicted the education system of the future would include a global curriculum and a worldwide qualifications system. He said, “Some existing marginal models of schooling will move into the mainstream-community schools and home schooling, for example. No doubt, other models yet unseen will emerge.”

How Opting Out Brings O-Level Success at 13

  Leslie Barson is already running a prototype of the type of school educationalists predict will educate children in the future. Based partly at a community center in Brent and partly in family homes, the Otherwise Club is comprised of some 35 families around north London. Professional teachers are brought in where necessary to help with more specialized subjects, but for the most part parents and children work together on projects, such as study of the Greeks and the American Civil War, reading up on events, making costumes, and learning how people used to live.

Education Minister John O'Dowd at Anti Bullyin...

  Parents opting out of school claim the flexibility of home learning means some children sit one of two GCE’s by the age of 13. Ms. Barson’s own children, Luis, age12, and 7-year-old Lilly, have never attended school. She pays around 2000$ a year for private tutors to help in specialized areas. She set up the Otherwise Club six years ago with just a handful of youngsters. She said, “The whole idea of educating children should be to develop their self-confidence.Our children do not see adults as disciplinarians.” Her son agrees. Luis, who is currently teaching himself math, said, “I like the freedom to learn things that interest me, particularly music. I don’t feel I am missing out on anything by not being at school because I am a member of various clubs and have friends who attend normal school.

The “Danger” of Isolating Children

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 024

Homeschooling – Gustoff family in Des Moines 024 (Photo credit: IowaPolitics.com)

  Home schooling could affect children’s relationships with their peers and adults because of prolonged periods spent with their parents, educationalists have claimed. Most academics concede that education in the future will be increasingly centered around the home, and they fear children could become isolated and withdrawn, Professor Michael Barber at London University’s Institute of Education, said pupils could spend half their time at school and half at home as a compromise. He said home tuition would play an increasingly significant role in educating children in the coming years. “I believe very strongly that children need to have the experience of school,” he added. “There is the quality control issue of ensuring pupils are taught the basics and assessed. Children also need to spend time with their peers to learn the rules of work in a democratic society and learn to deal with relationships with adults other than their parents.” Margret Rudland, head teacher of Godolphin and Latymer School, Hammersmith, said children needed to experience the “rough and tumble” of peer associations.

The Romantic Age

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley imbibed his radical philo...

Percy Bysshe Shelley imbibed his radical philosophy from William Godwin’s Political Justice. (Amelia Curran, 1819) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Romantic era poetry rejects neoclassicism and the Enlightenment. It is characterized by individualism and subjectivity, emotion, and the pastoral. There is a preoccupation with the poet as genius and the hero’s inner struggles and passions. Although definitions of the term vary, Romanticism continues to exert considerable influence over Western thought and art but should not be confused with contemporary notions of what is romantic. Nearly every country has produced Romantic poets.

A wide-sweeping artistic and philosophical movement that began in the late 18th century in Germany, Romanticism arrived in different countries at different times. The complexity and multiplicity of the movement is reflected in the varied definitions of the term, causing American scholar A.O. Lovejoy to remark that romantic means so many things that it means nothing at all by itself. Although love can be a subject of Romantic era poetry, Romanticism has little in common with what is popularly considered to be romantic.

Generally Romanticism was a reaction to the Enlightenment and continues to exert influence over Western ideas and thoughts. Romantic era poetry exalts the individual; the poet becomes a prophet or moral leader who gives voice to the common man and nature. Rather than adhere to conventional forms, romantic era poetry created new modes of expression and a dynamic language to articulate how a personal experience becomes a representative one of all human experience.

The artist and poet William Blake, who lived i...

Nature is a substantial presence in Romantic era poetry, functioning as a teacher and companion. The poets viewed their art as mediation between humanity and nature and would set their human dramas on her stage. The Romantic wanderer and vicariously the reader would learn his or her place in the universe by journeying through nature’s dark spaces and exotic dream lands. The mysterious, monstrous, and strange are all Romantic era poetic predilections.

Generally Romantic era poetry emphasized intuition and imagination over reason, everyday language over inscrutable poetic form, and the pastoral over the urban. Imagination is the gateway to transcendence, and the poet filters powerful emotions and emotive responses, translating them into an accessible poetic form. The arguably extreme idealism of Romantic era poetry characterized by a search for immortality, perfection, and pure love was often in conflict with the realities of everyday life.

Some of the most well-known Romantic era poets include William Wordsworth, Robert Burns, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow are representative American Romantic poets. The movement also included accomplished female poets like Mary Shelley, Mary Robinson, and Charlotte Turner Smith.

English: Cropped portrait of Mary Shelley

English: Cropped portrait of Mary Shelley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Romanticism as a movement lasted well into the 20th century, and its ideals and themes in poetry have yet to completely die out. Aspects of Romanticism can be found in many subsequent movements, including surrealism and French symbolism. Some literary theorists have begun to question the Romantic perception of the poet as a genius and individual creator. Instead, they argue that a poem is part of a web or archive or other texts and the poet is one of a collective of voices limited by the boundaries of language.

The Decline of the Male Figure in D.H.Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers

D. H. Lawrence, world famed author (1906)

D. H. Lawrence, world famed author (1906) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

One of the features of the English novel is the transition period (1880- 1920) is the progressive decline of the hero.It is not the purpose of this research to investigate why this should have taken place, but several critics have put forward their own interpretations of this phenomenon. It may be the decreasing stature of the authoritarian father figure in the fiction of the transition period linked to the decline of the hero. The fact that England was ruled by a queen, who was openly referred to as the “Mother” of the country, is probably important.

 

What I have tried to do in the pages that follow is to show that the image of the great male figure  underwent considerable change in D.H. Lawrence’s autobiographical  novel Sons and Lovers.

 

Lawrence’s  outlook on life is not much different from that of his contemporaries. He, too, is interested in the study of man and the record of the human experience. He believed in the individuality of man and his right to establish world according to his own world according to his line of thought.

 

In Sons and Lovers (1913) D.H. Lawrence attacked not only the Victorian society, but also the Victorian family. Perhaps his personal experience as a son of a  collier motivated him to write about the miners and their painful life. Because of his parents unhappy marriage, D.H. Lawrence denied all social bonds. He believed in the freedom of the individual: “Each (man or woman) must be true to himself, herself, his own manhood, her own womanhood, and let the relationship work out of itself.”

 

Continue Reading: Bloomy eBooks: The Decline of the Male Figure in D.H. Lawrence’s Sons & Lovers