Friday, November 17, 2006

Hamlet Act 1 Blog Question

Following today's fishbowl discussion of Hamlet and Claudius, consider the following connection: In Shakespeare's Macbeth, The King (Duncan) is murdered by Macbeth in order for Macbeth to take the throne and gain power. Macbeth's rule doesn't last, as everyone finds out how he gained power. One he is exposed as the murderer of the King, one of Duncan's sons avenges his father's death, and he takes the throne as the rightful heir. How does this situation relate to Hamlet? Do you think that Hamlet will follow through with the logical act of avenging his father's death, or will he continue to submit to fate? Do we see this same situation in modern day literature or entertainment (movies, TV, etc.)?


Blogger sonnyw said...

I feel Hamlet hasn't thought about his course of action. He has decided to avenge his father because the Ghost tells him to: "Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder" (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 26). Although the Ghost never directly tells Hamlet to kill Claudius, the reader assumes this is what's meant by "revenge" (speaking for myself only, though I believe most everyone assumed nearly the same thing). There is a natural tendency for people to balance life's scales with equal actions--"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," a life for a life. I would go so far to say that this is a basic instinct, something that people generally cannot control. Even when a religion (e.g., Christianity) says to "turn the other cheek" to violence, humans just wanna duke it out. When the Ghost tells Hamlet to seek vengeance, he ignites this basic instinct, so that Hamlet is set on taking Claudius' life as payment for his father's. The Ghost has thus set Hamlet's destiny, his fate. Unlike Oedipus (at this point), Hamlet actively pursues this fate; he does not fight it.

As for Macbeth, I haven't read it, I'm not comfortable speaking of it blindly. But modern entertainment--there are a ton of tales of vengeance. The first that comes to mind is "The Count of Monte Cristo." The protagonist in this movie could be viewed as a tragic hero, similar to Hamlet. His insatiable desire to attain revenge could be his flaw (though he stops himself before the flaw brings him ruin, making him somewhat un-tragic).

The thing that strikes me most is how morals are set aside when one contemplates revenge. Specifically in "Hamlet," where the characters use phrases such as "marry" (short for "by the Virgin Mary") and "'swounds" (short for "Christ's wounds"), I am surprised that Hamlet contemplates murder. The will of King Hamlet, "the father," has surpassed the importance of the will of God, "the Father."

Sorry my response is so long. I'm tired anyway; I'll stop where I am. "Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night,” and have a good weekend.

November 19, 2006 12:39 AM  
Blogger melissa b said...

Hamlet is simliar to Macbeth because his father was just killed and now Hamlet is fighting for the throne. He is told by the ghost to fight Claudius in a sense. To have revenge.

Hamlet is lost. He does not know what course to take. All of his advice he follows is from the ghost. I think Hamlet is un able to decide for himself right now. He is still learning what to do.

I think we do see this same situation in modern day enteratinment. Right now I am un able to think of an example. I am sorry

November 19, 2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger Kyle G said...

I think that Hamlet, having had such a close relationship with his father, is looking for answers to his death. Anything that seems possible will be accepted by him as the truth. When the ghost appears to him, he immediately believes it is his father and listens to him intently. Once again, because he had such a close relation with his father he will willingly believe anything his father says. Whether or not it is true, it doesn't matter, just because he listens to his father does not make him weak, necessarily. He is devastated over his father's death, and wants answers, any answers, as to how it happened. Then a ghost claiming to be his father claims that Claudius killed him comes along and gives him that answer. When the ghost tells Hamlet to avenge him, Hamlet willingly agrees, he isn't being told what to do. If he had known that Claudius had killed his father before-hand, he probably would have done it anyway, like Sonny said, vengeance seems to be human nature. This doesn't make Hamlet weak, it makes him human, the ghost isn't forcing him to do it, rather he is telling him to, and Hamlet agrees to. Any person would want to get revenge for their father's death, especially if they were murdered.

Sorry, I kind of rambled, so it may be hard to follow. But my point is, Hamlet should not be blamed for anything.

November 19, 2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger hannahm said...

I see the connection between the two plays but for now I think it is a little to early too tell what Hamlet will do. He is in too much shock for the time being and if he does anything right away before talking to his father's ghost more, things might end up badly for him.

I see this in entertainment a lot because people do things to get instant gratification and don't think of the outcome.

November 19, 2006 8:40 PM  
Blogger levik said...

I believe that Hamlet will avenge the death of his father by killing Claudius. I find it very interesting, however, that he does not place a lot of blame on Claudius before he talks to the ghost. Once this conversation takes place, Hamlet is completely focused on avenging his father's death and nothing else. By carrying out these actions, I think that Hamlet will have a tragic downfall, much like other Shakespearian plays. The fact that Hamlet is totally focused on one thing and is blinded to all else that goes on is a tragic flaw. The question asks if Hamlet will submit to fate or kill Claudius. I think that killing Claudius is a part of his fate and will in fact be the biggest reason for his downfall. As it relates to Macbeth, King Duncan's son and Hamlet are very similar. They both had a father in power killed. They want justice for the country and believe that ridding the current king of power is the right thing to do. This connection presents a problem, however, because Hamlet would have a just cause, similar to Duncan's son. Macbeth did not have a just cause in his murder for power. It seems to me that Hamlet is not at a search for power, but only wants to avenge the death of his father. Overall, Hamlet will face a tragic downfall due to his murder of Claudius, even though his cause seems just.

November 19, 2006 8:41 PM  
Blogger David L said...

I agree with Sonny and Kyle in that vengence is a part of human nature. I think that, in essence, a lot of Shakespeare's plays show human nature and how rash our actions and thoughts can be when we are confronted with strong emotions. For instance, Hamlet's grief takes such a strong hold of him that he has trouble thinking logically. He blames his mother for moving on from his father's death, without realizing that she cannot simply dwell in the past any longer. Similarly, once Macbeth becomes king, his paranoia from the guilt he feels - if only subconciously - makes him act rashly and ultimately helps lead to his downfall. I believe that Hamlet will "submit to his fate" by succumbing to his own grief. I don't think it is his quest for revenge that will lead to his revenge, but rather that fact that he seems so intent on this quest after talking to the ghost that any other thoughts are just trifles. I think that his instinctive search for vengence will take away his logic and lead to his downfall. As for modern entertainment or literature, I think that we see a similar search for revenge in a lot of the movies and books of today, but I would say the tragic part is less important, and is often not even a part of the story. Sometimes, the movies of today seem to be more "free will" than "fate" defined stories like Hamlet and Oedipus. That's all I've got right now. See you all tomorrow.

November 19, 2006 9:15 PM  
Blogger ashleyg said...

This is Katie Amsberry.

I do believe that Hamlet will follow through with the avenging because of how obsessed he is with it already and we are just in the first act of the book. Like Duncan's sons he will not just sit back and watch his beloved father be murdered. I don't think we see this in modern day literature because we don't see much avengence in everyday life, just more of random killing and crime. But in movies and TV i do think we see more of avengence of loved ones because it is more entertaining because we want to see good prevail. We want the killer or bad guy be put in his place. Hopefully Hamlet with do this to Claudious.

November 19, 2006 9:19 PM  
Blogger ZachM said...

I believe that the situation in Macbeth relates to Hamlet because in both cases there are situations where the throne is taken improperly and a son is discovers what happened and vows revenge. I do believe that Hamlet will go through with his revenge. I agree with what people said previously, that wanting revenge is a normal human emotion. Look at our own society with capital punishment. The point is that in Hamlet's mind letting Claudius live would be submitting to a lie, so I believe he will kill him

November 19, 2006 9:38 PM  
Blogger DaveV said...

Oh, absolutely Hamlet will attempt to avenge his fathers death. Not only does Hamlet despise Claudius for marrying his mother, but he took over the throne, which under different circumstances would have been his. I think Hamlet will kill Claudius not only to avenge his father's death, but also maybe to spite his mother, and her decission to marry Claudius so soon after her own husbands death. At the same time tho Hamlet is a little wimp, so i believe that something is going to have to happen to bring Hamlet to his feet and trigger him into murdering Claudius.

November 19, 2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger CaitlinO said...

I think the connection between these plays will be son's that avenge their father's death. I think the way that Hamlet will do that is to kill Cladius. Him killing Cladius will cause his tragic downfall even though he did what he thought was right.
I think this happens in entertainment all the time. People want what others have and are not willing to wait for it.

November 20, 2006 8:47 AM  
Blogger ashleym said...

Hamlet relates to MacBeth in that the King was murdered in both of these tradgedies. However, in Hamley the King was murdered by his brother and in MacBeth the King was murdered by his son. They are similiar because whoever commited the murder did it for selfish reasons. Both of the Murders had a thirst for power. They determined that by killing the king they would then become king and have all of the power in ruling their country. I think that Hamley will fall to fate, just like in the rest of Shakespeare's tradgedies.He will try to seek revenge but in the end he will fall to his own tragic fate.

November 20, 2006 10:02 AM  
Blogger ashleyg said...

I think that Hamlet will kill Claudius. Hamlet will be more like the son of Duncan that gained the throne and was the rightful heir. Hamlet is the rightful heir as well. These days we dont really see people killing off other people in order to gain a royal position. Unless you were talking about Princess Di and her death. I think someone planned that out of jealousy and revenge. You could kind of relate that to the upcomming murder of Claudius becasue he will be killed for Hamlets revenge.

November 20, 2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger Marie P said...

The situation in Hamlet is the same of Macbeth's, from a different point of view. There is a similar theme of power and what someone will do to gain it. People are naturally greedy and Shakespeare often writes about what extremes humans will go through to get what they want. I think that Hamlet will avenge his father's death because he will believe that it is fate that has brought his father's ghost to him. With modernization of this same situation I think that we often times see it in lesser extremes. No one is killing anyone else for power or popularity, but often times in politics and Hollywood people of lesser power make someone in a higher place look bad, killing their reputation. In a way these situations relate to Hamlet and Macbeth.

November 20, 2006 10:26 AM  
Blogger AmyB said...

I dont remember much, if anything about Macbeth, but from what i hear, him and hamlet have a whole lot in common. I think the outcome of hamlet will be just like or similar to the outcome of Macbeth, i think that hamlet will definitely seek revenge on Claudius in order to win over the throne and i think that he will have a major downfall, i dont know what it would be or when, but i just think that he has it coming.

November 20, 2006 10:35 AM  
Blogger MarinaB said...

I think that that Hamlet is going to act just as Duncan’s son did in Macbeth. Hamlet is the rightful heir to the thrown and he disserves to rule as king. If it turns out that Claudius did poison the king, I have a feeling that Hamlet is going to seek out even more revenge then he already is. To me Hamlet seems to be more street smarts to trick Claudius into confessing to the murder rather than killing him. And if Hamlet can accomplish that he will essentially become the hero to Denmark, but if he can’t it will become his greatest down fall.

November 20, 2006 12:41 PM  
Blogger asaetveit said...

so if he ended up avenging his father or not wouldn't that be fate since you can't alter fate since it is enevitable? I belive hamlet will not avenge his father because it doesn't seem like he has the courage to. The situation with Macbeth is similar to hamlet in the idea of murder for power and kingsmanship. but in the idea of revenge i don't belive hamlet will fallow threw.

November 25, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger Amy K said...

Macbeth and Hamlet seem almost directly related to each other because the story lines are very similar. Macbeth kills King Duncan for power and one of his son's tries to avenge his death, which is the position that Hamlet has been put get revenge or to choose a different way to handle the situation.

I wish I could say that I believe Hamlet will follow through with his plans for revenge, but I don't think it will line up the way he plans. I think when it comes down to the final moment when he needs to make a decision on his course of action, I think he will chicken out for one reason or another..I still don't know whether that's good or bad. I'd like for him to get revenge because it is obviously something that is very important to him and I like when a character in a story stands behind their beliefs, but at the same time, I'm hoping he chooses a different way to handle the situation and I honestly think that with everything that has happened to him, he won't be able to carry it out in the end.

As for seeing this type of situation today, I agree with Hannah that it seems like everyone is looking for the fastest, easiest way to go about doing things. Instant gratification and laziness has become a part of our culture. I don't know whether Hamlet is being lazy in his plans with Claudius, but it seems like he just wants to get even without having to deal with the aftermath.

November 28, 2006 10:44 PM  

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