Monday, 13 December 2010


The idea of dreams and the merging of reality is a commonly recurring theme throughout Dracula. The character of Jonathon Harker is first to be subjected to this merging of reality and dream like state. On page 41 regarding his encounter with Dracula’s wives he recalls “I suppose I must have fallen asleep...what followed was startlingly real”. This emphasises Jonathon losing touch of what is real and what is fantasy, illustrating the confusion surrounding his lifelike encounters. The character that is most commonly subject to this bizarre illusion is Lucy Westenra. Lucy’s sleepwalking habits demonstrate her everyday life composure with that of a dream like state of mind, one which she is obviously not in control of, demonstrated by her sleepwalking attire. When on the cliff with Mina, Lucy recalls an encounter in a ‘dream like state’, noted by Mina, quoting “His red eyes again they are just the same”. The mixture between the past and the present and the presence of Dracula causing this confusion within her state of mind, almost like a trance, again illustrating the recurring theme of losing control to dreams, and the joining of reality and fantasy. Mina also provokes dream like imagery when trying to run to Lucy, she remarks that her feet are ‘like led’, similarly to what we feel when we try to run in our dreams and holds illusion connotations.

Throughout this idea we notice that Dracula has the ability to corrupt his victims minds, and causes them to fall in to a trance in which he takes advantage of them, and encourages them to act to his demands. On page 104 Mina remarks in regards to Lucy, “and saw that she was in a half dreamy state”, it is obvious that the mysterious ‘dark figure’, Dracula, has provoked this behaviour within Lucy, which strongly links to the nigh time, his domain, in which he is most powerful, which is arguably why he always strikes in the nightime (other than he can’t go out in the daylight). He also controls his victims accordingly, on page 176, Mina quotes “The moment she became conscious, she pressed the garlic flowers close to her...Whenever she got in to that lethargic state she put the flowers from her”, suggesting that Dracula is in control of her actions. Dracula also arguably acknowledges this idea of the night, danger and dreams, just not in an explicit manor. On page 36 he says to Jonathon “Do not sleep in any other parts of the castle... Be warned”. Dracula acknowledges that Harker is vulnerable in the castle during the night, and in turn may encourage him or the reader to believe that with the nigh time comes the recurring theme of dreams and danger, and susceptibility to evil.

It is also noticeable that most of the characters actually have trouble sleeping, and it has a knock on affect on others. Lucy in particular, “I tried to go to sleep but could not, there comes to me the old fear of sleep.” Suggests she is aware how vulnerable she is in the night time also. Due to Dracula keeping him up all night talking, and his creepy encounter with the wives and wolves and such, Harker also has trouble sleeping and becomes nocturnal. He says that his is in ‘nocturnal existence”, and influence which Dracula has on him. Dracula’s affect on Lucy in the night in turn provokes Mina to lose sleep of keeping her safe, and also the other characters who keep guard over Lucy in the night.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Notes on Chapter 8 and recurring themes

There is an immediate sense of characterisation in chapter 8 with regards to Mina. Her character connotes a strong sense of innocence, when she remarks “I am so happy” and also the way in which she often uses words such as ‘sweet’ to describe people and places, for example Lucy when she’s sleeping, and the Inn. She also uses the phrase “bless them” which could arguably illustrate a very forgiving temperament to her character. When fearing what has happened to Lucy Mina remarks “A vague overmasking fear...obscures all detail”, a reluctance to express her fear of what may have happened to Lucy such as rape, emphasises Mina’s innocence. Mina also refuses to show even her feet in public and resorts to covering them with mud on the walk home in case they should encounter anyone. Lucy is described to have ‘the obedience of a child’, making her seem very vulnerable.

However we go from a sense of innocence to that of fear. Note also that the fearful setting is almost always darkness, Dracula’s domain, creating a more ominous atmosphere. There is also the church setting which could imply marital imagery. This along with the descriptions of Lucy as a ‘white figure’, suggests a wedding dress and purity (pure – being a virgin – sex before marriage is when you are seen as un clean). The ruined abbey could implicate some sort of corrupted marriage ceremony, Dracula; the man in black, as the groom. --- This then links also to Lucy’s later state when she is laid in bed ‘heavily breathing’ and she moans. This could imply that she is recovering from a sexual act as she expresses that of being in exertion. There is also “A drop of blood on her night dress” which could link to her being ‘de-virginised’, as one would often be on their honeymoon - Supports the idea of the heavy marital imagery in chapter 8.

There is arguable sexual imagery. Some consider the exchange of the bodily fluids to be very sexual creating an undertone within the chapter. Could argue that cliff tops are a romantic setting, she is also only wearing a nightdress which for that time would have been frowned upon and very abnormal behaviour. The idea of her being in a dream like state throughout this exchange of bodily fluids may also relate to the idea of corruption within innocent characters such as Lucy and Mina and possibly erotic dreams and fantasy.

Narrative irony is very strong within this chapter along with idea of reality being merged with dreams. When looking at Lucy’s bleeding throat Mina notes a “piercing of the throat”, yet naively believe it was her who caused the wound. We know as the reader that Lucy has been victimised by Dracula. ‘A dark seated figure’ which the reader knows to be Dracula seems to have a power over Lucy, whereby he can control her state of reality. He seems to provoke a dream like state within his victims, which also links to his domain of the night. As Lucy is in this state she remarks, “His red eyes again, they are just the same”, narrative irony as we know it is Dracula, yet Mina believes it is the way the sun is reflecting of the figures eyes, also the recurring theme of the merging of her state of mind with her previous dreams and the present. There is also the idea of Mina describing her ‘feet being like led’ which suggests her reality merging with a dream like state, as it is similar to when you try to run in a dream but cannot move.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Goth notes

Gothic literature is marked by characteristic place settings and personality types that strive to lead to a sense of horror or despair.
Gothic atmosphere
Lovecraft claims ‘An appropriate atmosphere is absolutely essential to the Gothic mode’.

Building settings- A typical gothic story is set in and around a caste, graveyard, cave, convent, monastery, church, cathedral, chapel or dungeon. The building possesses the occupants or holds them in bondage – Marshall Tymn. The idea of a secluded place is an ongoing theme.
Natural settings- Secluded places in general, mountain ranges, wild forests etc.
Architectural paraphernalia such as towers, trapdoors, mysterious corridors, rust, hinges, creaking, tunnels, dim lights, flickering candles, burial vaults, suits of armour, prophecies, ghosts, chains, portraits, fluttering bats, storms, lightning and fast billowing winds all serve towards trapping their helpless victims and creating a gothic atmosphere. They add to the aura of terror and mystery that define a gothic genre.
Gothic notes
There is often an intermingling of terror and beauty. ( as seen with Dracula’s wives ) and this is often a common theme when it comes to vampires.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Erm.. our lesson.. on erm metaphors

If Dracula was a flower, he would be a red rose. Sharp imagery, pricks the skin, the deep colour red representing his thirst for blood.

If Dracula was an item of stationary he would be a whole punch. Whole punches hold penetrative imagery similar to Dracula.


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A load of dodge on Victorian Morality, Religion and description.

Notations on Victorian Morality, Religion and Description.

Victorian Morality – A set of values linked with sexual restraint, low tolerance of crime and social ethics – Dracula links well with the ideas of sexual restraint, for example when Harker restrains himself away from the sexual temptations from Dracula’s wives. Dracula, arguably a sexual predator – (linking back to the ideas of Freud), the exchange of bodily fluids (blood in Dracula’s case), the idea of penetration from one personal to another (from the fangs).

Tolerance of crime – The lack of tolerance the team has to allow Dracula to commit such crimes. The idea that they all work together in order to bring Dracula down, putting their own lives at risk.

The idea of British society clashing with Dracula’s culture in Transylvania - (with the suggestion of lower class gypsies etc. Being used) During the Victorian morality there is the idea of dignity and restraint in Victorian society, but underneath there is the contrast of child labour and prostitution. This links to Dracula and his hierarchy nature as a ‘Count’, but his underlying animalistic temperament.

Religion morality – The idea that the Church’s power was more prominent in rural areas rather than industrial ones. Linking to Dracula, the inner city provided less danger from the church (out of fear of crosses and being hunted etc), the inner city may be a safe environment for him. Dracula may also favour it due to the larger population. (If he kills someone they are more likely to go un-missed, targets are easier, more choice, more places to hide etc.)

There is also further emphasis on the ‘crisis of faith’ – Religion being undermined by Charles Darwin’s natural selection theory, uprooting people’s belief systems. Stoker could arguably be combating this – As Dracula’s downfall is due to people belief, however this could be ironic as he is writing a fictional novel consisting of vampires and strong elements of the supernatural.

Description - The idea of ‘proper’ reference use in Literature. The sexual restraint theme again emerges. We must use the word ‘limb’ as opposed to ‘leg’. (However arguably contradicted by Queen Victoria’s erotic artistic collections and her indulgence in eroticism exchanged with her husband. Seems to be a facade. Links once again to Dracula – his dignified character on the outside, very formal and controlled. Demonstrated through his use of formal language, “Enter freely and of your own will”. Yet his animalistic qualities are beneath this.

The idea of homosexuality in Britain being considered as a sin in religion. This could be linked to the idea of un restrained sexuality in Dracula – as Dracula feeds on men as well as women, links to the idea of a man penetrating a man.


Monday, 15 November 2010

I am a vampire

How Dracula is presented in chapter 3

Dracula, from the very beginning is undoubtedly seen in a very disturbing light, illustrated from Harker’s immediate attention paid to his appearance. He is dressed head to toe in ‘black’ would could illustrate a dark element to his character, the colour black is also associated with the idea of death, mourning and the gothic. He radiates the idea of the supernatural from the moment Harker notices his strength, “I could not help but notice his prestigious a steel vice that could have crushed mine if it had chosen”, not only does this emphasise the idea of the Count’s abnormal strength but also arguably foreshadows his evil nature when Harker notices how Dracula could “crush” him if he had chosen to. We must also note that the idea of a man of Dracula’s age accompanied with mighty strength he seems to posses also emphasises his abnormal qualities. Harker also remarks “More like the hand of a dead than a living man”, provoking suspicions towards the reader, also associated with the idea of vampires, teamed with the teeth and the ‘aquiline features’ and his pale complexion, all contribute to the idea of the supernatural and a strong resemblance to that of a vampire.

Harker describes him as having very marked ‘physiognomy’. This would imply that the reader can judge Dracula’s temperament and character through the following descriptions of his facial features. Harker describes Dracula as having very animalistic features, such as ‘bushy hair that curled in its own profusion’ accompanied with ‘particularly sharp white teeth that protruded over the lip’ and ‘extremely pointed ears’, this animalistic imagery could arguably provoke a sense of danger within Dracula’s inner nature, and perhaps a unpredictable state of mind as well as representing the idea of a threat. His eyebrows make him appear very foreign, as Harker notes ‘Eyebrows were very massive’. This could emphasise his abnormality, depicting him as different from everybody else. His ‘Heavy moustache’ also complies with the idea of him being of a foreign nature. His mouth is described as being ‘fixed and rather cruel looking’, suggesting he holds sadistic features and also emits a strong demonic nature. Overall, I think it’s fair to say, DRACULA IS OBVIOUSLY AN EVIL VAMPIRE.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Im not a psychologist

And I don't know anything about dreams!!!
Sorry :s

Sunday, 7 November 2010

How does Stoker help us to suspend our disbelief in chapter one of Dracula?

How does stoker help us to suspend disbelief in chapter one of Dracula?

The novel commences in a non-fictional tone, taking the format of a typical journal. This particular format is often associated with an individual’s reality and truth of their day to day activities, creating the illusion of reality directly through the configuration Stoker uses. Not only is it a journal, it is also technical and specific as demonstrated on page one, “Munich at 8.35 p.m on the 1st of May”, which in addition emphasises the illusion of reality. There is further emphasis on every life during Jonathon Harker’s daily description, in which he describes his environment and journey specifically along with the meals he ate and his enjoyment, “ I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red peppers”. These are experiences to which the reader can relate to, creating the appearance of verisimilitude, accompanied with existing places which are brought in to context such as “London”, “the British museum” and “Transylvania”. The fact that the reader cannot deny that these places exist creates a factual illusion of authenticity which inevitably suspends the disbelief arguably appears towards the end of chapter one.

Harker’s disbelief is also used in order to suspend our disbelief. He uses the phrase “I read that every know superstition”, which allows the reader to not to believe its unbelievable. Even when fear is introduced by the wariness of those surrounding him, Harker’s attitude is somewhat comforting to the reader and allows further disbelief to be applied when he himself uses the expression “very ridiculous”, on page five. He allows the reader the opportunity to disregard the abnormal behaviour existing around him in order for us to continue suspending our doubt.

However we must note that the journal format may not be all together reliable, as we are entrusted only with the re-counted events that Jonathon Harker experiences. The reader may be wary of exaggeration and miss-told experiences, as well as memory loss and his tired state of mind from all his travels, which may influence what he interprets to be real.

Enter Dracula, and begin..

A few key notations on vampires

Vampires are known to be mythological creatures. They are associated with drinking the blood of humans in order to subsist, and are similarly associated with the fangs to which they use to drink the blood from the neck of their victims. Vampires are also associated with mystery, evil, supernatural abilities (such as super human strength and heightened sense of smell and hearing, super speed and super human agility.)

It is claimed by Brian Frost that the ‘belief’ in vampires and such like may date back to even pre historic times. The most well known tale on vampires is Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ – Although now it may be twilight, you never know.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

How Faustus can be seen as a Gothic text

How Faustus can be seen as a gothic text.

First when approaching this question it would make sense to assess Faustus as a gothic protagonist. We expect a tragic hero to have a high status. Faustus beginning with ‘base of stock’ has seemingly created his personal hierarchy. He is now ‘graced with doctor’s name’ and he dines alongside ‘noblemen’. The gothic protagonist must also possess the standard hero qualities we as an audience aspect, such as a hubris and a dramatic downfall. This is also usually linked with a fixation of some kind, in Faustus’ case; magic. It could be argued that his obsession with magic and his thirst for power endeavours him to conjure Mephistopheles and indulge in necromancy, in order to try and become omnipotent, however the selling of his soul inevitably ends up with him being dragged in to the realm of hell, as promised, by Mephistopheles and Lucifer. We expect our gothic protagonist to have a sinister element or as others may argue a slight touch of evil, which Faustus portrays in his joy at creating havoc amongst the pope and his men and with torturing the Old man, as seen on page 179, ‘they menace the old man’. His obsession with magic and his strive for control also illustrates this. However a gothic protagonist is also usually associated with some form of intimidating appearance, which is where Faustus is lacking. However Faustus is noticeably set up as a typically dodgy, gothic protagonist in the beginning of the novel, where he begins by talking in third person, “Settle thy studies, Faustus, and begin.” His irrational, objective and analytical personality set up the ongoing slope towards his tragic downfall.

A concept of the demonic which is largely featured throughout Faustus is religion. Interestingly the belief that Satan is in Hell has its roots in Christian literature rather than in the bible. The Bible states that he still roams heaven and Earth. This would relate to Mephistopheles, and the way he walks amongst Faustus and the humans on the Earth, and describes heaven as being all around, page 147, ‘Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it’. Faustus has also studied religion and has excelled in it, but rejects developing it further, and refers to ‘Jerome’, the founder figure of the bible who translated the bible in to Latin and joined it all together. Faustus rejects the study of God, arguably mocking it with his breezy tone and his quote ‘che sera sera’. This could take emphasis off the importance of religion as Faustus seems not to value it, which could also make it less intimidating towards the audience making it less of a tragic text. However religion is an ongoing theme throughout, with many references to God, when the Old man see’s Angels, the features of Lucifer and all the devils are religion themes, and the idea of heaven and hell teamed with Faustus’ damnation. However Marlow himself has been accused of being an Atheist, and if this is true then it casts a great deal of doubt on his in his ability to moralize from a Christian stance.

Gothic texts also usually include supernatural elements. White and black magic is featured within Faustus. Black magic is seen by some to be the practice of an evil practice which uses nature but with the invocation of demons, which is the magic which Marlowe uses in his great work Faustus. The use of necromancy on it’s own reveals a crucial element of the supernatural on it’s own, accompanied by the devils, angels and magical practices such as turning invisible, all of which are featured in Faustus, surrounding him, making the novel seem highly dramatic and supporting the Gothic genre.

Another element of the Gothic is it’s ability to induce fear upon the audience. Hell is largely used in order to do this. When Faustus see’s Lucifer for the first time he quotes on page 159, ‘who art thou that look’st so terrible?’ The idea of a negative and surprising appearance is intimidating to the audience, as it is normally associated with the gothic protagonist and is very threatening. Mephistopheles also reacts to hell with a very daunting attitude. On page 147 he says ‘tormented with ten thousand hells’, the quote ‘ten thousand hells’ holds great emphasis on the suffering Mephistopheles associates with hell, making the idea seem unapproachable to the audience and very frightening. However Faustus and his nonchalant attitude towards hell contradict this fear, which is usually displayed in gothic texts. He believes ‘hell’s a fable’ and disregards Mephistopheles ongoing warnings. Although the audience may see Faustus as naive his upmost ignorance towards hell slightly deflates the intense fear surrounding the idea of hell.

Another element which undermines Faustus as a gothic text is the use of the clown like characters’ Robin and Raef. Their lack of fear and utter unawareness radiates a sense of implausibility and security for the audience. When turned in to animals they Robin reacts with ‘Thy head will never be out of the pottage pot’, on page 167. Raef similarly reactes with ‘And I must be a dog’. Their careless attitudes and lack of intelligence provide comedy, an aspect which is not traditionally associated with the gothic genre. Similarly Faustus displays a clown like aspect to his personality unexpectedly. His mockery of the pope and his childish behaviour also have an impact on how serious the audience may then take the play, undermining the fear factor and arguably demoting the gothic aspect of the text.

However another supporting theme in Faustus is the negative portrayal that lies within sides of human nature, a theme which is commonly associated with gothic literature. In Othello we see him as a hero, a strong, devoted, loyal and powerful leader, however the evil side is brought out in his jealous nature which leads to his sinful murderous acts. Faustus displays negative human traits such as arrogance and his hunger for power. Although his motivation may be seen in a positive light he seeks no good with his ambitions, only to gain omnipotence. His power thirsty side is shown on page 141, when Faustus remarks ‘All things that move between the quiet poles shall be at my command’ and ‘of power, of honour, of omnipotence’. This attitude is a common theme associated with the typical evil character, and a modern audience would immediately associate this with iconic characters from films that strive to ‘take over the world’.

Overall Marlowe’s Faustus contains many recurring themes, all of which support the idea that it can be seen as a Gothic text, in particular the idea of the supernatural and the ongoing references to religion and all things associated with it such as hell and God. There are however certain things which could arguably lighten the mood, but mainly Faustus is seen as a sinful tale, portrayed in a gothic light.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Monday, 18 October 2010

from today's lesson I can conclude

That I cannot write a decent essay in the exam time unless I put in a serious amount of practice,

and my writing gets worse and worse with every sentence.


Thursday, 14 October 2010

White magic vs Black magic

I think the most interesting point from my section is what black magic is seen as from different point of views etc. - Looking at it in more detail.

It states in the Faustus notes that “Black magic also used nature but included the invocation of demons. This was the magic that Dr. Faustus used in Marlowe’s great work. Black magic, or witchcraft, implied the use of supernatural powers for a wicked purpose.”

In more detail black magic is the belief of practices of magic that draws on assumed malevolent powers. This type of magic is summoned when wishing to kill, steal, injure, cause misfortune or destruction, or for a personal gain without regard to harmful consequences to others.

‘black magic’ the term is usually used by those who do not approve of its uses.

Some argue that ‘black magic’ doesn’t necessarily have malevolent intentions all the time, as some consider it to have beneficial aspects, (For example killing deceases or pests.)

In fiction black magic quite frequently will be identified with evil, such as J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter, which reference to the ‘study of the dark arts’ etc.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

act 4 notes

The Emperor links back to ac t 1 – we see that Faustus is taking orders from the Emperor, yet in act 1 but he quoted “Nor can they raise the wind or rend the clouds; “ – he wanted to be better than them, to be ‘god like’ so we now again see that Faustus will not succeed in his ambitions.

The structure is a little odd. It begins with the Emperor talking in prose but quickly changes. Perhaps reflecting how the Emperor is talking to him, in a more personal manner to begin with? More intimate?

The knight enters. A seemingly sceptical character – “I’faith, that’s just nothing at all”

Faustus then conjures up FAKE spirits. More emphasis on his inability to achieve his goals.

Mephistopheles has an unexpected humane response to the horse courser. “I pray you, let him have him”, the word ‘pray’ also has religious connotations which is quite contradictory as Mephistopheles is a devil?

More slap stick when the leg is pulled off. “Oh my leg, my leg! Help!”


Act 4 - chorus notes

The chorus

The chorus begins in past tense – this could be to show that a large amount of time has passed, which emphasises Faustus’ time running out (as he only has 24 years on Earth)

We get the idea that Faustus has actually gained something from his indulgence in to magic. “such learned skill” and “they admired and wondered his wit”. This makes Faustus seem a lot more eligible than act 3, when he was compared to mere clowns and demoted to playing childish tricks. The chorus then changes to present tense “Now in his fame spread forth in every land”, implying Faustus is now very well known. “Faustus is feasted ‘mongst his noblemen”, noblemen are people who have high status, this could link back to the gothic as he is seemingly creating his high status from ‘base of stock’, is seems he is ascending the ladder surrounded amongst noblemen with high ranking. Could possibly be a threat to the hierarchy? Is he now more of a tragic hero? Is he setting himself up for a fall? He is now more of a gothic character.l

Thursday, 7 October 2010

part 2

Faustus responds to this in a very cynical manner, dismissing the idea of hell, “Come I think hell is just a fable.” This could come across as naive, as Faustus is being told this by a devil himself, so not to believe him when he claims it is where he is from is arguably arrogant. Faustus thinks he knows better than a devil. However, the arrival of Lucifer seemingly turns Faustus’ atheist perspective upside down. Faustus remarks “That sight will be pleasing unto me as paradise was to Adam the first day of his creation”. This appears to be an extended oxymoron and offers sadistic features to Faustus’ personality. The fact that he will find hell as pleasing as heaven was to Adam seems very masochistic in reference to Mephistopheles and his first hand experience of hell, and his painful descriptions which emphasise the negativity that comes with it. The protestant audience would have be very opinionated on hell at the time, whereas Faustus’ opinion seems to fluctuate constantly, suggesting he has very little idea of what hell is like, and is very arrogant as to disregard the outlook of Mephistopheles. He also quotes “This word ‘damnation’ terrifies not me, For I confound hell in Elysium”. He seems to hold the view that hell is merely the happy abode of the dead, the ‘elysium’ of classical literature. This courage shown here is not the bravado of the ignorant, but the recklessness of his over educated mind, which is a characteristic Faustus portrays throughout.
Overall Marlowe presents hell in a contradictory manner, and makes it very difficult for a reader from the modern day to decide upon what hell resounds of. The fact that Faustus and Mephistopheles contradict themselves never mind each other also makes it more difficult.

How does Marlowe present the ideas of hell in Dr Faustus?

In doctor Faustus the representation of hell is shown to the audience through the contrasting opinions of Faustus and Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles presents hell from the perspective of someone who has been there himself. Faustus asks ‘Where are you damned?’ to which Mephistopheles replies ‘In hell’, suggesting his first hand experience so his opinion could be valid, however the audience is aware that he is a devil, and devils hold untrustworthy traits and usually resort to trickery. Mephistopheles introduces hell to Faustus in a very negative way. He makes it seem frightening and evil when he remarks, “Where we are tortured and remain forever”. Mephistopheles is a devil, so we assume that he is fearless and invincible, as a devil is seen as a supernatural being, yet the fact that he appears to fear hell creates an overwhelming sense of fear and a more intimidating outlook on hell for the audience. Mephistopheles explains that he is ‘damned’, suggesting eternal torture and pain. However he remains elusive as to the location of hell. He remarks, ‘now in hell’ and ‘Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it...In being deprived of everlasting bliss”. This suggests that Mephistopheles is always in hell, because he is always deprived of eternal bliss. Yet the location of hell still remains quite unclear, as his answer resides around his own situation and isn’t very specific. Mephistopheles also remarks “Hell hath no limits... for where we are is hell”. Here he suggests that Hell is not a physical setting, but more of one that engulfs all that are damned. He says “and where hell is, we must ever be”, suggesting he is damned for eternity in hell, connoting a sense of entrapment and representing impending pain and suffering. This makes hell seem immoral and fearful.

However he contradicts himself later on when he remarks that hell is, “anywhere under the heavens”, insinuating that hell does have a limit, and suggesting that limit is anywhere but heaven, implying that it is Earth that he resides in hell. It seems as if the conditions of being damned involve a big element of the deprivation of eternal bliss. Mephistopheles portrays hell as everything but heaven, with remarks such as “deprived of everlasting bliss”.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Faustus notes act 3 scene 1

I note first of all that act 3 is a very disappointing scene in light of Faustus and his expectations.

The act begins with blank verse, which usually connotes high status, a sense of being noble and intelligence. Faustus still sounds controlled and proper.

It then becomes apparent that Faustus is becoming more dependant on Mephistopheles. “But tell me now, what resting place is this?” It seems that Faustus is being taken wherever Mephistopheles wants to go, so he is not in control. “Conducted me within the walls of Rome?” This also indicates that Faustus is not in control. He doesn’t appear to know where he is, which implies he is quite vulnerable, whereas Mephistopheles is taking charge.

Mephistopheles lowers the tone by speaking in prose. “Faustus, I have. And because we will be un provided, I have taken up his holiness’ privy chamber for our use.” He is losing the high ideal of what Faustus wants to do. This also seems to be a big ant-climax, for Faustus in particular. Instead of seeing all the wonderful things he was hoping to see and visit, he is visiting the pope to have a laugh.

Then Faustus plays about with the pope in his chamber, in a childish manner. Everytime the pope goes to eat something or drink something, Faustus steels it away. (this would be very amusing for the protestant audience as they don’t like the pope, on stage it is seemingly devils playing with devils, as they nickname the pope)

We now begin to get the feeling that Faustus dream is not going to be fulfilled. Not only had the scene had a huge anti-climax on visiting all these wonderful places, but we don’t actually get the feeling that Faustus has any sort of control on whether he gets to or not, which is quite worrying.

Everything that Faustus wanted to achieve has been taken down to a slapstick level. Faustus wanted to move the river Rhine, now it is simply “maine fall into Rhine”, he wanted to control everything between the north and south poles, now he is simply mocking the pope? We also see a childish behaviour in Faustus which we would not expect to see. “How? Bell, book, and candle, candle, book, and bell?” His use of childish mockery emphasises his sudden change in character and status. It also shows how Mephistopheles has managed to lower Faustus’ ambitions to mere games.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Faustus, a tragic hero?

His hubris- Could be his ambition & his pride. (similar to the tale of Iccarus, who flew too close to the sun because he pushed it too far) "All things that move between the quiet poles shall be at my command".
His hubris could also be his arrogance - "Too servile and illiberal for me", He rejects well thought of professions, as well as rejecting influential huge names such as Aristotle, Galen, Justinian and Jerome. In doing so he pushes himself in to a trap..?

He has creates his own high status. It begins with 'his parents base of stock', which implies a very basic standard of living, but Faustus has created his own heir achy, 'graced with doctors name'.

Something tragic has happened to him, not only has he lost his soul, but he is being denied salvation, which is seemingly quite tragic. Mephistopheles has deprived him of heaven, and to the religious audience this would seem increasingly bad.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Little Devil

The Devil (Greek: διάβολος or diávolos = 'slanderer' or 'accuser'[1]) is believed in certain religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The Devil is commonly associated with heretics, infidels, and other unbelievers. The Abrahamic religions have variously regarded the Devil as a rebellious fallen angel or demon that tempts humans to sin or commitevil deeds. Others regard the Devil as an allegory that represents a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment.

In mainstream Christianity, God and the Devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans, with the Devil seeking to lure people away from God and into Hell. The Devil commands a force of evil angels, commonly known as demons.[2] The Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) describes the Adversary (Ha-satan) as an angel who instigates tests upon humankind.[3][4] Many other religions have a trickster or tempter figure that is similar to the Devil. Modern conceptions of the Devil include the concept that it symbolizes humans' own lower nature or sinfulness.

mr francis

it will no longer let me blog

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Opening pages to Dr Faustus - 'Enter Faustus in his study'

'Settle thy studies Faustus and begin' - 'Settle thy studies', implies that Faustus is trying to rationalise what he wants to do, what he wants to study.
The fact that he is talking in 3rd person shows he's trying to view himself objectively and be rational, offering a pensive element to his character, also suggesting he's quite analytical.

Faustus begins by considering Astronomy but rejects it, despite admitting to enjoying the work of Aristotle, he asks himself 'Is to dispute well logic's cheifest end?' Is it just to win arguments? Is the miracle just being able to argue? He dismisses this subject, confident he can argue well.

He then considers medicine. He refers to Galen, an influential Greek physician. The biggest authority of medicine in the middle ages, yet he rejects being a doctor, saying you can achieve so much but at the end of the day you cannot bring some one back to life, you are still only a man. 'Yet art thou still but Faustus'.

He then moves on to Law, referring to the work of Justinian, another founder of thought associated with the profession. He rejects this though, as he seems to think it is nothing worth doing. 'His study fits a mercenary drudge'. So he rejects law for being servile.


He then moves on to consider religion, using this time the influential name 'Jerome', the one who translated the bible into Latin and put it all together.
He goes on to say that if we say we haven't sinned, we are deceiving ourselves therefore we die, however if we sin, we die, there is an inevitability. He rejects the study of God, believing it is below him, and almost mocks it when he says 'che sera sera'.

He then turns to magic. 'He picks up a book of magic'.
'Of power, of honour, of omnipotence' - This links to expectations of our gothic protagonist. The power hungry and high status elements which also tie in with the sadistic features.
He wants everything at his command, 'All things that move between the quiet poles Shall be at my command'.

so it seems he is being massively Blasphemous, Marlow is depicting Faustus as a bad character to the audience.

Protagonist&Prologue - Dr Faustus

What we expect from our gothic protagonist:
A touch of evil, sinister traits,
A high ranking, a title, high social status/class
quite often male
Have an element of mystery, and of the supernatural, unknown elements,
Intimidating appearance, often beast-like, commonly linked to animals (in the way they talk for example growling.)


Begins with the phrase 'not' - negative first word.
The next 5 lines imply that the following novel will not revolve around love, fighting, action etc. They will simply revolve around Faustus 'fortunes, good or bad.'

It tells us Faustus' parents were 'base of stock', implying he grew up with a very basic standard of living - which contradicts the expectations of gothic protagonist.

It informs us of Faustus' intelligence, it says 'Of riper years to Wittenberg he went', Wittenburg being the highest ranking place to study in Germany. Also 'graced with doctor's name'.

'So soon he profits in divinity' - He does extremely well in the study of God. (which later contradicts what he says in the first chapter in his study, when he rejects the study of religion)

It then implies he gets too big for his boots, 'His waxen wings did mount above his reach', which is in reference to the tale of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun with his wings and they melted and they fell.

'falling to a devilish exercise' - the devils trick

'necromancy' - calling upon the dead

and then it seems 'sweet as magic is to him' - he turns to magic.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

MAUS - Character representation notes


· The Jews are represented by Mice

· Germans are represented by Cats

· Polish are represented by pigs

· Americans are represented by dogs

· French are represented by frogs

· Swedish are represented by reindeer

· British are represented by fish

· Roma (gypsies) are represented by gypsy moths

It could be argued that the Jews are portrayed as Mice in a satirical fashion, to depict the Nazi’s portrayal of Jews as vermin. However there’s also the fact that Spiegelman’s girlfriend seemingly chose the ‘mouse’ character to depict her.

With the exception of the Americans (dogs), the animal characters are all drawn alike. For instance, most of the Jewish mice resemble each other regardless of sex or age. Clothing and other details are used in order to tell them apart: Spiegelman himself, for instance, is always wearing a white shirt and a black sleeveless over shirt; his French wife, Françoise (herself portrayed as a mouse, because she converted to Judaism), wears a striped t-shirt. When travelling clandestinely in Nazi-occupied areas, the Jews wear pig masks to disguise themselves.

Spiegelman explained that he chose pigs to represent the Polish because of their resemblance to American cartoon characters such as miss piggy and porky pig, as many times in Maus, the Poles are very selfish and don’t want anything to do with the Jews.

The use of animals may also be used in order to detach the reader from reality. This may have been done to appeal to a younger generation of readers, despite it being a story of survival and death during the Holocaust. But instead of fully detaching the reader from the book, Spiegelman shows a human aspect by illustrating how his father tells his story and by showing the emotions and relationships of the characters throughout.

Friday, 7 May 2010

FINAL HAMLET COURSEWORK. - sorry sir couldnt print it off but will hand you in a hard copy on Monday

To what extent does Hamlet meet the expectations of a traditional tragic hero?
The term ‘tragic hero’ dates back to ancient Greek literature. The traditional tragic hero, especially one such as Hamlet, can often be debated to whether they were in fact ‘heroic’ enough to meet the standards we expect from a tragic character such as him. According to Aristotle a tragic hero should be of noble stature, in Hamlet’s case a prince. Secondly, a tragic hero should be far from perfect and should possess a tragic flaw, also known as the hubris, which will inevitably lead to the characters downfall, the harmartia. Finally, the hero gains an aspect of self awareness which enables them to understand that their doom and their fate was a result of their own actions and they willingly accept this. Since the time of Shakespeare, the flaw of a tragic hero has generally been regarded to result in the hero’s death, or in fact a fate worse than death. However, to the audience, the suffering of the hero is meaningful because although their suffering is a result of their individual actions, it may not be fully deserved. In this essay will be discussing how Hamlet meets and fails to meet the expectations of a traditional tragic hero, taking in to account his characteristics, his hubris and other characters which provoke and clarify Hamlets traits, such as Laertes and Claudius.
I would argue that one aspect of Hamlet’s character which does not fulfil the expectation of a traditional tragic hero is cowardice and his inability to commit his act of revenge. Despite his adamant feelings towards avenging his father, who he believed was murdered by the new King; Hamlet takes so long to do anything about it that his cowardice, which prevents him from making a move, in fact results in becoming one of the factors which lead to his downfall. Therefore, it could be argued that his inability to take action could be his hubris. It already appears to the audience as if Hamlet is a weak character, and had acquired a coward’s way of thinking. In Act one Scene two, he says “or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon gainst self-slaughter.” This implies that he wishes ‘self slaughter’ was not a sin, and that his belief in God, the ‘Everlasting’ is holding him back from escaping everything and taking his own life. It could be argued that the act of suicide shows the audience his weak side, as taking your own life is considered to be a coward’s way out. It could also exploit his cowardice in relation to his weak state of mind and his inability to get over his father’s death. However, it could also be argued that his cowardice resides in the form of lying to himself, or perhaps just the audience. He uses his religion to cower behind, making excuses which encourage him to stay alive as if the ‘Everlasting’ would disapprove. This could also demonstrate a powerlessness within him that prevents him from making decisions for himself, linking back to his inability to commit his act of revenge which leads to his downfall. In Hamlets ‘to be or not to be’ speech, in Act three Scene one, he uses he refers back to the afterlife again. “No traveller returns, puzzles the will...Thus conscience does make cowards of us all”. Hamlet seems to have conveniently forgotten about his father’s ghost when he refers to no one ever returning from the dead “no traveller returns”, this could indicate his weakness, to the audience it would also appear as if Hamlet is making excuses for himself, ignoring the reality of his situation. It seems he tries to reassure himself and validate his actions by saying “conscience does make cowards of us all”, arguing that the only reason we bare the horrible things in life is because we are afraid of what comes after death. He uses personal pronouns such as ‘us’ to imply everyone acts the way he does. This reassurance of himself again indicates a significant weakness in Hamlet and his insecurities. It could be said that according to Aristotle’s theory Hamlet is still fulfilling the tragic hero role, as this along with other things could be his weakness.
Hamlet’s hubris could also be argued to be his lack of actions. However, what makes this so significant is the fact that Hamlet acknowledges this himself and knowingly dislikes himself for it. In Act two Scene two, Hamlet says “Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave, That I, the son of a dear father murdered, Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, Must like a whore unpack my heart with words.” Hamlet expressed his hatred for himself, referring to himself as an ‘ass’ and a ‘whore’, the lowest type of a woman, emphasising his self pity. He says ‘Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell”, demonstrates Hamlet’s awareness of his lack of action and he emphasises the importance by using ‘heaven and hell’ to refer to his prompters’, which could also refer to his dad, which to the audience would suggest Hamlet is aware he should be doing something, yet is still cowering behind his insecurities. He suggests he is a man of only words, “unpack my heart with words”. This could refer back to Aristotle’s theory and could seem momentous as someone of such noble stature such as Hamlet, should not be considered to be so untraditional of a man and to possess only ‘words’, not courage and action. This could arguably imply Hamlet is not worthy of the high status of which he is labelled, therefore creating a lack of fulfilment of the tragic hero status. In Gertrude and Hamlet’s Act three Scene four it is debateable to whether Gertrude recognises these traits within her son and in turn believes he is not worthy or ready to be the King of Denmark thus providing her with an excuse of such a hasty marriage to Claudius. Gertrude says “alas, he’s mad.” This suggests Gertrude has no faith in her son, and believes him to be ‘mad’ which has only negative connotations. She also says “O gentle son”, which could suggest she is just as aware of Hamlet’s un-manly nature as the audience is. This cowardly nature we witness within Hamlet through the eyes of his mother and the audience does not meet the expectations of a traditional tragic hero, if not quite the opposite.
However, it could appear as though Hamlet never intended on taking action against the King Claudius. Hamlet holds very strong opinions to his mother’s hasty second marriage which has provoked hatred towards the King. He says “oh much wicked speed to post” and “With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” This illustrates his frustration and anger towards his mother and her ‘wicked speed’ to re-marrying. He also meets his father’s ghost who in time appears to confirm his suspicions about his uncle and his poisoning of the King Hamlet. To the audience this would seem to be a perfect combination of events that would encourage great motivation and emotional hatred to take hasty action and almost urgently suppress those feelings by taking revenge. However Hamlet seems to have a different approach and says, “that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge”. This appears quite odd and the comparisons Hamlet makes seem to cancel each other out. The words ‘meditation’, ‘love’ and ‘sweep’ all hold connotations of tranquillity and composure. These words make Hamlets threat of ‘revenge’ seem pathetic and unbalanced, as well as highly unlikely. Neither the words used in this quote nor the overall sentence seem to be an obvious analogue for brutal or remotely decisive action. This could arguably prevent us from holding a grudge against Hamlet for his inability to take action, as he seems to be quite confused within his own mind and could be so quite possibly insane that in fact whilst toying over the wholly appealing idea of avenging his father, he has no such intensions whatsoever. This self doubt that Hamlet seemingly expresses could appear to be another characteristic a traditional tragic hero would not ordinarily possess. Yet, according to Aristotle it could be said that Hamlet’s hubris is his self doubt, implying that Hamlet would more or less be an example of a confused tragic hero, whose hubris does lead to his tragic downfall.
Another factor that contributes significantly to Hamlet not appearing as much of a tragic hero is the direct contrast the audience is exposed to between Hamlet and Laertes. Laertes seems to possess characteristics of which Hamlet is lacking, and is seen as a more favourable traditional tragic hero. These are mainly courage and confidence, and the ability he has to take immediate action against Hamlet. Laertes displays this when he instantly takes action after being informed of his father’s murder and proposes and dual between Hamlet and himself. In Act four Scene seven Laertes sounds very self assured and says “but my revenge will come” and “I will do’t”. This direct language arguably makes the audience feel very convinced by Laertes, in contrast to Hamlet’s dithering language and misguided intentions. Laertes makes his way back to Denmark immediately taking intense action and arrives ready to dual within the space of a mere three scenes. This motivation and strive for accomplishment that Laertes seizes emphasises what Hamlet is lacking and makes Hamlet seem insignificant and an unworthy hero. It also arguably shows that Hamlet has been dragging out his act of revenge against Claudius for far too long, not making any progress whilst Laertes charges back to avenge his father instantaneously. This suggests that Hamlet is not at all fit to meet the expectations such as strength, courage and amiability that we would expect a traditional tragic hero to have, bringing him under the expectations we hold for a tragic hero.
However, Laertes actions do implicate a positive light upon Hamlet. Laertes seems very sure of himself and very rash in his decisions and at first this would seem to be down to mere courage and would make the audience feel in awe of his motivation. Nevertheless, it could be said his confidence is created by the unfair advantage he knowingly holds against Hamlet, the poison on the end of his weapon which convinces himself has can’t be beaten. Hamlet however does not attempt to cheat in any way, or be unfaithful in his actions. This on its own demonstrates a confident and noble side to Hamlet that the audience hadn’t really witnessed before. This arguably exposes Laertes as more of an untrustworthy character, putting Hamlet is a more trustworthy and self assured position. This worthiness that Hamlet demonstrates links back to Aristotle’s idea of nobility, of which the tragic hero must contain, which Hamlet demonstrates in his dual with Laertes flawlessly. This could convince the audience that Hamlet is in fact a worthy traditional tragic hero.
Overall, I would say that Hamlet does not meet the expectations of a traditional tragic hero. Whilst the order of events in which Hamlet does eventually meet his harmartia match specifically with the terms to which Aristotle states, Hamlet possesses far too many un admirable traits within his character to seem worthy enough of being a tragic hero. Hamlet’s impulsiveness, cowardice and un avoidable mad state of mind seems far too unstable for Hamlet to be a hero. Whilst occasionally displaying noble traits he is drowned in the amiability of Laertes, and his positive characteristics. Hamlet does forgo a tragedy and that he could arguably meet the expectations of Aristotle in terms of weakness, but I feel that he has many elements within his personality that contribute to his unrealistic hero qualities and more than one hubris and this makes him an unrealistic hero, or in fact too human. This prevents Hamlet from meeting the audiences expectations, such as bravery, enthusiasm , and success his needs, in order to be considered a traditional tragic hero.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


Im really sorry but I don't think I'l be able to hand in my coursework to you tommoro, I sent my first draft from school to my home e-mail so I could do it at home, but it hasn't sent through for some reason and I wasn't at silverdale today I was at ecgberts so I have no way of accessing it so would it be ok if I give it to you Friday? SORRY

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

2nd draft of Hamlet coursework

2nd draft – To what extent is Hamlet’s hubris his inaction?

Hamlet is seen as a tragic hero and whilst this title is seemingly admirable according to Aristotle it comes with a chosen path which eventually leads to the demise of the individual. In tragic genre the hubris is what inevitably leads to the characters downfall, it’s their ‘tragic flaw’. In tragedies traditional hubris traits include that of greed, anger, distrust, pride, temperamental emotions, anger and jealousy. In Hamlet it seems that the hero’s tragic flaw is his inability to take action and fulfil his act of revenge, arguably due to his motivational failure, cowardice or perhaps his intentions were never to carry out his claims of revenge. This essay will discuss the extent to which Hamlet’s inaction is the cause of his downfall and will introduce other factors that may contribute considerably to the tragic nature of the play and to why hamlet’s hubris came to be his inaction.

Hamlet is undoubtedly a flawed character but at the same time displays wholly admirable traits. One may see Hamlet as a dislikeable character on account of his cowardice nature and his adamant refusal to never tell people why he acts as he does, instead he simply fires a range of accusations and torments individuals. However while it would be easy to condemn Hamlet for his irrational and erratic behaviour , we would be ignorantly ignoring the redeeming qualities Hamlet possesses, such as his strong mind, his witty way of speech, his seemingly accurate judge of character and his honesty and loyalty to those who deserve it.

It could be noted that Hamlet avoids seeking revenge on account of his insecurity and lack of self confidence. Hamlet admits this to himself, making him seem all the more assured that he feels he is incapable of defending himself, which I would arguably say makes him even more vulnerable. Hamlet is aware of the fact that men possess flaws, in act one scene four he says

“So oft it chances in particular men That – for some vicious mole of nature in them...Shall in the general censure take corruption From that particular fault”.

Hamlet seems to be fully conscious of the hubris concept, and of the tragic flaw, perhaps he is aware that his is of something similar to his inaction, which makes him all the more likely to abide by the rules of the tragic flaw he believes himself to possess, so it inevitably becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Hamlet also degrades himself, and proposes that he is not the aggressive fighting type of man that he is expected to be. In act two scenes two he says

“Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave, that I, the son of a dear father murdered, Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, Must like a whore unpack my heart with words”

This not only demonstrates that Hamlet holds little self respect or confidence in himself to commit the act of revenge, but also that he dislikes himself greatly for it. He mocks himself in a sarcastic manner when he says “This is most brave” and he refers to himself as a “whore” comparing himself to the worst type of women, demonstrating his distaste in his own character. He says that he has been told to seek revenge, yet all he has is “words” which may be a big part in his lacking of motivation as being a man of words is seen as very untraditional for a man, he may feel in-capable against the hands of Claudius who could be very skilled. He also refers to his dad “heaven and hell” prompting him to seek revenge, which I would have thought would encourage him to take charge yet still he seems to wallow in self pity and denial of his own potential. The fact that he does this could arguably say that perhaps Hamlet’s hubris is not in fact his inaction; it is his lacking of confidence that perpetuates the laziness he seems to display in accordance with this act of revenge which he is meant to be committing. It could in fact be this self pity that creates an un-certainty in himself which encourages him to stall. It could then be argued that things like that play that Hamlet puts on are merely devices he uses in order to stall his act of revenge and to maybe wait for something that will surge his confidence.

It is not only the audience that notices Hamlets inability to take control of the situation and act quickly, his father’s ghost is also aware of it. He says,

“This visitation is to what thy almost blunted perpose”.

Hamlets dad seems impatient and irritated that Hamlet has as yet failed to do anything of which he asked, and I would have thought that this would have prompted Hamlet to take action, as he looks up to his father, usually referring to him as a god for example in act one scene two he refers to his father as a “hyperion” also known as the god of the son. Hamlet speaks very highly of his father and seems to look up to him so perhaps the fact that his father is becoming impatient does not in fact influence him to do better, and to speed the process up in his favour, but perhaps it puts more pressure on Hamlet, making him feel nervous and trapped.

The event which actually leads to Hamlet’s downfall is seemingly the irrational killing of Polonius. This inevitably leads to Fortinbras wanting to fight Hamlet to avenge his father which leads to the fight in which they are both killed, along with the King and the Queen. The death of polonious was mainly down to Hamlets impulsive and irrational characteristics, therefore it could be argued that these are his tragic flaws. Hamlet is not even sure who he has murdered, he remarks

Nay, I know not. Is it the King?”

This is Hamlet’s first rash act yet seems to be the only one needed to result in his downfall. The fact that Hamlet thrust his sword and killed someone not even knowing who they were makes him seem irrational and distasteful. Irrationality is also a common traditional hubris trait for a tragic hero to possess. However it could also be argued that it is Hamlet’s seemingly mad mind that results in his death. Claudius would not have spiked the weapon if he hadn’t grown so tiresome of Hamlet’s mind games and wild actions. Hamlet also spooked Claudius with the play and instead of taking action, gave Claudius time to construct a plan of Hamlet’s death instead of it resulting in his own.

In conclusion I would argue that Hamlet’s hubris is a mixture of many parts, most of which are due to flaws in Hamlet’s personality and characteristics which do lead to his inaction and his other possessed flaws. I think Hamlet’s downfall is as a result of a mixture of traits to which he possesses such as his impulsiveness which lead to the fight with Fortinbras, his cowardice which prevented him from taking action, his wild arguably fake or true madness which seemed to anger Claudius and fuel him to plot against Hamlet and his lacking self confidence which only made things less desirable.

I do believe however that his inability to take immediate action played a significant part in his downfall.

(sorry i didnt get it to you on the Wednesday we broke up but i forgot i was at my other school on that day so couldnt hand it in so i put it up here )

Monday, 1 March 2010

How guilty is Gertrude?

Perhaps she feels Hamlet isn't ready to run a country. Maybe she is thinking of her country before her son?

Maybe she and Claudius planned it together?

Maybe she is clueless.

It is obvious that whatever she did, in a theatrical way, people give in to the weight of Hamlets opinions, maybe he can make it what he wants for us.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Hamlet and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern

Hamlet seems to distrust R and G very strongly, whereas if I think about it I don't really know what they did wrong.
They did tell a little lie to begin with to Hamlet, regarding why they came but at the end of the day they were only doing of what they were asked from the Queen etc. and they did come clean, other than that they havn't done anything, yet Hamlet is very aggressive towards them.

He begins by almost mocking them and pretending to have misheard them "O wonderful son, that can so 'stonish a mother"

R reacts to this by trying to bring out his good side, to remind him of the friendship the once had "My lord, you once did love me"

they are very reasonable and try to ask Hamlet why he is acting in this way "Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? "- and they continue to try and reassure him and tell them of what is causing him to act in such a way by saying that he should tell them so they can help him, "you do surely bar the door upon your own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend."

I do not think R and G deserve the treatment they recieve from Hamlet, but I think Hamlet probably pressumes them evil, as they are associated with Claudius, but really all they did was come to ask Hamlet if he could go and see his mother.

Yet Hamlet goes on to have a huge go at them and says after asking G to play the pipe, and G refusing says "Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me!" - Hamlet beleived they played him, made a fool of him.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


act 3 scene 1

(aside) "How smart a lash that seech doth give my conscience!.." - This '(aside)' means the character is talking to the audience, the characters inside thoughts. This is the 1st we get from the king.

clues like "than is my deed" suggest the king is guilty.

His words he choses very carefully "painted word" and is therefore suspicious.

"To be or not to be"- does this mean to exist or not to exist? or to kill or not to kill? This could be interpreted many different ways.

"The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" - To accept the bad happenings?

"against a sea of troubles" - or to attack? - Maybe it means to kill himself, as you cannot 'take arms' against the sea. If you swung your sword in to the sea it wouldn't hurt it, so perhaps it could be interpreted as him wanting to kill himself to end his pain and troubles.

"For in that sleep of death what dreams may come" - He is thinking of the bad things that could happen if he killed himself. If he died would he just go into an everlasting dream? what if the dream he has is a nightmare? How would you escape?
The fact that Hamlet is questioning death creates a pause.

Whilst Hamlet is talking what is happening with Ophelia?
Is Ophelia frozen in time, is she meant to hear the speech or not? Is Hamlet aware of the other people? He uses general metaphors which makes us suspicious.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

I think that in the speech we analysed of Hamlet in act 1 scene 2 helped me a lot to find my own interpretation of Hamlet.

I think that he seems to be a little over dramatic – maybe because it’s a performance i don’t know but i think some of the things he says in reaction to his dad’s death are a little extreme.

For example when he says “Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon gainst self-slaughter.” - This phrase implies hamlet would kill himself if it weren’t for his faith in God, holding him back as ‘the Everlasting’ refers to God (capital letter) and ‘his canon’ refers to Gods laws; therefore suicide is a sin. I think he says this to be overdramatic and to just rant and feel sorry for himself. However this does tell me that he is a faithful character, as he is obviously devoted to God.

We can also tell that he is angry with his mother, to the point of almost hate it seems, but that he still respects her and doesn’t want to upset her.

He expresses his anger during the speech with phrases such as “O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourned longer” – This is quite a powerful yet I think overdramatic phrase again, as this suggests Hamlet is referring to his mother as an animal, saying even an animal who could not think would have mourned longer.

Another phrase “A little month or e’er those shoes were old” – Here Hamlet is saying that even before his mothers shoes would seem old she had re-married. This emphasises the little time in which she claims to have found love again and indulged in marriage again with her old husband’s brother.

But Hamlets respect for his mother doesn’t seem to falter even due to the events when he utters the bizarre, and very out of context compared to the rest of the speech, last line “But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue”.