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Help with Hamlet

mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
edited April 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Okay so I'm writing a paper comparing and contrasting
Hamlet and King Hamlet. I need a little assistance in the
actual comparing and contrasting. I also need help on figuring
out what Shakespeare is trying to say with the pair.

if you guys can help at all, that'd be awesome.

mikey0422 on

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    RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited April 2007
    Do you mean Hamlet and his deceased father, or Hamlet and his step-father?

    Ramius on
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    hamlet and his deceased father.

    mikey0422 on
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    RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited April 2007
    I was afraid of that. If it were the step-father I think I could rattle off a bunch of angles to look at just based on my memory of the story. But the father's character was given such relatively little treatment in the story that I'd have to have it in front of me to find enough material to be helpful.

    Ramius on
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    my exact thoughts. The only comparison I could give is that Hamlet is more scholarly,whereas King Hamlet was more action orientated,meaning he did whereas Hamlet thought, ya know?

    mikey0422 on
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    Akilae729Akilae729 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Sparknotes.com

    Akilae729 on
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    i was also given the option of hamlet/fortinbras if thats any easier.

    mikey0422 on
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    SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Edit: Doh, wrong character. I'll put something else here later.

    Sentry on
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    wrote:
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    Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Hamlet and Fortinbras is totally easier, since, well, they're pretty much opposites. They're both out to avenge their fathers, but while Hamlet is emoing and boohooing around the castle mired in angst and indecision, Fortinbras is out there all sharking up a list of landless resolutes to help him kick Danish ass. Which he does.

    Fortinbras is Hamlet's antagonist, his foil, his nemesis. He's the action to Hamlet's intellect. Doing a standard compare/contrast on those two would be roughly as difficult as throwing yourself at the ground and missing.

    Kate of Lokys on
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    could the argument that Fortinbras can play a role as hero towards the end be brought up?

    how could we describe the character of fortinbras?

    mikey0422 on
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    RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited April 2007
    EDIT: The below is back on the topic of Hamlet/Father. The topic switched to Fortinbras when I wasn't looking ;)


    I think both were concerned with honor (in terms of ethical and moral principles). And they were both upset about what they saw as a lack of faithfulness on the the queen's part, weren't they?

    I think you are right that the son was more analytical. I think they both felt a sense of urgency, although that sense of urgency was at odds with the son's desire to be analytical about it.

    IIRC, Didn't the ghost speak of the afterlife a bit? Could one say that they both had superstitions/fears of the afterlife?

    Ramius on
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    Legoman05Legoman05 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Pay attention to how Shakespeare uses Hamlet and King Lear to play with religious imagery.

    Hamlet (Son) studies at Wittenberg, the site of Luther's Thesis, and thus, could be construed as representing protestantism.

    I remember my 520 instructor going into a fair amount of detail on the subject, but I've since archived my notes for that class. You could have a rather interesting paper looking at the play through that lens though - and with as much deconstructionist thought that's taken hold, you can pretty much say that it means anything if you have the textual evidence to support your claim.

    Legoman05 on
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    okay this is good stuff. lets dicuss hamlets character.

    how he thinks, how he acts.

    things like that.

    oh and could we add a little more to his over analyzing character?

    mikey0422 on
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    RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited April 2007
    <admin hat on>
    Careful with this "how could we describe..." and "Could we add..." stuff, mikey. When you say it too much it starts sounding like you want people to spoon-feed you ideas. We'll help you flesh out your own ideas, but we're not going to write your paper for you.
    <admin hat off>

    Ramius on
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    sorry, i just had trouble really getting into Hamlet. I'm trying on my own here. I needed help on figuring out their characters. once i can get a sense of who they are, I can throw down this essay with no problem.

    okay so right now ive got that Hamlet is pretty much going insane due to his over analyzing character. hamlet is the way he is because he is a student, he'd rather think than do. His mania seems to be derived from his relationshp with his father. how they,too, are opposites and how he wants to make his father
    proud for like the first time. i hope im getting this stuff.

    mikey0422 on
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    JPArbiterJPArbiter Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    The biggest problem with said comparison is you are not comapring Hamlet with his father, but Hamlets begrieved interpritation of his father.

    King Hamlet was just not fleshed out as a character, just a catlyst to incite his sons desire to place blame and get revenge.

    JPArbiter on
    Sinning since 1983
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    if anyone has any idea on where i can find some sources to help me figure out their character's better, that would be very helpful.

    i've gone to sparknotes and wiki, but neither really give me a sense of character, only overviews of who they are.

    for this paper, i need to dig deep into their characters. how they think and all that and evidence to
    support these traits.

    I've been looking around like crazy. I have no idea where to start in the play itself.

    so any suggestions would be great

    mikey0422 on
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    JPArbiterJPArbiter Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    you ever consider the public library??

    JPArbiter on
    Sinning since 1983
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    RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited April 2007
    dunno how pressed for time you are, but I personally felt this Hollywood version was quite good.

    Ramius on
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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    mikey0422 wrote: »
    if anyone has any idea on where i can find some sources to help me figure out their character's better, that would be very helpful.

    i've gone to sparknotes and wiki, but neither really give me a sense of character, only overviews of who they are.

    for this paper, i need to dig deep into their characters. how they think and all that and evidence to
    support these traits.

    I've been looking around like crazy. I have no idea where to start in the play itself.

    so any suggestions would be great

    There are a lot of databases out there that catalogue scholarly articles and what other authors think of Shakespeare. If you can get to your library ask the librarian for help to access one. In my experience teachers LOVE IT when you cite scholarly evidence to support your paper.


    EDIT: I just pulled this link up off of google. http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/playcriticism.htm#Hamlet It's a bibliography of scholarly works with Hamlet (the play) specifically. You may be able to find more information on the characteristics you want to explore there.

    MegaMan001 on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Ramius wrote: »
    dunno how pressed for time you are, but I personally felt this Hollywood version was quite good.

    As did I. I dislike the Branaugh version a lot. I love the Gibson version. It much more closely matches my interpretation of the text.

    Drez on
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    does anyone know of a quote where i can use as evidence to support that hamlet wasnt what his father wanted? like how being a student amde him seem less of a prince in his fathers eyes and how that ties in with the reasons he doesnt want to disappoint his father?

    mikey0422 on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    mikey0422 wrote: »
    does anyone know of a quote where i can use as evidence to support that hamlet wasnt what his father wanted? like how being a student amde him seem less of a prince in his fathers eyes and how that ties in with the reasons he doesnt want to disappoint his father?

    The only conversation he has with his father is as a ghost, since the play opens after his father's death. The ghost was getting kinda pissy at Hamlet for not immediately believing in him and joining him in vengeance. And then Hamlet keeps vacillating throughout the play and the only thing that keeps pushing him toward enacting vengeance is memory of his father's disappointment...it's all throughout the play.

    Drez on
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    mikey0422mikey0422 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    i'd like to thank everyone for their insight and help.

    i've finished the paper and hopefully it all goes well.

    haha.

    thanks everyone!

    mikey0422 on
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    MuragoMurago Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Hamlet reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes strip. Where Calvin has an "epiphany" and states that knowledge of a situation leads to slower decision making because more facts and info leads to more possibilities. Ignorance allows for instant action, since your not informed of the consequences. It was a funny strip to say the least. Anyway, I don't think Hamlet gets the credit he deserves. He's always labeled as being mired by sadness and uncertainty, and fails to take action. Which then leads to more death. But c'mon, what the hell do you expect the guy to do. He's seen the ghost of his murdered father who commands him to avenge him. Only a fool would jump into action. And like the saying goes, nice guys finish. So then what's the message? Be a fool and act out with passion to beat the loser on the other side who's making an action plan? I dunno, just seems odd

    Murago on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    That opinion would hold weight if he hadn't foolishly murdered Polonius who's only crime was spying on him as he spoke crazily with his mother. He did exactly what you are saying he didn't - he reacted and jumped into action. Only, it was a poor and rash decision. Had he killed his uncle as he knelt unguarded and unprotected, so much death and despair would have been avoided. I can forgive that, though, as Hamlet did not want to suffer an eternity in hell for killing his uncle while his uncle communicated with God. The ironic twist, of course, being the couplet (one of my favorites, by the by):
    My words fly up my thoughts remain below;
    Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

    The uncle believes he isn't even communicating with God through his prayer because of his ill thoughts, so Hamlet would likely have been morally and religiously absolved for enacting his vengeance at that point.

    A lot of flack for Hamlet's inaction comes about due to dramatic irony. It's akin to Monday morning quarterbacking. In hindsight, Hamlet's unwillingness to kill the uncle at that point in the story led to carnage. Was it Hamlet's fault? Well, if he hadn't killed Polonius with his own hand, I would have said no, but really, Hamlet is rather to blame for a lot of what occurs in the play.

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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    P.S. In other words, Hamlet is doubly at fault both for his inaction and his murder of Polonius. He not only didn't prevent the rest of the carnage, he avoided a moment where he could have prevented it AND he actively precipitated it; Polonius' death set off a chain reaction - Ofelia's madness, Laertes' anger, etc., etc. If he had merely went on his merry way and abandoned the idea of revenge or if the uncle or someone else started killing others, then his mere inaction might not be enough to crucify him. As such though, everything else was his doing.

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    MuragoMurago Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    So you suggest that Hamlet on both ends was a fool? For not acting, and then later, for acting ignorantly? Or at least foolishly. Hmm, that position isn't terrible.

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    RamiusRamius Joined: July 19, 2000 Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited April 2007
    When looking over the imdb page I linked earlier, I read this user-comment which I think speaks to this duality which Drez mentions:
    I thought he was convincing nonetheless, particularly in expressing something that I've found central to my understanding of the play but I all too rarely see dealt with in Hamlet's portrayal, which is this:

    Hamlet IS quite mad. 'Tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true. From his first meeting with the ghost onwards, he is profoundly disturbed. It is irony that he then puts an 'antic disposition' on, because he has in actuality gone quite 'round the bend.

    Mel Gibson not only gives the first convincing portrayal of Hamlet's "pretended" madness that I've seen, but he also shows us the desperation of the character in his quiet moments. Hamlet is not, as Olivier posited in his 1948 version, merely "a man who could not make up his mind." Gibson's Hamlet spends much of the film alternating between mania-induced impulsiveness and paralyzing inability to act. The Dane is not merely melancholy, he is certifiably manic-depressive.

    Ramius on
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    DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Ramius wrote: »
    When looking over the imdb page I linked earlier, I read this user-comment which I think speaks to this duality which Drez mentions:
    I thought he was convincing nonetheless, particularly in expressing something that I've found central to my understanding of the play but I all too rarely see dealt with in Hamlet's portrayal, which is this:

    Hamlet IS quite mad. 'Tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true. From his first meeting with the ghost onwards, he is profoundly disturbed. It is irony that he then puts an 'antic disposition' on, because he has in actuality gone quite 'round the bend.

    Mel Gibson not only gives the first convincing portrayal of Hamlet's "pretended" madness that I've seen, but he also shows us the desperation of the character in his quiet moments. Hamlet is not, as Olivier posited in his 1948 version, merely "a man who could not make up his mind." Gibson's Hamlet spends much of the film alternating between mania-induced impulsiveness and paralyzing inability to act. The Dane is not merely melancholy, he is certifiably manic-depressive.

    Yes

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    GlorfindelGlorfindel Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Hamlet, both the character (the son) and the play, is open to a lot of interpretation. As others have mentioned before, there is debate as to whether Hamlet was mad, or merely acting so, or even if he began acting mad and fell into madness by doing so.

    At first, Hamlet (the son) was seen to be a "bitterly eloquent avenger" (Cameron, 1996, p. 42). Then in the 18th century, his procrastination was considered - Coleridge himself identified a quality he also saw in himself, "a great intellect hampered by an inability to escape action" (Cameron, 1996, p. 42).

    In essence, Hamlet is the classic tragic hero from ancient Greek plays - his hamartia is his procrastination and over-rationalisation. This especially is true when compared to Laertes, King Hamlet and Fortinbras. Hamlet is at one end of the scale - almost paralysed by inaction. Laertes sits further up - he takes revenge upon his father's death fairly quickly, but he tempers his anger by entering in a plot to kill Hamlet. Finally, you have King Hamlet and Fortinbras. Fortinbras is hot-headed and, at the conclusion of the play, ends up with everything - Denmark. King Hamlet, though we do not know a whole lot about him, appeared to be fairly action-orientated, evidenced by his winning of some of Norway's lands from Fortinbras' father.

    There is a few ideas for you, but nothing really substantial enough to write an essay, the rest you will have to come up with yourself.

    Good luck, I had to do an unseen essay on this last year, and it can be tough, but with enough preparation you should be fine.

    Glorfindel on
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    HiredGunHiredGun Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Doing a standard compare/contrast on those two would be roughly as difficult as throwing yourself at the ground and missing.

    You do you realize that's exceedingly difficult?


    To the OP: If you have a library near you, I'd take a look at any of these titles: http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/hamlet/bibliography.html

    HiredGun on
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