Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2 "Aeneas' tale"

In act 2 scene 2, Aeneas’ tale alludes to many aspects in Hamlet’s life. Another interpretation of the tale may resemble the death of King Hamlet.

The player starts off by saying “Anon he finds him//Striking too short at Greeks” (453-454). The player is speaking of Priam at this moment, who resembles King Hamlet. Priam is currently in battle with the Greeks at this moment. King Hamlet also battles against Fortinbras of Norway and manages to kill him. However, that attack is “too short” to reach young Fortinbras, who may come back for vengeance later in the play. Another character Pyrrhus may represent Claudius. In the tale, Pyrrhus slays Priam. As the First Player states, Pyrrhus and Priam are “unequal[ly] matched” (456). A piece of Claudius’ character is revealed by Shakespeare—he is ruthless, savage, and overwhelmingly powerful. Even his “wind of his [missed] sword [attack]” (458) is able to finish off his target.

Denmark is able to feel the loss of their highly-praised King Hamlet as he falls. Denmark seems “to feel this blow, with a flaming top” (460). The loss of the king places a country at risk of revolution and invasions. Without King Hamlet, events in Denmark will blaze up like fire. One example is uncle Fortinbras’ secret army to attack Denmark. Also, with the loss of a king, Claudius assumes the throne “as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood” (465). However, Denmark may not benefit at all from this enthronement. The First Player says that Phyrrus “did nothing” (467) indicating that Claudius is not a good king. But this brings up to the point: what Claudius’ goals are. He wants power, fame, glory, and the queen, but all of that will be gone if there is no action done as king. If only the queen were not there, he would stand unchallenged. This could be foreshadowing queen Gertrude’s death and the taking “away [of] her power” (479). The method of this death will be so sudden as if “down the hill of heaven, [plunging] as low as to [hell]” (481). By foreshadowing these events, Shakespeare portrays Claudius as a power hungry fiend.

The resemblances between Aenea’s tale and the world in which Hamlet currently resides in are almost identical. It is almost as if the tale is the path the play of Hamlet will follow.


Simon M 6 said...

Hamlet so far has been one of the easier books this year to write about. I found Halmet easier to understand than the other books for some strange reason. Writing about visual pieces prove to be easier for me.