Blooooooogs

koufterrorist writes about a painting that shows Hamlet stabbing Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Oliviology shares a Viking Saying about worrying and stressing about the future

Mariesthoughts97 writes about judging and being foolish

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Women in Hamlet

Shakespeare often uses female characters to make subtle (or not-so-subtle) assertions about the roles assigned to women in their society and the ways  in which they are treated. What does Shakespeare say about women through Gertrude and Ophelia?

What I’ve noticed after reading both Hamlet and Othello, is that Shakespeare puts a strong focus on how  women are treated in society. With Queen Elizabeth, the ruler who “don’t need no man,” I think it was more acceptable to point out the flaws in the relationship between men and women, and I think Shakespeare was trying to show how utterly helpless women were. In the time that he was living and the times of his plays, all women were completely dependent on men.

For Gertrude, some people think that she married Hamlet’s uncle because she wanted to stay queen, while that could have been a factor, I think she wanted to hold onto the very small amount of power she had. She could’ve retired and be the queen mother, but that’s just a nice title. If she were to remain queen, then she was considered a ruler, and had a say over the country and it’s people. She would have legitimate power, because she didn’t have any power over her own life. The only time we ever see her take charge of her own life is when she drinks the poisoned drink (V.ii.318). At first, I didn’t think Gertrude’s death was a suicide, but now I’m starting to accept that idea. As she says “I will,” Gertrude is finally determining her own fate, and I think she did know it was poisoned. No one yells to not drink something unless there’s something wrong with it, and Claudius basically put a large, red stop sign on it. But Gertrude sped right through it.  I think Shakespeare was trying to show how the Gertrude did everything she could, like adultery and suicide, just to have some power over her life.

As for Ophelia, she was completely thrown around by the men in her life. Hamlet just using her because he wanted someone to love him, Polonius and Laertes telling her what to do with her life, and even Claudius using her to get to Hamlet. But she was obedient to all of them. Shakespeare shows Ophelia as the biggest pawn ever, and the result is insanity and death. Like Gertrude, I think Ophelia knew what she was doing when she killed herself. As she’s singing and giving out flowers, each flower had a meaning behind it and she told each person why she was giving it (IV.v.199-209). She knew what she was doing. I think she finally took control of her life, and used it to say what she thought of everyone through the flowers and then kill herself. With Ophelia’s character, Shakespeare showed how women could be so used and manipulated by men, and how that can really devastate them.

Scholarships

While looking and applying for scholarships, I came across this one for slam poetry. It had an article about the Miss America winner in 2013 who was Indian-American, and when she won, she received a lot of criticism over her race and religion. The prompt of the poem was to address the criticism over race and if there should even be beauty pageants. After ferociously writing my poem, I went to submit it just to find out that it wasn’t a prompt for the scholarship… So, since I already wrote it, I just wanted to post it on here.

 

The Melting Pot

You say it’s a place of freedom for people of all color and backgrounds;

 

But the background of every magazine

Has the same 100 pound, willowy white girl

Sprawled on the cover.

 

Sprawled on the cover is the standard of beauty. Pale white bones.

Bones that cause girls to starve and boys to stare.

Yet those bones lie underneath the skin.

 

The skin that’s been tormented by lynch, lash, and sun.

A compilation of pale girls burning their skin to be darker,

And darker girls dying because they weren’t paler.

All reaping the consequences of their skin and body.

 

The body of a girl is important.

Not because it will get her places,

but because it is the holder of her soul.

 

Her soul is strong. In her dark, imperfect skin

Is a woman of determination and integrity. A woman

who is confident in her own strength and dignity.

 

 

 

 

Number 1A

While looking at Jackson Pollock’s Number 1A, I was immediately drawn to the colors. Something about it reminded me of the deep ocean in a storm, as the tempest throws the vast blue water around. I think seeing it in person, and seeing it’s immense size, would only exaggerate my initial reaction, because it would actually show the vastness of the ocean on the painting. However, I could be completely wrong, but I think that’s the point. No one really knows what the painting is trying to say because there is no definitive picture, so everyone can see it and draw their own conclusion about it. It can say so many different things to different people.

And I think that’s what Nancy Sullivan was trying to say, when she wrote:

No name but a number.
Trickles and valleys of paint
Devise this maze
Into a game of Monopoly
Without any bank. Into
A linoleum on the floor
In a dream. Into
Murals inside of the mind.
No similes here. Nothing
But paint. Such purity
Taxes the poem that speaks
Still of something in a place
Or at a time.
How to realize his question
Let alone his answer?

When Sullivan says, “Murals inside of the mind,” she’s talking about how the abstract painting can create other pictures in people’s mind. For me, it was a raging ocean. However, there are “no similes here. Nothing but paint.” I think Sullivan is trying to say that there isn’t some hidden meaning in the paint as it is just “trickles and valleys of paint,” and that no one can really say what the painting is “saying.” Because it’s not saying anything except for what we get from it.

Hamlet Painting

hamlet_maclise

This is Daniel Malice’s painting made in 1842 that depicts the play scene in Hamlet.

Act III, Scene 2

Hamlet: He poisons him i’ the garden for’s estate; his name’s Gonzago. The story is extant, and writ in choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago’s wife.

Ophelia: The King rises.

Hamlet: What, frighten with false fire?

Queen: How fares my lord?

Polonius: Give o’er the play.

King: Give me some light! Away!

All: Lights, lights, lights!

This scene in the play was very pivotal to not only Hamlet’s crusade, but also Claudius’s grip on his throne. Before Hamlet was just a little off and Claudius just happened to take up his brother’s position, but after, Hamlet is certain of his uncle’s schemes and Claudius’s guilt is evident. For Hamlet, he needed to know if his father’s ghost was genuine and true, and after orchestrating this play, he was able to see that the ghost was right. I really liked how Hamlet was not only able to call out his uncle, but also his mother, as the play shows her easily fall in love with her husband’s murderer.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Hamlet’s character, because he seemed really whiney and completely out of touch with reality. However, I really like him whenever he dissed his mom and uncle. His little comments were really funny, and I think it connected to how teens can be today (He’s thirty and acting like a teen…). Especially when he makes the comment of the food for their wedding being left overs from the funeral! And this scene just really showed Hamlet’s awesomeness as he just called out his uncle for being a lying murderer without anyone really knowing.

The Bad Quarto

While reading the infamous, bad quarto of Hamlet, I was surprised that I could easily understand what was going on, and I think that was how I knew that it was different. The translation seemed really easy and simple to understand, and I think that it took away from the eloquence of Shakespeare.

There were the obvious name changes of Polonius and Reynaldo, but that doesn’t really affect the story at all. That whole scene was altered and shortened, because in the translation we read, it’s drawn out with Reynaldo correcting Polonius’s plan. But in the quarto, it’s straight-forward and less complicated, and it seemed less bad. In the original, it seemed really crappy for Polonius to send someone after his son, but in this translation, it didn’t look as bad. It really kind of changes the readers’ perspective of Polonius, because now, we don’t think of him as a two-faced, plotting father, but just a concerned one.

Also, when Rosen(however you spell his name) and Guildstern come, it’s less like they were sent for and more like they just came. I forgot if the quarto even includes the conversation between them and the king and queen, but from what I can remember, it didn’t take place. That really changes the motives behind characters and the secrecy that some have.

Of his understanding
no one should be proud,
but rather in conduct cautious.
When the prudent and taciturn
come to a dwelling,
harm seldom befalls the cautious;
for a firmer friend
no man ever gets
than great sagacity.

One should not be prideful, but humble and collected in nature. Someone who is calm and wise will be successful in a new environment; discernment is a good friend.

Only having four more months until I graduate, I will go to a different city soon and be with completely new people. I’m not really boisterous in nature, so I’m not really concerned with that. However, being in a new environment is going to be really scary, especially without any idea of how it will be. But if I go into college and my new phase of life calmly and cautiously, then I will be safer than if I went into college carelessly. With new people, I should just be kind and myself (which can be hard), but I know that I shouldn’t compromise myself for people who aren’t worth it. There will be plenty of parties and shindigs that I’ll get invited to (well, I may get invited, maybe not), but going to those parties wouldn’t be the best idea. Discernment will help guide me through the not only the next four years of my life, but really for the rest of my life.

There are a lot of characters in literature who bound into new environments with pride and rashness, and all of them suffer because of it. If Odysseus hand’t been so arrogant, then he may could’ve avoided all of that conflict. Although he managed to get through a lot with brute force, his own pride and carelessness got himself into a lot of problems. His fatal flaw kept him winding in and out of struggle, and he only has himself to blame. If he had been more prudent and discerning, he wouldn’t have had to suffer through as much as he did.