Follow by Email

Sunday, November 20, 2011

On Shakespeare

First things first...I have recently developed a huge literary crush on Hamlet.  I'm taking a class with the amazing Prof. Alicia Vauters on Shakespeare right now....a class I started in August thinking that I would hate it.  I mean, who wants to spend hours a week trudging through archaic English?  Well, it all finally clicked and I realized what a genius this kid was.  Now I'm struggling to pull myself from the pages of Hamlet and I sometimes sneak in a video clip from a version put out by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London.  I'm convinced that only Brits can perform Shakespeare well...  Below you'll find my thoughts on Hamlet that I was forced to write.  (I personally think Hamlet is far beyond my words...) And you'll find some really cool Shakespearean stuff that got passed around via email in our class.  I think Shakespeare is a new and thriving interest for me...SO quotable!

Rambling Thoughts on Hamlet by Emily Jordan
"Hamlet is quite out of my reach as a writer.  He's too wonderful to put into words.  People quote Shakespeare's line "What a piece of work is man!" I would like to alter it for my purposes and say, "What a piece of work is Hamlet!  How noble in reason and infinite in faculty etc. etc..." Hamlet is Shakespeare's most complex and fascinating character.  According to T.S.Eliot, in creating Hamlet, Shakespeare created something that even he as a playwright didn't quite understand.  He had gone a step farther than making a character and he had (in a sense) created a theoretical man.  Hamlet is a study in contrasts.  He is both gentle and intense, passionate and apathetic.  His thoughts are higher than even he can always understand.  If he does understand his thoughts, he doesn't know how to apply them.  He doesn't completely know himself and therefore is constantly suspicious of others.  Hamlet is one of those brilliant minds that can speak around itself. (For my purposes, he lacks the stability of a Dr. Jim Bennett.  He has all that intelligence but lacks the fortitude to contain it.)  He, therefore, can feign madness quite well.  He doesn't have to think too hard in order to come up with a guise of insanity.  All he has to do is reveal his every cryptic thought.  Since he so often lives on the edge of a knife in his mind when others live in the stability of their natures, his personal front of insanity works quite well.  He isn't actually insane, he's just Hamlet revealed.  His comments to Horatio after speaking with the ghost for the first time (requiring Horatio's silence on the issue) affirm this fact as well as his statement to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about "knowing a hawk from a handsaw" when the wind blows a certain direction.  He never actually becomes crazy.  Hamlet is a character that I pity.  (This might be a little bit of bias, and I know it is just because he fascinates me so much.)  Truly, he is to be pitied for a thousand reasons.  His personality placed within the maelstrom of these tragic events and the appearance of the ghost creates the perfect storm for his demise.  Add the fact that his mother has betrayed him and the readers easily notices that Hamlet was driven to his actions.  That does not mean that he is justified in his actions.  He was wrong to be so obsessed with revenge.  I know that righteous vengeance is an undisputed theme of the play, however, I do not agree that it is right from a biblical worldview.  Hamlet should have learned to control his nature.  He would have been a less destructive person.  However, I place the blame for the deaths completely on King Claudius.  Claudis is what  is "rotten in the state of Denmark."  Hamlet, though not completely innocent, is pitiable.  And for that reason, I will continue to love him as an exquisite piece of humanity."

THE SHAKESPEAREAN HOKEY POKY by Unknown Author
O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heaven's yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke — banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

Shakespearean Insult Kit
This should be self explanatory...and it's so fun!  Just make sure you only use it with your friends.
Column 1
Column 2
Column 3
artless

bawdy
beslubbering
bootless
churlish
clouted
craven
currish
dankish
paunchy
pribbling
puking
puny
qualling
rank
reeky
spongy
surly
tottering
unmuzzled
vain
venomed
villainous
wayward
weedy
yeasty
base-court

bat-fowling
beef-witted
beetle-headed
boil-brained
clapper-clawed
clay-brained
crook-pated
dismal-dreaming
ill-breeding
ill-nurtured
knotty-pated
milk-livered
motley-minded
onion-eyed
plume-plucked
rude-growing
shard-borne
sheep-biting
spur-galled
swag-bellied
tardy-gaited
tickle-brained
toad-spotted
unchin-snouted
weather-bitten
apple-john
baggage
barnacle
bladder
boar-pig
bugbear
bum-bailey
canker-blossom
clack-dish
clotpole
lout
maggot-pie
malt-worm
mammet
measle
minnow
miscreant
pignut
pumpion
ratsbane
skainsmate
clack-dish
varlet
vassal
whey-face
wagtail


No comments:

Post a Comment