Passionately recommended by a majority, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is deemed credible, intricate, and intellectual by readers of all professions. In fact, not only is Hamlet said to be Shakespeare’s greatest work, but it is often titled the greatest playwright of all time as well. Intermittently, however, do people recognize the fundamental flaws of the play. Hamlet’s lack of character development, sloppy structure, and an odd similarity to another Elizabethan tragedy—The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd— all prove that Hamlet does not even come close to living up to the credibility and extensive publicity assumed by many readers of Hamlet.
The character of Hamlet is praised for his deep, analytical thought and his complexity of emotions, but Hamlet is nothing more than an unstable, emotional ruin; in fact, all other characters in the play follow this lack of complexity too. There is not a single character in Hamlet who develops and becomes a round character. Throughout the entire play, Claudius remains an apathetic and corrupt villain, continuing his role as an antagonist. Claudius’s character can be summed up by his orders to Horatio to stay close to Ophelia, saying “Follow her close, giver her good watch, I pray you.” (IV.V.75). This quote shows Claudius’s untrusting and scheming attitude. Horatio remains hesitant and cautious, making no dramatic decisions to better any given situation in the playwright.
Ophelia and Gertrude are discarded of through death, and are arguably the characters with the most power, even though they are given the least attention. Although these women voice their conscious through reckless acts such as suicide, Ophelia drowning herself in a lake and Gertrude drinking a cup of poison, they remain silenced and hopeless throughout the play. The most complex line Reynaldo has is reminding Polonious where he left off speaking, saying, “At ‘closes in the consequence,’ at ‘friend or/ so,’ and ‘gentleman.’” (II.II.52-53) Polonious, although he can be considered the most insightful of the characters, is still a flat character in that his careless nature results in the demise of himself and other characters—his intentions from the beginning.
Even Hamlet, who is believed to be the main protagonist, remains ignorant and rash throughout the playwright. Hamlet’s famous line, “To be, or not to be,” (III.I.56) is only grasped by the human mind when context is revealed, whether it is related to the play or the reader, otherwise, this quote is simply a conglomerate or gibberish. The only difference from Hamlet’s initial outbursts of careless and destructive emotion after learning about the ghost of his father to the hasty duel scene is that Hamlet becomes justified in his ignorant decisions.
Chekhov’s gun is a concept in literature that suggests that every event or scene in a story must be relevant, and unnecessary information should be removed for the sake of eliminating false promises. In other words, if a gun is hanging on the wall, the gun must be fired at some point in the writing, contributing to the plot. Shakespeare’s Hamlet breaks this concept many times, resulting in a sloppy structure and unclear plot. The historical background regarding Fortinbras and Denmark mentioned in the beginning of the play seems to have been added for the sake of aiding Shakespeare in providing a framework for the play. The issue of Denmark is seldom addressed again. In fact, without Fortinbras, the play would arguably make more sense and be more focused on the plot of the play by removing an unnecessary character whose only purpose is to serve as a plot carrier. It was also very unnecessary for Hamlet to travel to England with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern after Hamlet murdered Polonious. Not only did the trip draw away from the plot, but Claudius’s intentions to betray Hamlet further by going as far as attempting to kill him could have been executed more efficiently. These multiple scenes hold no significance toward the plot and make the overall structure of the play less cohesive and sloppy because the audience has to work unnecessarily to follow a map of a storyline.
Chekhov’s gun is not to be confused with foreshadowing, however. Foreshadowing is a literary device that hints at events that may happen to spark the audience’s interest. This is different from Chekhov’s gun in that foreshadowing suggests an event will occur in the future in a vague manner, while Chekhov’s gun guarantees said event. A few events, such as the death of Claudius, the death of Polonious, and Hamlet’s unstable mentality are foreshadowed in Hamlet in a poor way. The Ghost’s multiple returns suggest revenge will be sought, especially when Horatio proposes, “[the Ghost] bodes some strange eruption to our state.” (I.I.69) Polonious’s death is directly foreshadowed when Polonious describes himself as having acted as Julius Caesar in a play, stating, “I was killed/ i’ the Capitol; Brutus killed me.” (III.II.108-109)
And lastly, the alleged insanity of Hamlet is foreshadowed, almost given, on numerous accounts of Horatio and the Ghost warning Hamlet of the repercussions of seeking revenge. This includes when Horatio forewarns Hamlet by saying, “[the Ghost] might deprive your sovereignty of reason/ And draw you into madness.” (I.IV.73-74) It also includes when the Ghost suggests Hamlet to “Taint not thy mind.” (I.V.85) While all foreshadowed events require analysis, Shakespeare’s incidents of foreshadowing are straightforward; it is comparable to an infant boy who is hiding the fact that he got a new toy and his brother did not, from his brother. This creates an anti-climactic moment for each poor use of foreshadowing, furthering the weak structure of the play.
The Elizabethan era of literature consisted mostly of poetry, drama, and tragedies. Playwrights became popular in the higher, wealthier classes, and William Shakespeare was not the only notable author that came from this era. Another famous author was Thomas Kyd whose most well known playwright is The Spanish Tragedy—first performed in 1587, about 12 years before Hamlet was composed. Kyd’s playwright follows a sultan who is motivated to murder a friend due to jealousy and revenge. The Spanish Tragedy holds characters similar to the ones present in Hamlet, such as a ghostly figure and a crucial protagonist named Horatio. Both Shakespeare’s and Kyd’s playwrights also show themes of mentally unstable characters and suspicion as well as paranoia. The two pieces’ main characters, Hieronimo and Hamlet, do very little to resolve the situation and are indecisive, and both playwrights contain plays-within-a-play. Therefore, it is no doubt that Shakespeare had The Spanish Tragedy in mind when writing Hamlet.
All in all, Shakespeare’s lack of depth in characters, clumsy framework, and what can be considered close to plagiarism of Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy all invoke Hamlet does not live up to its notability. Shakespeare’s techniques in writing Hamlet are sloppy and overrated, making this play not so much a magnum opus but rather a magnum flopus.
Analysis Of The Use Of Literary Devices In Sonnet 18 By William Shakespeare
It is well known that life eventually comes to an end, but does it work the same way for love? Shakespeare challenges the idea of infinite love in his widely famous love Sonnet, Sonnet 18. William Shakespeare is a famous poet of the 16th century. He was born in 1564 in Stratford and became famous as a playwright in London. This Sonnet is the eighteenth out of the hundred and fifty-four poems in William Shakespeare’s huge series of sonnets published in 1609.
A sonnet is an early modern poem, written in fourteen lines, usually in iambic pentameter, with rhymes arranged according to one of the certain definite schemes, constructed of three quatrains and ending in one couplet. The rhyme scheme of the poem goes in an AB-AB-AB- AB-AB-AB-CC pattern. It thoroughly expresses a single, thought or a single feeling. Sonnet eighteen is considered to be one of the most beautiful and lovely poems in the English language and also assumed to be addressed to a male subject, which wasn’t very common in the early modern period. The young man to whom the poem is addressed, not surprisingly, seems to be the muse or the prime aggressor for Shakespeare’s first hundred and twenty-six sonnets.
The first two quatrains of the sonnet, portray the question of the central dilemma that the author is trying to demonstrate. Shakespeare’s begins his poem with the opening line “ Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? ”, which sounds like a dare or a challenge, it almost seems like he is asking or directly addressing whomever the poem is addressed to if he shall go ahead and make that metaphoric comparison. Summer is a warm, happy time of the year often associated with rest and recreation. Shakespeare compares his beloved’s qualities, virtue and their beauty to a summer’s day. Which reflects the pastoral style of poetry he uses in the first line. In the second line, “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”: the repetition of the word ‘more’ shows that his loveliness and temperance exceeds those of a summer’s day. “
Rough winds do shake the darling bud of May” In the above quote, Shakespeare describes the fragility and short duration of summer’s beauty. The use of the word ‘lease’ reminds the reader of the fact that everything beautiful remains so for a limited time only and after a while, its beauty will be forcibly taken away. He then portraits off a list of reasons why summer isn’t all that great: winds shake the buds that emerged in Spring, summer ends too quickly, and the sun can get too hot or be shadowed by clouds. It becomes clear that his love for him rises above the beauty of nature.
In the second quatrain, Shakespeare continues his criticisms of the summer’s day. At this point, however, he focuses on the imperfection of the sun and explains that it is temporary and, like other aspects of the summer, tends towards unpleasant situations: “Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed,” Shakespeare realizes that the natural world as it seems isn’t the adequate comparison for his beloved inline five. He states that the sun, which he metaphorically refers to as ‘the eye of heaven’, can be too hot or blocked from view by the clouds, unlike his ‘more temperate’ love. Line seven, it is said : “And often every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed” the repetition of the word ‘fair’ highlights the fact that nothing can escape fate and therefore, everything of beauty will at some point diminish or decline no matter of its different aspects.
The turning point of this Shakespearean sonnet happens in the third quatrain, in line nine when he writes:
“But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade.
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st”
He turns the previous questions, statement or central dilemma positioned in the first quatrains, into a response that changes the whole point of the poem. The turning point is emphasized by the use of the word ‘but’. We can easily see the problem that is stated in those lines which are the issue of eternal summer. What will happen if summer never ends? What will happen if it is all pleasure and no pain? Wouldn’t that become too idyllic to the point of it being unhuman? It seems that he doesn’t have the option of comparing his beloved to a summer’s day anymore, since those days are “ too short” (line 4), “too hot” (line 5), “The decline” (line 7). Later on, in line 10, “ Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest”,stating : his lovers beauty will never decline, which contradicts his own statement of that everything of beauty will diminish at some point, in the above stanza ( line 7) “ And every fair from fair sometime declines,”.
Since the turning point, the author, shifted his focus from nature, in the first two quatrains, to his love in the final quatrain. There is a prominent repeat of the word ‘eternal’ showing the emphasis of his eternal love for his lover. The mention of eternal lines ( line 12) provides us with the assumption that his love will only grow with time within those eternal lines. The couplet, “ So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee “ is the final answer to what is meant by those eternal lines. The integrity and meaning of the couplet relies on the words ‘this’. It seems that ‘this’ refers to those famous eternal lines that allow the love to “ grow”, and as long as men live and see, it will fuel his love it will metaphorically, never allowing it to stop growing.
In conclusion, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 successfully portrays the themes of love, beauty and the effect of time on it through a variety of techniques and effective use of an iambic pentameter. He engages in comparing the eternal love for his beloved and the nature of a summer’s day throughout the lines of the Sonnet. Then suddenly he decides to completely turn his comparison around, which ends by a contradicting turn in the plot. The main point of this Sonnet is him showing how his love for thee will never end, being it like a summer’s day or not. It will continue growing even beyond all living things.
Major Characteristics Of Informal Education
“Home-based education is not an experiment. It’s how people learned to function in the world for centuries. And there is no reason to think that people today can’t do the same thing. School is the experiment, not the lack of it. And I think that experiment is in trouble”- Wendy Priesnitz
Kolb (1984) resonates, with the above statement when he asserted that, ‘human beings are unique among all living organisms in that their primary adaptive specialization, lies not in some particular physical form or skill or fits in an ecological niche, but rather in identification with the process of adaptation itself- in the process of learning (p. 1). For some of us, learning could be a chore in a formal setting, while for some others it could be for relaxation or survival. However, it is interesting to note that we all learn one thing or the other for our daily existence without realizing it. I love cooking when I do not have to learn. It helps me in my subconscious mind as I visualize myself adapting to the pattern of cooking I desired as a form of relaxation. My learning to cook began at home, under the guidance of my grandmother. The motivation for me is the creativity and fun involved in it. Cooking is the most enjoyable and exciting when I have the opportunity to experiment with new recipes.
I learned to cook with little or no conscious effort as I enjoy trying out delicacies from different cultures and comparing them to the dishes I am familiar with. To improve my cooking I try to think out of the box, by searching the internet for new recipes, cooking style, and seeking advice from experts, friends, and family. Cooking is a form of informal learning that allows me to express my feelings. As an adventurous person, I love the feeling of satisfaction that I did something different from the norms.
Hidden Curriculum in Learning to Cook
The process of cooking sparked my curiosity as a child and awakened my interest in learning without my knowing. I just wanted to participate in the magic of the moment and learn all that I could. In my view, learning becomes more meaningful as one’s needs, interests, and participation were put into consideration. For example, while learning to cook, I also learned to weigh, and measure ingredients, as well as time my cooking which enhance my ability to think, thus, helping in developing my mathematical skills. Thus, Kliebard (1982) further pointed out that mathematical reasoning was believed to have the effect of strengthening the power of reasoning (p. 11) . I have also learned to use the computer and the internet to search for information related to cooking as I was initially aversive to using technology.
In retrospect of my learning experience in cooking what stood out for me is the method set off by my grandmother, she saw beyond the cooking lesson and so prepared my mind to be receptive to learning. She does this by introducing songs and storytelling as we work together. I was indirectly taught the values and norms of good cooking, which in turn will keep the family healthy and strong. Some schools of thought might suggest that this could be referred to as a hidden curriculum, the inclusion of songs and storytelling, which has prepared me to learn to cook.
According to Jerald (2006), the hidden curriculum is a tacit curriculum that expresses and represents attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors, conveyed or communicated without an awareness intent; it is conveyed indirectly by words and actions that are parts of the life of everyone in a society. Just like my grandmother, it has been the traditions of most African women to sing or tell stories while they cook as this has been used to teach the values and knowledge of not just cooking, but everyday living. I believe that planners of the educational curriculum should begin to see past the knowledge content of school, but to examine issues that enhance student learning.
Fulya (2009) explains that the hidden curriculum involves various interests, cultural forms, struggles, agreements, compromise, and informality that is brought into formal learning (p.70). This fact from Fulya clarified my learning experience in my grandmother’s backyard kitchen where I gradually started developing a desire to cook. The work of various researchers brought the hidden curriculum to light; it is acknowledged as the socialization process of schooling that prepares students to be involved in social relationships and effectively collaborate with modern industrial society (Fulya. 2009, p. 70). Therefore, it might be safe to say that reforming education will take creativity to a new height as stakeholders in education have to model a new way of teaching and learning that will incorporate the process of informal education.
Benefits of Cooking as an Informal education
Based on my experience of learning to cook, I am of the view that informal education begins from home and prepares the child for formal learning. However, informal learning is often underrated, overlooked, and not considered as valid learning, because according to some school of thought, it is difficult to measure. On the other hand, formal learning is said to be highly structured and requires step by step instructions and specific measurements of learning outcomes. However, I agree with the school of thought that inferred that informal learning is not strict. It is flexible and does not require specific rules and regulations to operate. For example, home cooking allows individual learners discretion in the use of ingredients and other materials. This helps build a learner’s self-esteem and the basic skills required for formal learning.
Furthermore, practical cooking at home for me is an informal education that stands as a scaffold on which my formal education is supported. Therefore, I believe that without informal learning, we would never be able to cope in a formal learning environment. This is a fact that cannot be ignored as it resonates with Conner (n.d.) thoughts, that most learning does not take place in a formal setting but occurs through processes not structured. She asserted that informal learning accounts for over 75% of the learning taking place in a formal setting. For example, every child learns to speak, brush their teeth, and show good manners starting from home. Thus, the adage that says ‘education begins at home,’ proved to be true, in my case.
The Personal Relevance Theory of Out of School Learning
As an educator, I believe my cooking experience has not only helped develop my mathematical skills but shape the way I learn, teach, and relate with people. Therefore, I have come to realize that children learn valuable skills that are relevant to their future growth from home. This form of learning agrees with Yildirim’s (2008)’s ideology of out-of-school learning, a learning environment that is made outside of the school borders in a planned and programmed way which also includes entertainment and personal interests (p.27). He further stated that out of school learning provides a more natural, flexible and entertaining environment when compared to the education provided in schools as it enables students to gain different experiences with different activities, rather than making learning dependent on books and classroom atmosphere.
As I think of the relevance of a child’s home experience I try to capture this to the environment I create in and out of the classroom. Therefore, to make my teaching come to life for my students, I use songs and stories that are familiar to them and relevant to the subject theme under consideration. This keeps them motivated while learning and having fun at the same time. This agrees with Maria Montessori’s concept of practical life that prepares a homelike environment that allows children to develop by acting out and thinking by themselves. For instance, in Montessori education, children learn to dress themselves, help in cooking, put their things away, and take an active part in their household, neighborhood, and school activities.
This is in harmony with the personal relevance theory, as proposed by Fulya (2009) referring to a Teacher ‘as a good gardener who cannot change the basic endowment children possess but who can provide the kind of environment that can nurture whatever aptitudes they bring with them into the world’ (p. 70). Thus, echoing the need for students to be involved in their learning. Through this curriculum, students can take part in creating personal and customized learning experiences that are both informal and integrative. It is my opinion that the purpose of learning should be to help students to critically reflect on what they are passionate about and create the opportunity and right environment for them to thrive.
Further, the aspect of Development of Cognitive Processes forwarded by Thorndike made it clear that schools must focus on structuring the Curriculum not on content but on building a strong mind through practical applications. Additionally, he emphasized that the main goal of practical learning is to prepare learners for the unknown future.
Informal Learning – Connecting with the real world
In as much as I do not advocate against structured learning, I shared the argument put forward by Ableman (2005) that informal learning takes education outside, and away from the classroom and connects us with the real world or natural environment. Louv (2008) also stated that much of human learning comes from doing which involves active participation and experience. I am positive that students learn better when they are involved in the process of seeking answers to their questions and personal curiosity. It is crystal clear that informal learning is what keeps us vibrant, mentally motivated, and interested in learning as we interact with the world around us. I disagree with the notion that because it cannot be quantified easily, it is not essential. Studies have shown the opposite.
My passion for cooking has allowed me to build on my self-confidence, which consolidated my experience in everyday teaching. Kolb (1984) proposed that knowledge is continuously derived from and tested out in the experiences of the learner. He inferred that learning occurs as we navigate the uncertainties of the world around us, through expectation and experience. Thus, concluding that learning is a continuous process, where we do not only learn new ideas but dispose of or modify old ones (p.1).
Sager (2013), moreover, he maintained that education is not just a formal system of learning with standardization and structures. It is also made up of informal education, a training system that has no formal structure of learning (p.7). My experience in cooking has helped me to meet new friends, share experiences, memories, and learn new things. It is not just fun and interesting for me to cook for my family and friends but cooking allows me to continually learn, enhance my cognitive skills, and ultimately connect with the real world.