Ling AP Lit. and Comp. 2010-11 discussion

Good and Evil > Hamlet Act 1 (questions 5, 1, and 2)

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message 1: by Ilana (new)

Ilana | 24 comments Question 5
Hamlet uses a lot of antithesis in his soliloquy, juxtaposing harsh words and softer ones (e.g. hyperion/satyr, loving/roughly). This juxtaposition is symbolic of the mixing between good and evil happening in this scene. Hamlet's life has just turned from good to bad: before, he was happy with his parents and idolized them (he compares his father to Hyperion, a god of the sun, for example). But now, with his father dead and his mother clinging to his uncle's robes, life has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, and the suddenness of it has upset him. This comes out in the juxtaposition.

message 2: by Alon (new)

Alon Mazori | 23 comments I agree with you, Ilana. If anything can be said for certain, it is that Hamlet perceives his mother's maraige with Cladius and his becoming a new father role in Hamlet's life to be, at the very least, sudden and dramatic. Through these juxtapositions in his soliloquy, Hamlet reveals to the audience and the reader that he does not welcome these changes, and is shocked that his mother would so quickly embrace them. The allusion to Niobe and the contrast between Gertrude's "galled eyes" and her "dexterity to incestuous sheets" only accentuate Hamlet's emotions.

message 3: by Randie (new)

Randie (randiead) | 22 comments Ilana--I also agree with the "good and bad" juxtaposition of this scene. I think that Hamlet's main issue is that he is too wise for his own good; he is able to see perfectly the good and the bad in this situation, and that unnerves him. It seems to me that as a character, Hamlet is torn between the two sides of his heart, and has trouble picking one side, as the present circumstances need him to. It seems that, although Hamlet is inherently good, the predicament he must face drives him to take a second look at himself, and his mother, whom he clearly loves.

message 4: by Hillary (new)

Hillary (hillaryschwartz) | 21 comments I agree with the both of you. The use of metaphors (i.e. life as "an unweeded garden that grows to seed") dramatizes how dismal Hamlet feels. The use of juxtaposition also shows how vividly Hamlet sees the good and the evil in his world. The sudden changes in Hamlet's life and the unpleasantness of these changes are conveyed through this language. Juxtaposition also foreshadows Hamlet's future dilemma (concerning revenge on his uncle).

message 5: by Ilana (new)

Ilana | 24 comments Question 1
One thing I found interesting about this section is how different the Ophelia/Laertes/Polonius family is from the Hamlet/Claudius/Gertrude family. In Hamlet's family, nobody tells each other what they want directly; they speak politely, but their true feelings are hidden as subtext. In Ophelia's family, people actually tell each other what they want. Directly upon reading the scene, one can tell exactly what the characters want. Ophelia wants to be with Hamlet, and Laertes and Polonius want her to stay away from him for her own good.

message 6: by Ilana (new)

Ilana | 24 comments Question 2
When talking to Ophelia, Polonius uses words like "burn, "blazes", "fire". This signifies anger and wrath; heated emotions. He does not use words like these when talking with Laertes. With him, he talks of friends, generosity, fancy, and entertainment. His words are much less harsh to Laertes than to Ophelia. This demonstrates that he cares more about Laertes. He gives him good, careful advice, while when he talks to Ophelia, his words and treatment of her are harsh.

message 7: by Catie (new)

Catie Cooper | 20 comments Question 1:
I think the openess in the Laertes, Ophelia and Polonius family as compared to Claudius, Hamlet and Gertrude is due to the different family dynamics. Laertes, Ophelia and Polonius are a true family. They are immediate family and they don't seem to have any scandals attached to them. Hamlet's family is different. His father just recently died and his mother married his uncle shortly after the death. That is a broken family. They have going through mourning and then betrayal (in Hamlet's case). They are not immediate family and the marriage happened way too soon after the previous King's death. Hamlet's family is not as close and they still have problems, so of course there will be communication problems. They are a new family unit and that is expected. Ophelia's fmaily has been her family for her whole life and has not changed. Of course she will feel comfortable with them and they will be comfortable with her. They have no problems telling each other what they think because that bond is so strong. That is why the families are so different in the way they speak to each other.

message 8: by Shigeto (new)

Shigeto Ono | 17 comments Question 1:
I think it is very tense because we learn that Hamlet's homnelend is threatened and King Claudius is sending people to cause Forbinas' brother to curb the agression to avenge Old Forbinas' death.

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