This short play report takes the place of a journal over all the readings, but it may help this report to refer to other plays and to the lecture. There will thus be one writing exercise every other week (alternating with the exams).
• PICK a play to review. Write three, numbered paragraphs, following the instructions below. (Roughly, 200-500 words total.)
• The earlier the report is posted, the better. Read all reports. The first reporter has the privilege of choosing the play (when there is a choice), or selecting one character within the same play. No report should duplicate another! So we may see reports on secondary plays and characters here, which it will be useful to read.
o You can choose a play from the current (and the prior) lesson–or a play we won’t cover in the course (from our textbook).
o –If you want to report on an external play, ask first–and link the pages or internet text of the play in your report.
• Summarize the story of your play clearly!– Emphasize the main stages of the plot, and include important characters, actions, and elements of the scenery.
o Use complete sentences and fill out paragraphs to identify topics and to add support or significance.
THREE PARAGRAPHS (or sections) by number:
1. Trace or summarize the key stages or elements of the plot of one play (with appropriate illustrations from the story).
2. Analyze ONE main character in that play (describing purpose, problems, and details).
3. Explain the theme (or purpose) of the plot (with a convincing explanation of your hypothesis, offering support from the story).
You may well need to make some discovery and technical learning in these early reports, which is what they are for. Here are key terms and techniques suitable for these reports:
• To illustrate (a category or generalization) is to give an example of what you are talking about.: to illustrate on-line classes, for example, take Intro. to Drama; then describe how it is organized, what is being read in that course, and what work is being assigned. Details fill in the illustration.
• To summarize is to collect the key elements of your essay or character or play together, in an organized paragraph, usually beginning or ending with a topic statement. The topic subject is ‘what it’s all about.’ A thesis statement (or issue question) is ‘what is the point of this material?’
• A plot is the sequence of events within a story or play, perhaps directly involving one main actor who does these things and/or responds to them. The shape of the plot may be ascending (tending toward a happy ending), descending (tending toward an unhappy ending), or mixed (following positive events with negative ones — as in a tragedy; or following negative events with positive ones — as in epic romance).
o A play usually has one main plot (with key actions, and main characters), but may have sub-plots that are shorter than or parallel to the main story (involving lesser actions, themes and/or characters), which are worth noticing.
• The key thematic focus that I would like you to keep in mind is the moral agency of a particular character in the plot, which means his responsibility for his actions and re-actions, including the final positive or negative outcome of the plot of the whole play. Does this character show development (growth) or decay?
The topic is Moliere, Misanthrope
1. William Shakespeare’s, “Hamlet” is centered around the protagonist, Hamlet, the prince of Denmark. His father, the king, has recently been murderd by Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius. At the beginning of the story Claudius is suspected, and later on confirmed as the killer. Hamlet’s father’s ghost appears and tells Hamlet he needs to expose Claudius as the killer. The plot follows Hamlet as he tried to carry out his father’s request. While he is deciding how he will prove Claudius is guilty, he seemingly goes crazy. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, has married Claudius and Hamlet is very disgusted and bothered by this. His girlfriend, Ophelia, thinks Hamlet has gone crazy, as do many other people. Poloinus and Laertes, Ophelia’s father and brother, try to convince her that Hamlet does not love her. She believes them and chooses not to see Hamlet anymore. In a push to prove Claudius as guilty, Hamlet asks a group of actors to act out a scene of a king being murdered. He does this so he can watch Claudius’s reaction that might prove he killed the king. After the play, Hamlet walks in on Claudius praying and hears him admit that he killed the king. Hamlet chooses not to kill him at that moment because he thinks Claudius will go to Heaven if he is killed while praying. People think Hamlet has gone crazy because he is love sick for Ophelia. He is spied on while talking to her and is see being mean, it is decided he does not love her. Hamlet goes to see his mother to express his disgust that she is with Claudius. He hears someone behind a curtain, thinking it is Claudius, he stabs the person. It turns out the person is Ophelia’s father, Polonius. The ghost appears during this meetings and gets mad at Hamlet for not killing Claudius yet. Gertrude cannot see the ghost and thinks Hamlet is crazy.
Claudius sends Hamlet to England with two of Hamlet’s friends. He writes a letter to the king of England saying to kill Hamlet when he arrives. Hamlet finds the letter and re-writes it now stating to kill his friends, while Hamlet escapes back to Denmark. Ophelia looses her mind upon hearing her father is dead. Ophelia’s brother comes to Denmark, angry because his father is dead. Claudius convinces Laertes it is all Hamlet’s fault, now everyone is against Hamlet. Gertrude says that Ophelia has died. Hamlet is present during her burial. He and Laerters both jump in the grave with her, fighting over who loved her more. The two agree to a fencing match to be held in front of Claudius and Gertrude. Laerters poisons the tip of his sword and Hamlet poison’s Claudius’s cup of wine. Gertrude drinks from the poison cup and Laerters stabs Hamlet with the poison sword. Hamlet then picks up Laerters’s sword and stabs Laerters with the poison sword. Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poison sword and forces him to drink the poison wine. At the end of the story all four have died. Fortinbras, a prince of Norway, appears. Realizing all the royalty of Denmark is dead, he declares himself king.
2. Gertrude is Hamlet’s mother. She is the recently widowed queen of Denmark who is now married to Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius. Hamlet is extremely displeased and disgusted with his mother’s decision to remarry. The biggest question in the story regarding Gertrude is if she was involved in her husband’s death. She is a very unsure character in the story. In my opinion, I do not believe she is being a good mother to Hamlet. She is remarried very quickly after the death of the king. She also gives no attention to Hamlet’s disapproval of her marriage to Claudius. It seems that she married him out of will to be re-married. She possibly did not want to loose her power in the kingdom so she felt forced to remarry. The question to be answered here is did she do it for her protection, or for Hamlet’s protection to ensure a safe future for him. She seems to rely solely on the men in her life. This primarily due to her quick re-marriage to a man that she does not love yet only marries to remain secure in the kingdom. She cannot offer a solid answer to Hamlet when he confronts her about his disgust with her situation. She also does not prevent Claudius from sending Hamlet to England to be killed. She does approve of recruiting the help of Hamlet’s friends to see why he is acting crazy. However, a real mother who knows her son would try and figure it out for herself. This reflects that she really wants nothing to do with her son and is not concerned about his life. She clearly puts her needs and wants above those of her son and for that reason I do not think she is a good character or mother.
3. I think a solid overwhelming theme of “Hamlet” is the idea of death. Death really is the central force moving this story. It is because Hamlet’s father died, that Hamlet goes through all these trials. He is going through these trials to bring death to Claudius for bringing death to his father. It is in death that his father reappears to him and tell him to kill Claudius. In his quest to kill Claudius, Hamlet kills Polonius. While being sent to England to be killed, he ends up being responsible for the death of his two friends. It is the death of Ophelia that in a way brings him back to reality to express his love for her one last time. And it is the death of Ophelia and Polonius that brings Laeters and Hamlet to have a fencing match, which is to be held until one of them dies. Hamlet poisons the cup of Claudius to ensure his death, Laerters poisons his sword to ensure death is brought to Hamlet. In the end, they all die. Death is the driving force of this story. All actions are done to kill someone or out of anger of a death. Death is also present internally in Hamlet as he constantly questions if his own death, committing suicide, is better than pursuing the death of others. This mystery of death is the overwhelming theme of “Hamlet”. Death is the cause and the consequence of all actions.