Hamlet II

My original panel discussion question was “What does Shakespeare say about women through Gertrude and Ophelia?” However, in my opinion, this question was more straightforward than the other questions presented in the discussion. Therefore, the answer I  developed was quite similar to those in my group as well as the rest of my classmates. This has motivated me to blog about a question that can result in polar opposite responses: Was Hamlet really mad? In my opinion, Hamlet was not “mad” at the beginning of this play; however, as his plot for revenge consumed him, he lost control over his actions.

The first part of my assertion can be supported by the fact that Hamlet makes a conscience decision to feign a spell of madness. After discovering the truth about his father’s murder, Hamlet discusses with Horatio and Ghost about a plan to “put on an antic disposition” (I.V.170-172). In this specific scene, it is easy to observe and note Hamlet’s actions as being somewhat rational. In order to take revenge for his father, Hamlet devised a course of action that will help fulfill that goal. Hamlet’s clear state-of-mind is clear to readers in this section of the novel, for the protagonist is able to find reasonable solution to solve his conflict. Unfortunately, this clear minded Hamlet did not last too long. Soon after, Hamlet descends into madness as he further pursuits his end goal.

I think that the turning point of Hamlet’s sanity occurs when Hamlet observes Claudius praying for forgiveness. It is clear to any reader that Hamlet is conflict about how to further proceed. He could simply accomplish his goal by killing Claudius, who has his back turned and has admitted to killing his brother (King Hamlet). Unfortunately, Hamlet, engrossed with his plot of revenge, chooses to spare Claudius only because killing him would allow his soul to rise to heaven. Immediately after this event, Hamlet’s actions become much more irrational and illogical. This is notion supported when Hamlet kills a man in cold blood.

After his brief view into Claudius’s room, Hamlet goes to speak with his mother. The conversation between the two quickly turns sour as Hamlet berates his mother for marrying Claudius. During the heated exchange, a noise behind a tapestry alerts Hamlet, and he quickly thrusts his sword into it. The material is removed to reveal Polonius who was spying on Gertrude and Hamlet. The protagonist drags the body away and proceeds to tell his mother to stay quiet about the incident. This is a prime example of the moments in the play that shows Hamlet losing control in pursuit of his revenge. The lack of reaction from Hamlet after killing a fellow human effectively displays the lack of human regard held by Hamlet at this point in the play. Even after committing the deed, Hamlet insults the recently deceased by calling Polonius a “fool” (III.IV.31).  Clearly, the ability for  a human being to commit murder and also display no remorse is a sign for someone who has fallen to madness. This downward spiral of madness continues until the end of the play and Hamlet’s demise.

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Painting and poems

My initial reactions to the painting are truly underwhelming. Glancing at this painting for the first time, I felt an intense sense of “why?” The painting looks like someone got really bored and lonely so he or she decided to use their spare paint and throw it, flick it, etc. at a large piece of canvas. In fact, I kind of thought that it looked like someone used a canvas for paintball practice. However after taking some time to really examine the painting , I relived the little details that went into the painting. If you closely inspect the painting, you will notice the various colors used in the actual painting. Instead of being a blob of random colors, the dots seem to complement each other.

The actual size of the painting would have a massive effect on how you would perceive it. There are unbroken lines of paint on the canvas, which indicates that the painter had to devise a system to allow them to paint without interrupting the flow of the painting. Also, I think that observing the this massive painting would make you feel slightly inferior because this meant someone was willing to paint of 54ftsquared of canvas.

Nancy Sullivan also had some opinions and reactions about the painting that she wrote into a poem. In the poem, I think that Nancy is simply trying to assert that there is no meaning behind the painting. All it is is simply paint. This can be supported when she say, “but just paint.”

I also think that Nancy Sullivan thought that the painting was a reflection of the painter’s mind or inner state. Perhaps the painter was conflicted when he wrote this? This can be supported when you states that the painting is “a mural of the mind.” But enough of Nancy reactions, you should see how you react to this painting.