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September 2007 Archives

September 23, 2007

Wait... Who am I?

ROS: My name is Guildenstern, and this is Rosencrantz.

GUIL confers briefly with him.

(Without embarassment.) I'm sorry--his name's Guildenstern, and I'm
Rosencrantz.

~Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, Act I. page 22.

I found it humorous how many were confused as to who was Guildenstern and who was Rosencrantz...including said two characters. I could be wrong, but I think this is in an attempt to make fun of the fact that it is easy to get the two confused in Hamlet. I know I, for one, often confused the two when I was reading it...and that was with the characters' names right there--in all capital letters, mind you. I can imagine how confusing it would be without those labels.

It seemed like the overall tone of this play was to make fun of these two characters, as well as other aspects of Hamlet--possibly even all Shakespeare plays. Towards the end of Act I, there is one stage direction ("POLONIUS asiding unintelligibly until--" Page 52) that I believe makes fun of the many asides in each of the Shakespeare plays.

September 19, 2007

"To be or not to be..."

"A difficult or even impossible choice--a dilemma--is a natural conflict for an individual person....Conflict Is Directly Related to Doubt, Tension, and Interest."
~Writing About Literature by Roberts, page 94

As cliche as this has become, I think Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech is on of the best examples of this in the play. This speech is entirely about Hamlet's inner turmoil about whether to go through with the revenge or not--for we discussed in class that Hamlet knew going through with the revenge would result in death, and also that he was not one to act without thinking. At this point, he is simply putting voice to the conflict that has been there since he first learned the truth from his father's ghost. His true decision is not made until he kills Claudius in the final scene.

This conflict definitely helps to "determine the plot" (Roberts 94). If Hamlet didn't have this conflict, he would have either dismissed the idea of revenge immediately or killed Claudius immediately. Both of these ideas would create alternate plot lines. The first idea would eliminate the entire story. The second idea probably would have resulted in a story about Hamlet covering his tracks. This inner conflict that Hamlet has is what allows the play to revolve around Hamlet avenging his father.

September 17, 2007

Methodical Madness

POLONIUS, [aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.
~Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Act 2. Scene 2.

I think this quote pretty much sets the theme for this entire play. Most of what happens is "madness." I know in class we talked about how you can interpret Hamet's character in many different ways. The two most prominent are the black and white--he's insane or he's not insane. My own interpretation of him is that he may be slightly crazy, but at least some of his sanity is intact. As Polonius says, there is method to Hamlet's madness. He murders Polonius because he mistakenly thinks he's Claudius. It is not just some random murder like some of the characters may believe. He may very well even just act crazy in order to throw Claudius off balance. Who knows?

September 16, 2007

Long Tedious Work

"Each and every time he found a word that piqued his interest he wrote it down, in tiny, almost microscopic letters, in its proper position in the quire he had made."
~The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester, page 139

I think I liked the second half better than the first. The first half was mostly just setting the stage for the main part of the story. The second half was the heart of the story, pardon the cliché. Though, as I stated in class, the fact portion sometimes seemed to drag on for too long, it was necessary to understand the story-telling parts. One way in which this was true for me is that I gained a greater appreciation for what they went through to create this monstrous work. Yes, I realize it should be obvious that it wasn’t easy, but I never really stopped to think about it before. When Winchester wrote about how the readers had to go through many different books, pick out words, and define those words based on context, I remembered having to do something similar, though mild in comparison. In grade school, one of my teachers sometimes had us look up certain vocabulary words in our text books and refused to let us use the glossary. We had to define it strictly on context—granted, the words we needed to define were bold and or blue and sometimes had the definition spelled out shortly afterwards. I remember how tedious and annoying that could be, and that was nothing compared to what those people had to do. I definitely have a lot of respect for them.

It was definitely effective on the author's part to include this information. It is easy to overlook the work behind something when you see the ready made finished copy. In including this information, Winchester forces the reader to truly think about what was involved.

About September 2007

This page contains all entries posted to JenniferPrex in September 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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