Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Thinking Outside the Box"


Jean Paul Sartre and Plato, men separated by a thousand year epoch, yet both men of philosophy, philosophers. Though it may have no immediate physically empirical "value", the ruminations of men, the critical thinkers, contemplators, seekers of knowledge, ideological truths and depth of analytical thought, philosophy is essential to the understanding of knowledge, who we are, what we are, what we will or can become, the universe, our most peculiar human condition, ultimately…ourselves. With astounding relevancy/modernity if not some sort of Nostradamus-esque pre-cognizance of thought, Plato, really, both of these men have been vital to our own pillars of contemporary philosophical comprehension. With his philosophically prodigious play “No Exit” Sartre conveys a plethora of themes yet one bears striking resemblance with his progenitor, Plato’s proposed concepts of human thought processes, who we are, why we are, how we think. Indeed just like Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” Sartre focuses, with razor sharp, laser focused syntax and structure (unlike the somewhat unwieldy “rigid” and obviously dated/re-translated rhetoric of Plato) as well as lamenman, audience friendly, diction (another difference from the academically gifted but sometimes dense textual tongue of Plato) upon the idea that humans are ultimately the only ones who define themselves, create their own self and existence. The cave dwellers, denizens deprived of light in the Allegory of the Cave illustrate the unique, impressive but sometimes blightful facet of our conscious wherein the dwellers did not wish to leave the dank, dark, but ignorantly comfortable shackles of the cave, did not wish for the light of day, enlightenment. The characters of Sarte’s work share a common thread as the three damned souls refuse to admit to their own guilt, rather self-deceptively dubbing themselves innocent, calling themselves “victims” of the situation, absent of any and all guilt, they with their own thoughts condition themselves, genuinely believe that their acts of depravity were not their fault.Thus both Plato and Sarte's philosophical dogmas surface: the mind, the person in control of said mind, internalized thoughts and withheld beliefs is ultimately what defines who we are, as well a what are our limits. The cave dwellers did not utilize their faculties to receive some sort of ballyhooed enlightenment, rather they enjoyed their ignorance, buying into the simplicity that they weren't not meant to or even able to walk out into the day, yet again, achieve enlightenment, just as the three damned souls convinced themselves they were innocent and above guilt, that it wasn't their fault they were damned. Though there may be over one thousand years between the two, both Plato and Sarte's works have not only influenced western philosophy but have shed further light on the questions of our existence, our condition, the human condition. Shedding light on the power of our minds, on one universal truth: we are who we are, we are limited ONLY if we believe so.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Literature Analysis # 4: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens



A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens  

Literature Analysis
By Hayden Robel

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” – Charles Dickens

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GENERAL______________________________________

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid clich├ęs.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).

4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)

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1. Spanning the tumultuous twilight years of eighteenth century France, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is a tale of redemption, of loss, and, even more, sacrifice. Beginning at the onset of the French Revolution in 1775, Charles Dickens’ legendary novel chronicles the exploits of various citizens over the course of the turbulent revolution. From the French Aristocrat/primary protagonist Charles Darnay to a vast menagerie of figures, A Tale of Two Cities is not merely a work of fiction but so to is it a chronicle, retelling of sorts of the turpitude and injustices that transpired during the French Revolution, wherein the common people the populace starved, wallowed in the streets of every city and the wealthy Aristocracy, apparent “nobleman” dined with fine wines and imported breads. In the service of avoiding full frontal spoilers by summary, Charles Darnay essentially epitomizes what would become the archetypical mold of a rich, at onetime ignorantly blinded in bliss aristocrat who eventually comes to realize and empathize with the suffering of those less fortunate, ultimately (with the sacrifice of an apathetic, goalless, attorney by the name of Sydney Carton) finding his own humanity while helping out hi fellow man. Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities is undoubtedly his magnum opus, a timeless tale conveying empathy, compassion for fellow man, as well as (what I believe) the authors purpose of the need for self-sacrifice for betterment of all. Indeed Charles Dickens tale is one of two different worlds, two cities.    

2. Of the litany of thematical motifs flowing within the undercurrents of the novel, Charles Dickens’ primary “theme” accomplished with A Tale of Two Cities is, in my opinion, that of self-sacrifice, redemption. Charles Darnay was initially one of the wealthy, ignorant nobleman blinded by his fortunate, birth-right bliss but (thru his love for a “commoner” Lucie Mannette)  ultimately sacrificed this social station to enjoy his life with the love of it. Even the invariably inebriated attorney Sydney Carton is a connoted symbol of the concept of self-sacrifice, he sacrificing himself so that Darnay could escape execution, thus as Sydney’s life is given purpose thru self sacrifice, the man achieving redemption  for his self-motioned “worthless existence”.

3.

·        “And now that the cloud settled on Saint Antoine, which a momentary gleam had driven from his sacred countenance, the darkness of it was heavy--cold, dirt, sickness, ignorance, and want, were the lords in waiting on the saintly presence--nobles of great power all of them; but, most especially the last.”

·        “The faintness of the voice was pitiable and dreadful. Its deplorable peculiarity was, that it was the faintness of solitude and disuse. It was like the last feeble echo of a sound made long and long ago.”

·        “Every pulse and heart in Saint Antoine was on high-fever strain and at high-fever heat. Every living creature there held life as of no account, and was demented with a passionate readiness to sacrifice it.”

A master of writing, the English language ecumenical, Charles Dickens’s utilization of rhetorical strategies is not limited to impeccable diction, unparalleled pacing, stylish structure but so to is his expert craftsmanship lent to tone. Gruesome and cold with dark diction and even darker descriptions, Charles Dickens’s tone within his A Tale of Two Cities can only be dubbed as grime. With grotesque, deprave actions being committed by man against man, and even more abominable acts being committed in the name of revolution or for the Old Guard Aristocracy, Charles Dickens paints a lonely and dark renditions of the French Revolution and the city/populace of Saint Antoine, depicting the disparity of two different peoples of the same city, yet two different cities all the same.

4. Here we go.

·        Imagery: “And now that the cloud settled on Saint Antoine, which a momentary gleam had driven from his sacred countenance, the darkness of it was heavy--cold, dirt, sickness, ignorance, and want, were the lords in waiting on the saintly presence--nobles of great power all of them; but, most especially the last.” (Book 1, Chapter 5, Paragraph 6) You can feel the filth, the grime and tense darkness enveloping the city of Saint Antoine here, on the eve of revolution.

·        Tone: “Every pulse and heart in Saint Antoine was on high-fever strain and at high-fever heat. Every living creature there held life as of no account, and was demented with a passionate readiness to sacrifice it.” (Book 2, Chapter 21, Paragraph 30) The grim tone is evident (as it was above) here with Dickens’ expert manipulation of diction such as the choice words of “demented” or likening of Saint Antoine to a state of fever madness. 

·        Imagery: “Far and wide lay a ruined country, yielding nothing but desolation. Every green leaf, every blade of grass and blade of grain, was as shriveled and poor as the miserable people.” (Book 2, Chapter 23, Paragraph 2)

·        Paradox: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .” (Book 1, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1) Quite possibly the single most memorable/legendary openings to any work of the English language, Dicken’s entire novel is perfectly as well as concisely connoted in this paradoxical piece as the excerpt hints to the ironic existence of both extravagantly rich and an exasperated poor (amongst a hell lot of other things that could inspire an entire essay but I’d rather not :).

·        Metaphor: “As an emotion of the mind will express itself through any covering of the body, so the paleness which his situation engendered came through the brown upon his cheek, showing the soul to be stronger than the sun.” (Book 2, Chapter 2, Paragraph 41) Testifying himself in front the French court, Darnay here thru Dickens’s describes his innocence, his constitution “stronger than the sun” metaphorically of course.

·        Symbolism: “The time was to come, when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones, and when the stain of it would be red upon many there.” (Book 1, Chapter 5, Paragraph 5) A classic likening of wine to the color of blood, blood itself is symbolized here, if not foreshadowed to be spilled unto the streets cobblestones as the Revolution revs in haste.

·        Simile: “With a roar that sounded as if all the breath in France had been shaped into the detested word, the living sea rose, wave on wave, depth on depth, and overflowed the city to that point. Alarm-bells ringing, drums beating, the sea raging and thundering on its new beach, the attack began.” (Book 2, Chapter 21, Paragraph 36) Creating the image of the commoners, revolutionary people as a raging, rising sea, this simile is striking in its imagery.

·        Setting: “It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven.” (Book 1, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1) Time-stamping, the setting of the book is smack dab right on the beginning/eve of the French Revolution and thus a grim and gruesome time, place to be, place to read.

·        Allusion: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (Book 3, Chapter 2, Paragraph 1) this is a direct rip from the Bible wherein Christ says the quote upon raising Lazarus from the dead.

·        Irony: “Jerry you are an honest tradesman." (Book 1, Chapter 1, Paragraph 10) Its ironic that Jerry Cruncher is called an “honest tradesman” in that the character ultimately becomes/is later revealed to be one of the undercover revolutionaries.

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CHARACTERIZATION__________________________

1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?

2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?

3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.

4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction.
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                  1.

Direct Characterization

·        EXAMPLE 1:

·        “I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me.” – Sydney Carton

·        EXAMPLE 2:

·        “Monseigneur had one truly noble idea of general public business, which was, to let everything go on in its own way; of particular public business, Monseigneur had the other truly noble idea that it must all go his way--tend to his own power and pocket. Of his pleasures, general and particular, Monseigneur had the other truly noble idea, that the world was made for them.” – A description of Monseigneur

Indirect characterization

·        EXAMPLE 1:

·        “In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?” – Charles Darnay


·        EXAMPLE 2:

·        “He knew very well, that in his horror of the deed which had culminated the bad deeds and bad reputation of the old family house, in his resentful suspicions of his uncle, and in the aversion with which his conscience regarded the crumbling fabric that he was supposed to uphold, he had acted imperfectly. He knew very well, that in his love for Lucie, his renunciation of his social place, though by no means new to his own mind, had been hurried and incomplete.” – Charles Darnay’s internalized thoughts

As I’ve said in nearly all of my literature analyses, any writer worth their royalties utilizes both direct and indirect characterization. As a foremost figure of the written English language, Charles Dickens’s masterfully utilizes both methods to characterize his characters. With the direct characterization examples above we are learned Sydney Carton’s seeming mantra of purposeless existence as well as the capricious, disgustingly haughty character of the aristocrat Monseigneur. With indirect characterization example one Charles Darnay contemplates on his social station as a more fortunate aristocrat/begins to characterize himself as a sympathetic character to the poor lower classes as example 2 further solidifies. Indeed, Charles Dickens’ like any worthwhile writer, employed both direct and in characterization to flesh out his characters.

2. Yes. Dickens’s grim/dark tone shifts to a lesser gruesome, but sometime even moreso, tone when characterizing characters. As a relevant example, look at indirect characterization example 2, as Darnay contemplates his relationship to his fellow Saint Antoinians, Dickens’s tone, while remaining drenched with dark diction, to a simpler more expedient style in order to lend unmistakable gravitas to the internal monologue.

3. Charles Darnay is dynamic for a character of this literary period. Charles Dickens conveyed the character as one initially blinded by birth-right blessings to the unfortunate circumstance of the lesser fortunate lower class Frenchmen. Darnay ultimately sheds his aristocratic tidings, sacrificing them, for love, happiness with his to be wife Lucie and thus not only fulfills the most prevalent thematical motif of A Tale of Two Cities but also depicts dynamic change unlike many other protagonists of the early nineteenth century forward.

4. I’m surprised, though Charles Dickens and his legendary A Tale of Two Cities predates my birth, our time, by hmmm… over one hundred years the characters don’t seem like dated shells of old timey powdered wig wearing archetypes. Charles Darnay, even Sydney Carton, are as human as any non-book binding bound individuals, the former and latter both flawed  but ultimately by the end of their respective tales, seek redemption, sacrifice aspects of themselves to achieve betterment, somewhat topple their flaws, how impossible this ultimately is. Indeed, though a few characters seem just that, hollow archetypes (I.E. Monseigneur as a stereotype arrogant and cruel aristocrat) others like that of Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton prove their worth if not actuality as people for they, as we all are, are flawed each endeavoring to defeat their flaws, just like us “real people”, how impossible it might actually, ultimately may be. For something flawed can only ever be. Doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying anyways, hell it only means we should try even more. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My "Allegory of the Cave" sonnet

Allegory of the Cave Sonnet
By Hayden Robel

Dark, like shadows, shifting, slinking in the dark.

Stygian shadows of men shackled, without thought.

Dark, like the fathomless depths, no light, no ark,

The shadows existed but yet did not.


Bright, it streamed into the cavern, not dark but light.

It didn’t matter, they didn’t care.

Bright, it illuminated their shackles, warm, white.

It didn’t matter, they ignored it, ignored the glare.


One, a zero, a shadow walked out, out from his shadows, into the day.

At first it hurt, the sun, lights brilliance blinding.

It wasn’t simple, the world, but he wanted to stay.

Some shadows came with him, others…the others, they didn’t think, didn’t care, comfortable in their binding.


To leave, to escape, to achieve enlightenment we must help each other.

To think we must learn how, to realize reality, to find ourselves, to leave the cave of our self-construction it takes one step, one person, one another.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My "Big Question"

BIG QUESTION


How can a single individual achieve change? In society, civilization on a global scale? Is it possible for one person to actualize such? If not explain your perspective.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" Study Questions

1. According to Socrates, what does the Allegory of the Cave represent?


According to Socrates the Allegory of the cave is to depict "our nature in its education and want of education" as in the impact of education on individuals, what ultimately creates the "divided line" of the spirit and the formation of the "good".

2. What are the key elements in the imagery used in the allegory?

There are a plethora of elements, symbols and allegories presented in the Allegory of the Cave but the most prominent (in my opinion, as well as research) is the following:  The sun represents the absolute good/knowledge. The "Growth" represents reality. The light represents the truth, and the visibility represents intelligibility (intelligibility as in the comprehension of given knowledge).


3. What are some things the allegory suggests about the process of enlightenment or education?

Just as relevant to the pioneers of education, such as Socrates, to our own contemporary curriculums the Allegory suggests a seemingly invariable facet of humanity as the prisoners (students) at first resist enlightenment, as students resist education. The prisoners, ultimately allegories of students, confront and resist all education, but, with proper stewarding eventually come to embrace the assistance of the freed cave dweller achieving enlightenment, passing the "divided line" to the "Form of the Good" intial collaboration then individual determination.

4. What do the imagery of "shackles" and the "cave" suggest about the perspective of the cave dwellers or prisoners?

The shackles and title of the cave dwellers as prisoners enlightens the shrewd reader of the subterranean captive's perspicacity: they perceive, as students perceive education, that they are captives, prisoners by birth within the cave, not truly understanding or appropriately of the cognitive stage to understand why they are in the cave, why it is important. In fact they eventually become numb to their captivity, eventually coming to enjoy it, the only ignorant reality they know. Contemporary students perceive themselves as prisoners bound without shackles, but still self-applied binds, to school resisting educational endeavors, not understanding that education would inevitably enlighten them to their pursuits, paths beyond the "divided line".     

5. In society today or in your own life, what sorts of things shackle the mind?


The apparent need to accrue material wealth is often times a blinding/binding shackle self-applied to our society. We have a compulsion it would seem to achieve some mythical apotheosis of economic class preoccupied with what we don't have, what we think we need to have, get, instead of what truly matters in life: (IMO) happiness. Money materials, though it may be hard to believe, the two are not exclusive, needed for happiness, indeed life is what you make of it, what and how you choose to perceive it, the blindfolds of economy often times muddying this fact.   

6. Compare the perspective of the freed prisoner with the cave prisoners?

The freed prisoner is enlightened to the true source of light, the sun, able to genuinely comprehend and contemplate whilst the prisoners are ignorant to such, captives of their own closed imaginations, only able to imagine reality, a mentally myopic manufactured machination, unable to see the "light", nor wonder why or what it truly is, ultimately numb and apathetic, in ignorant bliss to the actuality of reality.

7. According to the allegory, lack of clarity or intellectual confusion can occur in two distinct ways or contexts. What are they?

Lack of clarity or intellectual confusion can occur by way of: 1. The cave dwellers can never be given the chance to experience the light. 2. Said prisoners can be exposed but ultimately shy away from the light to hide in the darkness of thier own ignorance.
8. According to the allegory, how do cave prisoners get free? What does this suggest about intellectual freedom?

Socrates states that the cave prisoners may only be freed by these means: The good fortune to somehow free themselves of their chain; The ability to listen to the freed prisoner and explore the world outside the cave. Thus it is suggested that only by cooperative contemplation combined with individual will and effort that we as people can come to intellectual enlightenment, freedom.


9. The allegory presupposes that there is a distinction between appearances and reality. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Yes i do agree. To employ a relevant example, the prisoners see what they describe is a "fire" yet we learn from the freed prisoners revelation that the fire is in fact the sun, that there is a world beyond the cave, not with shadows of animals, things, and beings but actually extant entities, not imaginary story-told creatures. Subsequent Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" distinguishes the mis-perceptions able to be manufactured by an unwilling, unenlightened state of mind, an imaginary appearance of reality in contrast to the clear, unobstructed, vision of actual reality as the freed prisoner witnesses outside the cave.

10. If Socrates is incorrect in his assumption that there is a distinction between reality and appearances, what are the two alternative metaphysical assumptions?

Not sure if it specifically stated exact metaphysical assumptions, but here's my own interpretation.

1)  Reality is indistinguishable from what it physically appears to be, therefore we could all easily be within an imaginary "matrix-esque" fictional reality, a dream, like brains suspended in a jar.

or

2) Everything existing is exactly what it appears to be unable to detour from that identity, everything is invariable reality.

But these are incredulously metaphysical, semantic conclusions. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

For whom the bell tolls (by John Donne) sonnet recitation (by Hayden Robel)

Not only is "For whom the bell tolls" a great metallica song, so to is it a great sonnet! Forgive my appearance (i look like a bat out of hell i know) this was between studying breaks!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Literature Analysis # 3: Hamlet By William Shakespeare



Hamlet
by William Shakespeare

Literature Analysis
By Hayden Robel


__________________________________________

GENERAL

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).

4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)
___________________________________________

1. “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther!” the ghost, phantasmal father of the Denmark prince Hamlet commands his son, calling for revenge against the newly anointed King Claudius. Byway of brotherly betrayal, ear poisoning, the now uncle king not only seized power in the kingdom but also married Queen Gertrude, the late king’s betroved as well as Hamlet’s own mother. And so the tragic tale of William Shakespeare’s play begins. Spiraling in to an ever descending abyss of internal strife, brooding depression, the prince’s lust for revenge ascends, even against the cries of his beloved Ophelia and her father, the royal advisor Polonius. Mimicking insanity, this unquenchable thirst escalates after Hamlet validates Claudius guilt via a deceptive play (a modified murder of Gonzago emulating his fathers own demise) the prince nearly and utterly faltering into the very madness he was attempting to mimic, accidentally killing Polonius as he verbally accosted his mother. Realizing his vehement lust, Hamlet is sent away to England by the uncle king only to return after a failed execution event (the letter tampered by Hamlet himself delivering death only to the spies Rosencrantz and Guildenstern). Enraged by the sudden suicide of his sister Ophelia and the killing of his father Polonius, Laertes confronts Claudius concocting a venomous scheme to poison a goblet drink as well as duel the Denmark prince with a poison tipped rapier, a challenge Hamlet accepts. Stabbed by the poison tip sword, Hamlet trades swords with Laertes each of them penetrated by the venom. Drinking from the poisoned elixir, Gertrude falls, Laertes following, Hamlet thrusting the toxin tipped blade into Claudius (as well as forceful swallow of the poisoned goblet) achieving his vengeance at the cost of his own life, his lust for revenge a parable, Shakespeare’s ultimate purpose, theme, a note of caution (in my opinion): We must not obsess, lose sight, in a quest for self-fulfillment (not limited to revenge pursuits but those of ambitions in general) or we risk losing ourselves.

2. William Shakespeare has not earned the legendary reputation that has survived centuries for nothing. His many works, including that of Hamlet, are not only beautifully, excellently executed narrative compositions but so to are they paradigms of the English language, not limited to his time but all times (even if the structure could be a bit…dated at times). The primary, most prominent theme of his Hamlet  (amongst the panoply such as forgiveness, morality, etc.) would be (in my opinion) a note of caution to all: We must not obsess, lose sight, in a quest for self-fulfillment (not limited to revenge pursuits but those of any ambitions (money, celebrity, materialism) in general) or we risk losing ourselves, potentially ending violently just as Hamlet and the various selfish-agenda harboring characters of the eponymous play, played experience to.

3.
·        “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

·        “To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?—To die,—to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die,—to sleep;—
To sleep: perchance to dream:—ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.”

·        “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther!”

Hamlet is a genre, if not language, building masterpiece for many reasons not excluding tone. Shakespeare (with quote 1 and 3) imbues the work with a strain of foreboding dread as Hamlet struggles to achieve his task trapped in internal, cognitive paralysis, frequently contemplating his existence/ the end of such thru suicide (i.e. quote 2). Indeed a work largely if not entirely constructed from dialogue, as plays must be, is further evidence to Shakespeare’s timeless talent, skill in crafting not only an involving story with fully realized characters but also an angst gripped, ominous dripping, introspectively torturing tone.

4.   Here we go. Example quote denotation: (Act. , Scene , Line )

·        Tone/mood: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (Act. 1, Scene 4 , Line 67)  Spoken by Marcellus to Horatio, this quote almost instantly establishes the foreboding tone that would come to characterize the entire play as Hamlet violently thrusts towards his revenge goals.

·        Tone/mood: “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther!” (Act. 1 , Scene 5, Line 5) Yet again this quote from Hamlet’s ghostly father sets the tone for the entire play as the ghost essentially commands his son to achieve vengeance for Claudius’s brotherly betrayal.


·        Tone/mood: “To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?—To die,—to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die,—to sleep;—
To sleep: perchance to dream:—ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.”
(Act. 3, Scene 1, Line 55) Quite possibly the most famous single quotation from Hamlet, the To be or not to be soliloquy cements the self-existentialistic tone, angst and internal “cognitive paralysis” of the Denmark prince, Hamlet characterized directly here contemplating his life and the consequence/ease of ending it and his suffering.




·        Dialogue: “example: THE ENTIRE PLAY” As it is a play the entire work of Hamlet is an example of the literary technique/rhetorical strategy of dialogue (as well as colloquialisms, dialect, vernacular etc.) Shakespeare utilizing expert craftsmanship of dialogue to serve his narrative needs.

·        Pun: "A little more than kin, and less than kind" (Act, 1, Scene 2, Line 65). Hamlet's first words in the play show him playing with words, Shakespeare’s own invention of the literary technique puns, in order to state a paradox: Claudius is twice related to him, as uncle and stepfather, but not really his kin or kind at all

·        Persona: “How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself, as I perchance hereafter shall think meet, to put an antic disposition on” (Act. 1, Scene 5, Line 58) Hamlet adopts a false persona as one of the earliest documented uses of the literary techniques, he pretends to be insane, mad in order to fool Claudius, his mother, everyone for that mother to further his revenge plot.

·        Setting: "It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time." (Act. 1, Scene 1, Line 347) Not only does this quote service tone, the abysmal description of the setting, Elsinore of Denmark aids the dark mood of the play with a seemingly corrupted city bearing witness, the stage to many a turpitude, including the events that later transpire ver the course of the play.

·        Symbolism: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a
thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!
My gorge rises at it.”
(Act. 5, Scene 1, Line 179) Another famous passage, the symbolism here is palpable as Hamlet speaks to “Yorick’s” (Ophelia’s ironically) skull the skull itself a emblem for mortality, that time delivers all both the kings and pawns to the same end.

·        Simile: “Like an angel...a god” (Act. 2, Scene 2, Line 30) Even Shakespeare made use of the rhetorical strategy basics, here likening Ophelia as a kind and caring, nearly substitute mother figure to Hamlet as mothers often times are both angels, and god in the eyes of children, unable to do any wrong.


·        Motif: “I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder!” (Act. 1, Scene 5, Line 5) the motif of revenge is by and far the most prominent theme in the play. Hamlet’s quest for revenge is actuated here as his phantasmal father asks, no, commands the prince to seek for revenge against the uncle king Claudius. Thus the play goes on.
___________________________________________

CHARACTERIZATION

1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?

2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?

3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.

4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction.

___________________________________________

 1.
DIRECT CHARACTERIZATION
 
·        “...She married. O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” 
 
·        “To give these mourning duties to your father; But you must know, your father lost a father; That father lost his, and the survivor bound in filial obligation for some term to do obsequious sorrow.” 





INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION

·        "Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial, fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter."

·        “Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves
.”

Shakespeare was a pioneer of characterization as he is for most rhetorical strategies. Like all contemporary authors that followed his example, the playwright employed both direct and indirect to flesh out his players. Direct quote 1 directly characterizes Queen Gertrude’s lack of modesty/ ultimate empathy towards Hamlets feelings as the matriarch hastily married Claudius, while Direct quote 2 textualizes Hamlet as an emotional introspect as Claudius comments on his apparently melodramatic demeanor, disposition after his father’s death. Indirect quote one serves as a connotation of Hamlet’s erasure of his memories, he foregoing all past pleasantries of Claudius, friends, family, his own mother in order to fulfill his revenge quest, quote 2 indirectly characterizes king Claudius as a conniving silver tongue worthy of a politician as he knows what to say, when to say it, and how to deliver the news of his brothers passing in an un-self-implicating false sympathizing light. Indeed Shakespeare is a paragon of authorial characterization utilizing both direct and in to serve his needs.

2. No, in my opinion, due to the works native medium as a play, it is incredibly difficult to perceive any difference drastic or subtle from the structure of characterization to that of normal conversations in the play. The audience ultimately forms there own opinions not from one idea or example but substantiated sequences of such committed by the various characters over the narrative. Thus Shakespeare’s skill is evidenced moreso, the job of a writer is to immerse the audience/reader so much that they forget their observing a work in the first place, id say he was successful.

3.  Though Shakespeare does succeed in his realization of characters as authentic people to their time periods, from my own reading I personally believe nearly all of the characters are static. Hamlet never changes merely broods and pouts about himself and his revenge quest (until he achieves it), Claudius actually shows signs of dynamic rotundity when he prays for forgiveness but ultimately remains a conniving snake, top that off with Polonius who remains a suspicious, self-righteous advisor and it is easy to superficially see most if not all of the plays characters as static. Not that this is bad. In fact it was necessary to use tropes and static characters in works like that of a play. Not only did Shakespeare have a limited amount of time to convey the story, he also had to convey it to less than educated commonwealths.  Subtle characterization is key in all works and I do believe this is where all of the dynamic features and nuances of Hamlet’s characters are realized, thru connotative layers. So no and yes is my answer to my question…do you understand? J

4.
·        “To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?—To die,—to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die,—to sleep;—
To sleep: perchance to dream:—ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.”

Entrenched in subtleties, by the end of the play I observed nuance and realism in the characters of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that is leaps and bounds above some modern works churned out by Hollywood factories, urban fantasy novels. Though I have a few gripes about some of the characters (most of them are the founders of the archetypes we see today with a broody prince, conniving, power-hungry king, mournful/self guiltying queen etc.) you have to give credit where credit is due. Shakespeare basically created the novelty of these characters before they became the archetypes that contemporaries today endeavor to mirror some of his brilliance. To be or not to be, to me, is a prime example of my personal perspicacity on the nuance of Hamlet’s own character, if not a person, as the prince genuinely reflects, mired in self-existentialistic thought that none of us can deny have similarly introspectively contemplated before in our own head. Subsequently Shakespeare and his characters like those within Hamlet may be static archetypical characters (seemingly inhuman cardboard cut outs of real people) now but they are the molds from which all contemporary copycats follow, hipsters if you want to be hip, establishing the stereotypical trends before they became mainstream. Again I think us “real” people give ourselves to much credit in our static or dynamic originality….    

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vocabulary list 11



List 11

  • Affinity- relationship by marriage

  • Bilious- of or indicative of a peevish ill nature disposition

  • Cognate- of the same nature

  • Corollary- A proposition inferred Immediately from a proved proposition with little or no additional proof
  • Cul-de-sac- a pouch

  • Derring-do- a daring action

  • Divination- The art or practice that seeks to foretell future events or discover hidden
  • knowledge due to the interpretation of omens

  • Elixir- A substance capable of prolonging life indefinitely

  • Folderol- a useless accessory

  • Gamut- an entire range or series

  • Hoi polloi- the General populace

  • Ineffable- incapable of being expressed in words

  • Lucubration- to study by night

  • Mnemonic- intended to assist memory

  • Obloquy- abusive language

  • Parameter- an independent variable used to express the coordinates of variable point and
  • functions of them

  • Pundit- a learned man

  • Risible- provoking laughter

  • Symptomatic- having the characteristics of a certain disease but arising of a different cause

  • Volte-face- a reversal in policy

Friday, November 2, 2012

GROWING MY PLN

 Though obviously dated (we are talking about a blog post from i believe 2010) i choose to comment to http://gallagherseniorhonors.blogspot.com/2008/02/hamlet-study-guide-for-act-11-31.html 
as its blog structure is not only similar to ours but was at one time reviewing Hamlet the same means we are. Here is hoping there's someway someone is alerted to the post and gets back to me :)

My question/post is quoted below:

"Hello my name is Hayden Robel. I am currently a member of Ernest Righetti High school's AP Literature class of 2012. I realize this blog post may be dated and quite possibly abandoned but if anyone happens to somehow be alerted of this post i have a question of my own on Hamlet as we too are reading the Shakespearean works utilizing blogs for our class structure.

In your opinions do you believe there could have ever been a peaceful resolution between Hamlet and Claudius? Could you ever see a scenario in which Hamlet sets aside his vengeance quest and forgives the "uncle king"? Creative alternatives to the Act V climax are encouraged!

Again if anyone happens too see this please feel free to contact me by my blog:

http://hrobelrhsenglitcomp.blogspot.com/

Thanks again!
Hayden Robel"

Selected Sonnet (NOT FINAL! COULD CHANGE!)

"For whom the bells toll"
By John Donne 
 
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

PLN Hamlet

1) http://gallagherseniorhonors.blogspot.com/2008/02/hamlet-study-guide-for-act-11-31.html
 I selected this source due to the fact that it resembles strikingly our own class structure, with genuine student interpretations/analyses. A fellow AP Lit/honors English class utilizing blogs as the mode/medium of conveyance/studying? Hmmm maybe i should get in touch.

2) http://www.apstudynotes.org/english/sample-essays/character-analysis-hamlet/
 An essay constructed by a fellow twelfth grader, not only does it serve as a helpful study resource but so to is it provocative. Tackling existential questions supported by Shakespearean/Hamlet-grounded examples this guy offers a unique perspective to say the least. Not necessarily a AP( though it is from apstudynotes.org) or university offering but a qualified resource all the same if you ask me.

3) http://blogs.monashores.net/bradshawk/files/2010/02/Hamlet-ACT-I-V-Study-Guide.pdf
Treat this as a potential practice quiz to truly test/evaluate your understanding of Hamlet thus far. Presenting AP caliber questions with multifaceted explanation opportunities, i might actually use a few of these as a prep test for the inevitable Hamlet exam. Hopefully ours will be a little easier....please.

4) http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=hamlet-quiz-ap-english-literature-composition
Another quiz to test your Shakespearean, hamlet worth. Not quite as in depth as number three in terms of quantity of questions but delivers quality ones nonetheless. Looks like it passes my own selection test, worth its wait in ham....i tried a pun. Forgive me ill never do it again :(.  

5) http://www.writework.com/essay/shakespeare-s-tragic-hero-hamlet-and-his-sanity-can-arguab
These university essays are quite the works. This essay capitalizes on Shakespeare's crafting of Hamlet as a tragic hero arguing him as one of the first examples of a jeremiad/anti-hero. Dark-black hair (check), broody isolationism(check), glass half-full, parched in a baked stupor, kinda guy (check)....yep Hamlets an anti-hero, if you can call him a hero at all (which the essay argues in-depth too :).