Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hamlet Journal Entries

Entry from Act 1 Scene 1

(1.1.21-39) Focus: Character foreshadowing Hamlet

At the very beginning of Act 1, the guards mention to Horatio that they've seen a ghost. Horatio tells them that it was their "fantasy" or imagination, and is quick to discredit their information. He emphasizes over and over again that "t'will not appear" and that they are being foolish. I think in this way Horatio is foreshadowing the inability to trust in Hamlet's personality. THough the men witness the ghost twice in a row, Horatio still does not believe it until he sees it. Hamlet, therefore, might be very wary of who he places his trust in and who he believes is a credible source for information. Maybe he was betrayed by one whom he trusted, and that caused him to become so unable to trust others.

Entry from Act 2 Scene 2

(2.2.96-150) Focus: Polonius' Character Development

When Polonius tells the King and Queen about Hamlet's letter to Ophelia, he just won't get to the point. They accuse him of "art" or flowery speech (rhetoric), which is indicated by his lengthy introduction to what he's even talking about. This shows the reader that Polonius is unconfident because he feels that he has to act in a way to impress the King and Queen. In this way, Shakespeare characterizes Polonius as someone who wants to impress others and get approval from them. He cannot stand on his own. He needs his flowery diction to hide his insecurities. From what I learned about rhetoric last year, a writer will often disguise their weaknesses in different strategies, such as repitition, like Poloius does when he says " 'tis true, 'tis true, 'tis pity, And pity 'tis true.." He seems to be rambling, but in his mind, he thinks he's sounding intelligent and worthy of speaking to the King.

Entry from Act 2 Scene 2

(2.2.359-419) Focus: Words, Words, Words, along with Polonius

As Hamlet welcomes the players to Elsinore, he refers to the King and Queen as his "uncle-father and aunt-mother." Hamlet is definitely confused and disillusioned by their marriage, as he doesn't know what to call them or what their relationship to him actually is. So, it is evident that Hamlet is really feeling the separation between himself and his 'family.' When Polonius arrives with delayed news that has already happened, Hamlet calls him " a great baby...not yet out of his swaddling clouts." Though this could refer to any baby, the main image in my mind is of the baby Jesus who is typically known to have swaddling clothes. So, Hamlet may be implying that Polonius, despite his royal ties from working for the King, is not accepted by everyone or is looked down upon because he hasn't accomplished anything (like a baby). The allusion to Jephthah is also very interesting, as he must sacrifice his daughter as the result of a vow he made in war. The daugther's wish was to lose her verginity before he did it. So, this relates to Polonius because Hamlet is implying that Ophelia has been with Hamlet and may be lost for a sacrifice. This, to me, is foreshadowing Ophelia's death at the hands of her father.

More to come...

1 comment:

Meaghan S6 said...

These were my best entries from my Hamlet notebook so I decided to type them into my blog. I liked having some guidelines for subjects for dialectical journals but I also enjoyed the freedom of being able to create my own theories and ideas. These were by far my best of the year and truly helped my understanding of Hamlet.