Date of publication: 2017-09-03 09:16
So too, Cleopatra insists on fulfilling a political role against the wishes of the patriarchal men: when Enobarbus attempts to prevent her from doing so she replies in enraged determination:
If the question is about theme, talk about it in the introduction, then discuss, one per paragraph, how the other aspects contribute to it, and conclude by talking about the success or otherwise of the author in communicating his/her theme.
Cleopatra thus forces her access into the male arena, where Ophelia and Desdemona do not - and cannot of course, in the same way, for in her status as a middle aged woman and Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra naturally has more freedom. She is not dependent upon anyone financially, as are Ophelia and Desdemona.
At the same time, Hamlet seems somewhat aware that he is, in fact, playing a role on stage. He notices his own costume and makeup (“’Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother [.]” ( ff.)) he refers to specific areas in the theater (as when he notes that the ghost is “in the cellarage” ()) in short, he seems at once to be the most typical of types, and to be an audience to his own typecasting – and furthermore, he seems to be distressed about being so typecast, and anxious to prove that there is something genuine behind his theatrical veneer. In general, critics have long noticed that Hamlet is a play about plays, most specifically a revenge tragedy about revenge tragedy, and the pretzel-like self-referentiality of the protagonist is the main reason why.
We might notice right away, in this first soliloquy, how difficult Hamlet can be to follow – how much his speech jumps and roils around, allowing interjections, playing with allusions and puns, becoming frequently side-tracked by this or that image. This tendency of Hamlet’s, to become sidetracked by his own train of thoughts, is crucial to the play, and crucial to the central motivational mystery of Hamlet – the delay of the revenge. But we will see much more of that to come.
... By the world,
I think my wife be honest, and think she is not.
I think thou [Iago] art just, and then think thou art not.
Polonius's conviction, in which one can't help believing, stems from a mercenary desire to marry his daughter off to such an eligible husband as the prince of Denmark, rather than a genuine belief in his daughter's role in causing Hamlet's madness.
At this point, Prince Hamlet, who has been standing apart from the king’s audience this whole time, speaks the first of his many lines. Claudius asks Hamlet why he is still so gloomy. Hamlet’s replies are evasive, cynical, and punning. He declares that his grief upon losing his father still deeply affects him. Claudius goes into a speech about the unnaturalness of prolonged grief to lose one’s father is painful but common, he says, and Hamlet should accept this as nature’s course. He expresses a wish that Hamlet remain with them in Denmark instead of returning to Wittenberg, where he is a student, and when Gertrude seconds this wish, Hamlet agrees. The king, queen, and all their retinue then exit the stage, leaving Hamlet alone.
In Othello's refusal to hear Desdemona's own protestations of innocence, Othello is very much a tragedy in which the female is subordinated by the male.
Do not try to sift through the many hundreds of pounds of critical inquiry about the scene or the play. I am most interested in what you bring to the plays, not the ways in which you try to spew back your versions of what "experts" have written to get tenure or score points with other tweed-jacketed types. Honest confusion and honest mistaking are part of the learning process, so don't try to seek out some other "authority" for your proof.
After Horatio has finished explaining this political backstory, the ghost of Old Hamlet appears once more. This time Horatio does try to speak to the ghost. When the ghost remains silent, Horatio tells Marcellus and Bernardo to try to detain it they strike at the ghost with their spears but jab only air. A rooster crows just as the ghost appears ready to reply to Horatio at last. This sound startles the ghost away. Horatio decides to tell Prince Hamlet, Old Hamlet’s son, about the apparition, and the others agree.
... My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty.
To you I am bound, for life and education...
You are the lord of my duty,
I am hitherto your daughter. But here's my husband,
And so much duty as my mother showed
To you preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.
A charge we bear i'th'war,
And as the president of my kingdom will
Appear there for a man. Speak not against it.
I will not stay behind.
In his first soliloquy, Hamlet expresses the depths of his melancholy and his disgust at his mother’s hastily marrying Claudius after the death of his father. He declares his father to be many times Claudius’ superior as a man. After this soliloquy, Horatio, Marcellus and Bernardo enter. At first, Hamlet is too aggrieved to recognize Horatio, his old school friend, but finally he welcomes Horatio warmly. After chatting about the state, Horatio tells Hamlet that he has seen his dead father recently – the night before. Hamlet asks him to explain, and Horatio tells the story of the appearance of the ghost. Hamlet decides to attend the watch that very night in hopes of seeing the ghost himself.