10/03/2011

Shakespeare

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Erin Sadler


Shakespeare


Mr. Penn


The words that Shakespeare wrote over four hundred years ago are timeless. Today, hundred of years later, his works are continued to be read across the world and even made into feature films. The reason for such universality is in part because Shakespeare uses many timeless qualities in his dramatic works. I believe the most timeless aspect of drama to be love, which Shakespeare displays in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. He also has characters portray the universal aspects of greed, jealousy, death, and revenge in both Hamlet and Macbeth. These more negative aspects are not so prominent in Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


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A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play that portrays the power of love, but not without revealing the destructive nature of jealousy. Nevertheless, love always perseveres. Hermia is in a state of despair in Act I Scene I, when her father forbids her to wed Lysander. Lysander states that, “The course of true love never did run smooth...” Throughout the length of the play, two other couples are facing great difficulties in their relationships. As the play ends, all of the couples ultimately find a happy ending. As for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one will not find such a pleasant ending.


Shakespeare’s Hamlet portrays an array of universal qualities, such as death and revenge. The play is entirely based on Hamlet’s crusade to avenge his father’s murder. In the aftermath of King Hamlet’s murder, Prince Hamlet is obsessed with the idea of death, including his own death. In Act III Scene I, Hamlet poses the problem of a logical question, “To be or not to be,” which basically asks, to live or not to live. Death is probably the most universal quality displayed in Shakespeare’s dramas, for death is a part of life that everyone will experience. Shakespeare’s Macbeth also deals with many negative timeless qualities.


Ambition, corruption, and failure are three universal qualities found in the drama of Macbeth. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have great ambition. They both are willing to do whatever is necessary to acquire the throne, including murdering the current king, Kind Duncan. As the play progresses Macbeth grows to be even more menacing and corrupt, but as he learns of his wife’s death and the ruin of his power, Macbeth speaks these words, “It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing.” He knows that his plan has failed and no he must submit himself to the consequences of his actions.


Erin Sadler


Shakespeare


Mr. Penn


Shakespeare proves this statement to be very true in his classic dramas. His great literature presents to us an array of characters and each of their individual experiences. Shakespeare’s characters experience emotions such as love, hate, death, and jealousy. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a classic example of love and jealousy. The characters portrayed in Hamlet are prime examples of human experiencing vengeance and death. Shakespeare’s characters in Macbeth experience failure and blind ambition. Each of these emotions are expressed extraordinarily in Shakespeare’s dramas and humans cannot learn how to react to these emotions until experienced.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a classic comedic tale of love gone awry. Three couples find great difficulties in each of their relationships, one being extreme jealousy experienced by Oberon. Titania, Oberon’s wife, will not give him possession of her Indian boy. At one point, Shakespeare writes that the seasons are thrown of course in light of this dispute among the fairy royalty. Oberon seeks making a fool out of Titania by making her fall in love with an ugly creature. Near the end of the play, Oberon realizes what he has done is wrong and releases Titania from the spell. In this case, Oberon felt remorse for what an injustice he had done to his wife. Only experiencing this feeling of remorse could have taught Oberon this lesson. He could not pick up a book and realize he had made a mistake. The statement in question number two can also be proven in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.


Hamlet experiences the death of his father and his mother’s hasty remarriage. The human heart can only withstand so much strain. Shakespeare writes Hamlet’s character to be somewhat confusing. The audience is unsure whether or not Hamlet has actually gone mad in some scenes of the play. Hamlet’s reaction to his father’s murder was typical of the times. He wished to avenge his father’s murder. Throughout the play Hamlet experiences minor detours that obstruct him from accomplishing his task, but in the end of the play Hamlet shows no wisdom and seems to have learned nothing from his past experiences, which I believe leads to his downfall. Shakespeare’s character of Macbeth is somewhat similar to the character of Hamlet.


Macbeth’s ambition grows beyond his control. He seeks too much power. At first he is remorseful for his murderous actions, but later shows no mercy. Even as he learns that Lady Macbeth is dead, he does not believe that any of his enemies will bring him down. Unlike Hamlet, Macbeth believes that he is invincible. But like Hamlet, he did not learn from his past experiences and his ignorance led to his demise.


Shakespeare uses these characters as a window into the human heart. He shows us that some people are full of love while others are full of hate. His writings teach readers that we in fact learn more from our own personal experiences than we do from books.


Erin Sadler


Shakespeare


Mr. Penn


Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet are classic examples of tragedies. All three plays are very serious, complete, and each portrays a different level of tragedy. Some would argue that the story of Hamlet is the greatest tragedy. I believe the greatest tragedy to be that of the story of Romeo and Juliet.


The magnitude of tragedy in Romeo and Juliet is exceeds all limits. Shakespeare writes an epic tale in which he layers many characters besides Romeo and Juliet. He brings the audience to pity Romeo and Juliet, for they cannot display their love for one another. They go to great lengths to be together, only in the end to both perish out of love for one another. In this certain tragedy, love proves to be stronger than any other emotion. Shakespeare’s character portrayal of Romeo and Juliet gives us the impression of how serious love can be. Romeo and Juliet’s leading contender for the greatest tragedy, Hamlet, has little to do with the emotion known as love.


Hamlet is also a play that ends in tragedy. Hamlet is a character that the audience most definitely pities. His father was murdered by the hand of his uncle. Adding to his father’s death, his uncle then remarries Prince Hamlet’s mother. After speaking to his father’s ghost in Act I, Hamlet tries his best to avenge his father’s murder. Throughout the play, Hamlet is obsessed with death, including his own. I believe even contemplating suicide is a tragedy within itself. This also brings the audience to pity Hamlet more. Shakespeare portrays all of the characters in this play to be very serious and the ending gives the audience a sense of completion after all of the twists and turns found throughout the duration of the play. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is quite different from Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.


Macbeth is a character whose ambition leads to his downfall. I’m not sure if I would classify Macbeth as a tragedy. His character is not a victim in the play. Although, according to Aristotle’s statement in poetics, Macbeth is in fact a tragedy. Macbeth understands the seriousness of his actions after he murders King Duncan in Act I, but lets nothing destroy his need for power. Also, this play did not need a narrator. The actions and emotions of the characters in Macbeth are captured in the dramatic words that Shakespeare has composed. In my opinion, the magnitude of this tragedy is definitely not in high of a degree of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. Nevertheless, according to this statement made by Aristotle, Macbeth is a great tragedy.


All three of these dramatic works contain serious actions and consequences. Also, each play is layered with many different characters and themes. Shakespeare’s tragedies have no need for a narrator, for the actions and words that they speak give the audience a direct window into the minds of each character. The audience can feel the emotion and in turn, pity certain characters. Aristotle’s statement about a tragic work is very true and Shakespeare writes such tragedies will great skill.





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