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Major Works Datasheet

Major Works Datasheet

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AP English: Literature and Composition
Aly Shanon
Major Works Data Sheet
Title:
Hamlet
Author:
William Shakespeare
Date of Publication:
1603
Genre:
Tragedy
Biographical information about the author:
William Shakespeare, perhaps the greatest writer inthe English language and praised throughout theworld, was an English poet and playwright. Helived from 1564 to 1616. At first, Shakespearewrote mainly comedies, but towards the later yearsof his life shifted to works of tragedy. His playshave been translated into every language and are performed more often than those of any other  playwright. In Europe he is regarded as the “Bardof Avon," national poet. He lived in Stratford-upon-Avon with his wife and three children, wherehe partly owned a playing companycalled theLord  Chamberlain's Men. 
Historical information about the period of publication:
Hamlet was published in the early seventeenthcentury, London England. This period sparkeda growth of population, an increase in tradeand commerce, more respect for merchants,the wealthy upper class began building grandhomes and males attended grammar school.Francis Bacon enforced that people should notaccept that a theory is true just because aGreek philosopher stated it. He argued thatcareful observation and experiment wasessential to finding out how the natural worldworks.
Characteristics of the genre:
Shakespeare’s most admired tragedies were writtenin a between 1601 and 1608. In order for a work to be a tragedy, the protagonist must be an admirable but flawed character, with the audience able tounderstand nothing and sympathize with thecharacter. All of Shakespeare's tragic protagonistsare caable of both ood and evil.
Plot summary:
Hamlet, the son of the late King Hamlet of Denmark, is the protagonist of the play and is dealing with both inner and outer conflicts due to the recent death of his father. After King Hamlet's death, his brother,Claudius, is given the crown and weds King Hamlet's widow, Gertrude (Queen of Denmark and Hamlet’smother). Hamlet fears that Claudius murdered his own brother to become king of Denmark, and feels betrayedand agitated. Two officers, Marcellus and Barnardo, gather Hamlet's friend Horatio, and Hamlet to see the lateKing Hamlet's ghost appear at midnight. Hamlet claims the ghost informs him that Claudius has murderedKing Hamlet by poisoning him. Hamlet is left feeling more anger than he already felt and plans revenge for his father’s murder.In planning his revenge, Hamlet appears to be acting like a mad man. Hamlet persuades an actingcompany to reenact the King's death before Claudius, in the hopes of causing Claudius to mentally collapseand admit to murdering the King. Though Claudius grows angry, he does not admit to the murder. Hamlet'smother tries to reason with Hamlet after the play, while Polonius spies on them from behind a curtain. Hamlethears Polonius, thinking it is Claudius, and kills him through the curtain. Hamlet regrets the murder when hefinds out it was not Claudius. Claudius then sends Hamlet to England, accompanied by Rosencrantz andGuildenstern. Claudius instructs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that the English kill Hamlet when they arrivein England.While traveling to England, Hamlet finds Claudius’s orders and changes them so that Rosencrantz andGuildenstern are instructed to be killed. After this occurs, Hamlet is taken by pirates who return Hamlet toClaudius for a ransom. Claudius, who has already planned Hamlet’s death, arranges a sword duel betweenLaertes and Hamlet. Claudius plans to again use poison in murdering Hamlet. Hamlet switches swords withLaertes, and cuts and poisons Laertes undermining Claudius’s plan and Hamlet’s mother dies also being poisoned mistakenly. As Laertes dies, he admits of Claudius' evil. Hamlet stabs Claudius and begins to reflecton the many deaths which have just occurred. Hamlet instructs Horatio to share the true story of King Hamlet'sdeath along with
 
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's deaths to the people. Fortinbras, the prince of Norway,arrives from a conquest of England, and Hamlet's last dying wish is for Fortinbras to be crowned the new Kingof Denmark, and Hamlet dies after achieving his revenge and sharing his wishes.
 
Major Works Data SheetPage 2
Describe the author’s style:
At first, Shakespeare's plays were written in theconventional style of the day. As he continued towrite, he used a stylized language whichdifferentiated him from that of typical poetry.The poetry depends on extended, metaphors andconceits, and the language is often rhetorical— written for actors to declaim rather than speak.His characters are very well developed andspeak lines which have grown to be famous andgenius. His style has adapted the name“Shakespearian.”
An example that demonstrates the style:
Hamlet in Act III, scene i (58–90) speaks theinfamous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. This powerful speech truly demonstratesShakespeare’s ability to adequately expressthe complex workings of Hamlet’s mind. Thesoliloquy is written in iambic pentameter, buteach line has eleven syllables rather than ten,and the last of which is unstressed. This is agreat example of a Shakespearian stylewhich conveys intensity and reveals muchabout characters, by using a common meter of poetry, and altering it to add his own style.
 Memorable Quotes
Quote
“Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportion’d thoughthis act. Be thou familiar, but byno means vulgar” (I, iii).“To be, or not to be: that is thequestion” (III, i).
 
Significance
This speech is spoken by Polonius to Laertesshortly before Laertes leaves for France. Polonius, whois saying farewell to Laertes, gives him this list of instructions about how to behave before he sends himon his way. His fatherly advice is a list of typicalsayings of advice. Keep your thoughts to yourself; donot act rashly; treat people with familiarity but notexcessively so; hold on to old friends and be slow totrust new friends; avoid fighting but fight boldly if it isunavoidable; be a good listener; accept criticism but donot be judgmental; maintain a proper appearance; do not borrow or lend money; and be true to yourself. Thislong list of quite normal fatherly advice emphasizes theregularity of Laertes’ family life compared to Hamlet’s,as well as demonstrating the stereotypical father-sonrelationship.Perhaps Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquy,this speech is Hamlet’s reflection of the morallegitimacy of suicide in a world full of pain. Hamletreveals his inner conflict of whether or not to commitsuicide as a logical question: “To be, or not to be,” or inother words, to live or not to live. Hamlet then continuesto weigh the positives and negatives of life and death.Hamlet eventually concludes that the uncertainty of theafterlife is what prevents all of humanity fromcommitting suicide to end the pain of life. The speechshows Hamlet’s deeply passionate nature, as well as hislogical intellect to find a solution to his misery. He hasturned to religion and found it inadequate to help himeither kill himself or resolve to kill Claudius. Hamlet’slogical philosophical realization leaves him frustrated just the same.
 
Major Works Data SheetPage 3

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