Shakespearian Thoughts

Of the many poems that Shakespeare wrote, we have examined five of them. Of these five, we see repeating ideas and thoughts presented in different ways. The major motifs are of love and beauty. In these poems, Shakespeare tells of a positive, powerful outlook on the powers of love and beauty. He refers to it as unconditional, never ending, and a source of greatness in the world. In different ways, these ideas are expressed in Hamlet as well. However, they are not quite as positive. For example, Hamlet’s deep love for Ophelia is seen as madness and a threat to her. In addition, her beauty is ruined by makeup according to Hamlet through his insults. This is similar to Sonnet 1 where Shakespeare is disappointed by people covering up their inner beauties. The darker tale of Hamlet presents these ideas in a less positive light, while Shakespeare’s poetry demonstrates an optimistic, hopeful outlook.

Hamlet might be “mad”.

     First off it is not known whether or not Hamlet was somehow mentally unstable before the action in the play began. If not noteworthy, we can assume he was a regular teenager. However, it is apparent that the recent events, his father’s death and his mother’s new marriage, have taken an emotional toll on him. For instance, he contemplates suicide. This should not be too alarming as to whether or not he is mad. Then the ghost appears. But this ghost is one that is unclear, one that is “in the same figure, like the king that’s dead.” (Act 1, scene 1) And that was noticed outside at night. The mother did not see the ghost when Hamlet did inside the castle. Nor does anyone except Hamlet actually hear the ghost. This is a sign that points toward madness. The visions of a spirit that incites revenge. Yet, it is miraculous that such a vision would be so spot-on in it’s descriptions. With it’s elusive nature to all characters, and ambiguity in a definite identification, the ghost may be in Hamlet’s head. Evidently, Hamlet slowly loses his mind. From suicide, to revenge, to murder with the most twisted intentions. And he is indecisive about it, almost fidgety and second-guessing; a mind that is weary and unstable. A mind that is mad. So in fact yes, the outcome of the play rests on Hamlet’s mind. Say he kills himself, or pushes through the tragedy of his father’s death. Nobody plots against him, and nobody is a direct target for murder. This does not mean that Claudius won’t eventually bring the country to a demise and get everyone killed, but it just won’t be in such a demented way.    

Blake’s Life of Artistry

     Blake was born in 1757 and died in 1827, living nearly his entire life in London. His life of art began when he left school at the age of ten. Much of his knowledge at this time came from his mother and his Bible after he was baptized. In addition to reading many books, Blake liked to engrave images, as opposed to drawing them. He would carry this talent to adulthood, where he became a professional engraver. The experiences he found here led to much of his knowledge of Greek myths. After, Blake joined the Royal Academy of Arts and later married. Blake began releasing poems around this time. Besides the influence of religion, Blake drew upon the French and American Revolutionary Wars. Blake also became involved in painting. Many of his works were printed through relief etching. In the end, Blake even died with art; giving up on his Dante series in order to paint a portrait of his wife and sing on the day of his death. During his life, he was not well known during his life, today he is one of the most creative minds known. He drove the Romantic movement with religious criticism and the quest for the answer to human existence. This is shown through both his poetry and portraits.   

An Interesting Godot

     The adaptation for the play Waiting for Godot was very straightforward. It was pretty much how I imagined it: two men waiting in by a tree in the middle of nowhere, with the horizon as far as the eye can see. However, the adaptation made the landscape a very dull and dry blue-ish grey. This definitely contributed to the mood of the play. Also, I did not imagine the tree to look so strange; like white coat hangers. It was quite absurd. For me, I believe filming in black and white would have added another eerie dimension to the endless waiting. For the characters, I also envisioned their humorous dialogue. I was surprised by their pronunciation of “Godot” as well. Instead of a French accent they said it as “God-Oh” which brings the question of what they were really waiting for. Seeing Lucky on stage was actually more depressing than reading about him. He looked so pitiful. I also noticed the way the characters fumbled with their hats and other objects, similar to the old-time comedies we watched in class. This set a time period and added to the mood. Overall, I enjoyed the speedy word-play on screen more than I did reading it. It was funny, clever, and well executed, giving me a new respect for the play.   

The Ending of “Okay.”

     The video game titled The Last of Us is set in a world that has been decimated by a severe fungal infection. People turn into man-eating monsters who can spread the disease through a bite. You play as Joel, a guardian to Ellie who is immune to the fungus. Overall, it is the best video game I have ever played. Many critics claim it as the most outstanding story ever told on a console. People praise the voice acting and immensely emotional gameplay that has left many in tears. The game truly is a work of art. The pictures and settings are greatly detailed, the acting is superb, and the story-line is well planned. However, it is evident that many people are displeased with the final word of the game being “Okay.” After an extremely gutsy decision that Joel makes, he chooses to give Ellie life rather than find a cure for the world. In the final chapter of the game, Joel flat-out lies to Ellie and tells her that the group trying to save her found no use in her, to which she says, “Okay.” This comes after Joel kills multiple innocent people, who were surrendering, to save Ellie. This is where the misunderstanding comes in. On one side, Joel lost his daughter in the very beginning of the game to a gunshot wound. More than likely, he eventually made Ellie into a “daughter” and was not prepared to lose another. Here, lying could be understandable. But, the act was done, he could have told her the truth. Would she have been furious? Maybe, but what could she have done. Then comes the twist in character. Throughout the game, we sympathize for Joel and believe he is doing what’s right. Even I wanted desperately wanted to save Ellie. But I realize that he went on a rampage then played it off with the only person he had left, who trusted him. In addition, what does okay mean? Sometimes we say okay when we believe someone is lying, like “okay, whatever’. Other times maybe that’s the only response we can generate. So did Ellie believe him, or simply go along with it? I believe the 14 year old genuinely trusted Joel and his response.The Last of Us ends wide open for interpretation. Whether there will be a sequel to the game is unknown currently. What is certain, is we will receive a prologue to the story that follows Ellie until the time she is bitten with the one and only DLC for the smash-hit, Left Behind (Feb. 14). This will uncover more of Ellie’s character and add to the story that has been built.    

Beckett’s Reasoning

     Waiting for Godot was written by Samuel Beckett after World War II. The play is notable for its black humor, somewhat existentialist beliefs, and looping story line. These aspects lead many to believe Beckett is one of the first postmodernists. In addition, these are the same details that the postmodernist novel Slaughter-House Five contains. His works attacked the ideas of realists. The play Waiting for Godot is labeled as a play for the “Theatre of the Absurd”. These plays involve a world without meaning, little plot, repetition, and lack a definite conclusion. All of these describe the play well. The plot loops through the same setting with little action and mostly dialogue. Meanwhile, the dialogue constantly repeats and often does not lead to any conclusions. The play follows two friends who hope, day after day, a person they do not even know of will show up. They often talk about committing suicide but they only continue to wait. Both parts lead to a unique play.   

Drown Presentations

Daisha and I performed a skit of the short story “How to date a brown girl…”. I chose the skit because of the fun I have with live acting.

The skit went well in terms of acting and it was humorous, similar to the story. With a few miscues I would give it a 95.

The presentations taught me about character personality through the actors’ impersonations. Also, they helped me visualize the stories in new, creative ways.