Shakespeare ▿

This page contains a collection of creations that have been tagged “Shakespeare”. For a specific play, please select a title from the menu to the left.

Hamlet’s Humanity

Hamlet, in the play Hamlet by Shakespeare, can be described as a fully-human character. Even with limited exposure to the play, one can immediately identify with Hamlet. Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark, deeply grieved by his father’s death and worsened by his mother’s disgustingly quick remarriage. These events cause Hamlet to show vulnerability, be wracked with emotion, and seek vengeance. Through his experience of these basic human traits, the spectator or reader is quickly drawn into and able to identify with his true humanity.

Hamlet reveals the depth of his vulnerability in his soliloquy in 1.2. 155-162. He does not shy away and hide behind the image of an invincible character but instead shows grief and vulnerability, showing that he is no greater than any other human. “Than I to Hercules” 1.2 156, Hamlet compares himself to the Greek god but in such a way that he puts himself beneath the great Hercules, again emphasizing his humanity. This is so important in the play as it facilitates the development of the viewer’s connection to Hamlet and encourages compassion for Hamlet. This compassion enhances the quality and effectiveness of every line!

A secondary supporting example of Hamlet’s humanity, is his open demonstration of emotion. Immediately in his soliloquy, he allows the reader into his thoughts and feelings. The drama and exaggeration allow for his humanity to shine through. He is no longer a two-dimensional character but a three-dimensional human being, with his own thoughts, and layers of emotion. Shakespeare does this so effectively by using imagery which helps the reader associate personal sensations with the character. A prime example is found in 1.2. 138-140:

“ Fie on’t! O fie! ’tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this!”

This compares Hamlet’s feelings of corruption and misery in the world to an image of an overgrown, weed-filled garden. In this example, parasitic behaviour thrives and corruption is rewarded, all being very similar to the recent trauma Hamlet has experienced.

In conclusion, Hamlet can not only be recognized as a human-like character, but also a representation of human emotion and functionality. He is to be a reminder of the true ability and effects of imagery. Shakespeare’s use of imagery is what allows each individual reader to relate and grow a complex and layered attachment to Hamlet. All of these factors make Hamlet’s heartbreaking death even more impactful.

Reliability of Dr. James Sheppard

Can a narrator affect your ability to comprehend a story? In the case of the novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, written by Agatha Christie, the answer is ‘yes’. Throughout this classic murder mystery, the reader is guided by Dr. James Sheppard, the local doctor in the small village of King Abbott, who tells the tale of tale of Roger Ackroyd’s murder. At the end of the novel it is revealed that the killer is the one leading you along this gut-wrenching murder tale, Dr. Sheppard himself. This ironic ending creates many questions; but most of all, was Dr. Sheppard a reliable narrator? At first thought your answer would be ‘no’ because he was involved in the murder, but I plan to persuade you otherwise.

To begin with, the definition of an unreliable narrator states that: “he is a character whose telling of the story is not completely accurate or credible due to problems with the character’s mental state or maturity.” Our character, Dr. Sheppard, does not necessarily fit this definition. Dr. Sheppard never lies to the reader throughout the entirety of the novel and accurately and effectively tells the truthful events of the story that do not involve himself. On the other hand, he is leaves out key information about the murder mystery, which is unreliable; but this information that is left out is irrelevant to the telling of his story about the investigation of the murder, as opposed to the murder itself. The following quote (301) illustrates how Dr. Sheppard’s truthful telling of the story allows him to effectively remain a reliable narrator while hiding behind irrelevant details:

“‘The inspector was surprised – but you – you were not.’

‘I never dreamed of her being the thief,’ I expostulated.

‘That – perhaps no. But I was watching your face and you were not – like Inspector

Raglan – startled and incredulous.’

I thought for a minute or two.

‘Perhaps you are right,’ I said at last. ‘All along I’ve felt that Flora was keeping back something…”

This quote is quite revealing as pausing for a minute or two to think in the middle of a conversation is suspect but it proves he was not lying to readers. He was just distracting readers with red herrings like Flora Ackroyd stealing the money from Roger Ackroyd.

Finally, in conclusion, Dr. Sheppard’s ability to create trust and empathy from the reader is why the ending of the story has the reader clenching the page. The care and accuracy applied to his narration, down to exact minutes, leaves no other option but to prove his reliability. Even as a cold-blooded killer he is not a liar, nor is he biased throughout the telling of his very own murder mystery.

A War Of Sounds

An enticing battle fought between the softness and vulnerability of strings compared to the impactful aggression of brass. “Viennese Blood”, composed by  Johann Strauss, demonstrates a complex, yet playful battle between string and brass instruments. Both types of instruments, with their own unique qualities, guide the listener along a conflicted journey, that is resolved beautifully by the tethering of percussion.

The composition begins with a near melancholy introduction of string instruments. The string instruments continue to take the listener down a fearful, and depressing sequence. This is then overcome by a blast of brass instruments. The brass instruments appear to have an aggressive, almost dictatorial-like feeling, as they silence the soft string instruments. To counter, the string instruments return, matching the energy of brass in a joyful rebuttal. This battle between hardness and softness continues as though both styles were on separate ends of a teeter-totter….back and forth.

The composition takes on an image of endless rolling hills with no end in sight. Hill after hill, roll after roll, an infinite spiral of elegance and finesse. As your ears begin to slowly grow tired of warring instruments, a sudden burst of energy is introduced by percussion. The percussion, in an overwhelming fashion, matches the beautiful softness of strings to the popping blast of brass instruments. Where one would believe no uniformity possible, both opposite spectrums tether and warp into one beautiful body as the piece approaches its close.

In conclusion, “Viennese Blood” is a dramatic and artistic piece deserving nothing less than perfection. It was able to guide and hold a listener along an unforgettable journey, sealed ever so carefully by a beautiful uniformity of percussion, strings and brass!

Hamlet’s Humanity

Anguish can alter even the soundest parts of one’s humanity. In the play, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet, immensely distressed from the death of his father, falls into a heartbroken state, resulting in the eventual madness in the play. Through literary devices such as tone and diction, Shakespeare creates a character that cannot be seen by the reader as fully-human.

In the first lines of the play, it is explicitly clear to the reader that the tone of Hamlet’s soliloquy is of immense anguish, so much as wishing to go against the natural order, “O that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! / Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d / His canon ’gainst self-slaughter!” (1.2 132-135). By aspiring for “self-slaughter” and wishing that his “flesh would melt”, Hamlet reveals his inhuman desires to go against the natural order created by the “Everlasting”, namely, God. Only a few lines further, the tone of the soliloquy has turned from depressed to anger to Hamlet’s mother:As if increase of appetite had grown / By what it fed on: and yet, within a month,— / Let me not think on’t,—Frailty, thy name is woman!” (1.2 146-149). The image of feeding, expressed in the quote exhibits Hamlet’s inhuman thoughts of his mother’s insatiable hunger for power. Similarly, the anger, disrespect, and lack of compassion expressed towards his mother, Queen Gertrude, further shows Hamlet’s lack of humanity. By expressing Hamlet’s juxtaposing emotions of depression and anger in the same soliloquy, Shakespeare creates a tone that is not just one of anguish, but of inhuman madness that continues throughout the course of the play.

By using depressing and controversial diction in Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 1, Shakespeare further expresses Hamlet’s inhuman disposition. This is exemplified in line 136, “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world!” (1.2 136-137). By using melancholy words such as “weary” and “stale”, it becomes clear to the reader of Hamlet’s harsh view of the world. Hamlet further describes the world with revolting diction, “… things rank and gross in nature / Possess it merely.” (1.2 139-140). Hamlet’s lack of joyous words while describing his mother’s marriage show his harsh and inhuman disposition, as seen in the quote, “She married:— O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” (1.2 159-60). Diction such as “wicked” and “incestuous” continue to showcase the cold-heartedness of Hamlet’s nature.

In the play, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet, distressed from the death of his father, falls into a heartbroken state, resulting in the eventual madness in the play. Through literary devices such as tone and diction, Shakespeare creates a character that cannot be seen as fully human.

Hamlet can be described as a fully-human character

In this passage from Hamlet (1.2.132-162), Shakespeare uses strong language and figures of speech to portray the titular character as a devastated, anguished young man, and a fully-human character.

Hamlet’s devastation is clearly seen in the very beginning of the passage in the lines, “O that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! / Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d / His canon ’gainst self-slaughter!” (134-135). The repetition of “too too” emphasizes his frustration at his being unable to end the suffering resulting from his father’s death and the lack of decency that humanity inflicts upon him. He wishes that he could cease to exist, without killing himself, and committing a mortal sin. This is a theme that repeats itself throughout the play, notably in another soliloquy, where he wonders whether it would be better “to be or not to be” (3.1.64). While the death of his father is a tragedy, Hamlet seems disproportionately affected, mourning for an extended period of time, and wallowing in self-pity.

Hamlet describes the world as an “unweeded garden”, in which “things rank and gross in nature / Possess it merely” (1.2.138, 139). By this, he seems to mean that everything in the world is devastating, that there is nothing but the foul deeds of petty people, particularly his mother and his uncle. He shows his frustration with his mother in the line “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (1.2.149). He thinks of her marriage to his uncle as an incestuous affair, his disapproval exacerbated by the short interval of time between his father’s death and his mother’s marriage, and the fact that his father and his uncle could not be more dissimilar. Hamlet says “My father’s brother; but no more like my father / Than I to Hercules”, likening himself to Hercules to emphasize the difference.

The emotions Hamlet expresses — frustration, grief, devastation — and despite the fact that they are greatly exaggerated by his self-pity, are ones that make him a very human character.

Twelfth Night Article: Malvolio’s Madness

News has come that Malvolio, Puritan steward to the Countess Olivia, bared himself to his mistress this morn in the most knavish manner, adorned in garish yellow stockings done in the cross-gartered style and with a devilish counterfeit of a grin playing upon his face. He went to the Countess’ side in an unbecoming way, making errant advances to her person. He was halted by Maria, a maidservant of the Countess, who cried for the guards. The guards presently carried Malvolio perforce to a cell where he will pose no threat to the Countess Olivia, nor to any other person.

This bizarre occurrence took place this morn while the Puritan was out walking. He left for the grounds in his usual sad and dour mood, only to return to the estate wanting for sanity and railing at Sir Toby Belch and his companions. He later emerged from his chambers having donned hideous yellow stockings.

The madman was visited in his prison by a mysterious clergyman by the name of Topaz, who was sent to Malvolio’s side to chide and console him and to perchance lend physic and aid to his recovery. These attempts were in vain, as the man is yet to return to the world of the sane.

Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”

Induction Scenes I and II

In the induction, we meet a drunk beggar named Christopher Sly, who is arguing with the Hostess of an Alehouse over glassware he has broken in his drunken state. Sly leaves but soon passes out, where he is discovered by a lord returning from the hunt. This lord decides to have a bout of fun and orders his servants to take Sly back to his house and treat him as if he were the lord: put him to bed, place rings on his fingers and prepare a banquet for him. The confusion that follows not only provides excellent comedy, but also introduces important topics in the play: the roles of class, gender, and marital status (normally set in stone) in the play become matters of appearance and perception.

Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”

Induction Scenes I and II

In the induction, we meet a drunk beggar named Christopher Sly, who is arguing with the Hostess of an Alehouse over glassware he has broken in his drunken state. Sly leaves but soon passes out, where he is discovered by a lord returning from the hunt. This lord decides to have a bout of fun and orders his servants to take Sly back to his house and treat him as if he were the lord: put him to bed, place rings on his fingers and prepare a banquet for him. The confusion that follows not only provides excellent comedy, but also introduces important topics in the play: the roles of class, gender, and marital status (normally set in stone) in the play become matters of appearance and perception.

William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”

Induction Scenes I and II

In the induction, we meet a drunk beggar named Christopher Sly, who is arguing with the Hostess of an Alehouse over glassware he has broken in his drunken state. Sly leaves but soon passes out, where he is discovered by a lord returning from the hunt. This lord decides to have a bout of fun and orders his servants to take Sly back to his house and treat him as if he were the lord: put him to bed, place rings on his fingers and prepare a banquet for him. The confusion that follows not only provides excellent comedy, but also introduces important topics in the play: the roles of class, gender, and marital status (normally set in stone) in the play become matters of appearance and perception.

“The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare

Induction Scenes I and II

In the induction, we meet a drunk beggar named Christopher Sly, who is arguing with the Hostess of an Alehouse over glassware he has broken in his drunken state. Sly leaves but soon passes out, where he is discovered by a lord returning from the hunt. This lord decides to have a bout of fun and orders his servants to take Sly back to his house and treat him as if he were the lord: put him to bed, place rings on his fingers and prepare a banquet for him. The confusion that follows not only provides excellent comedy, but also introduces important topics in the play: the roles of class, gender, and marital status (normally set in stone) in the play become matters of appearance and perception.

William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”

Induction Scenes I and II In the induction, we meet a drunk beggar named Christopher Sly, who is arguing with the Hostess of an Alehouse over glassware he has broken in his drunken state. Sly leaves but soon passes out, … Continue reading

Do You Know Everything About Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare, the middle child of John and Mary Shakespeare, was a poet in the late 1500s. His two siblings died in infancy and he was baptized on April 26, 1564. His birthdate is unknown, guessed to be on April … Continue reading