November 1, 2010
The Prevalent Oblivion
In the opening lines of the Shakespearean play Hamlet, the audience witnesses a number of characters who seem to be out of touch with reality. The play begins as Bernardo and Marcellus recount their experiences with “[that] thing” from the previous two nights to Horatio (I.I.21). The two soldiers try to convince Horatio of the “dreaded sight” they have witnessed, but Horatio refuses to be convinced as he explains, “’twill not appear” (I.I.29). It is not until the unidentifiable figure appears a few lines later that Horatio begins to believe. The first two scenes of the first act of Hamlet highlight Horatio as the character who is most in touch with reality. When Horatio is first introduced into the story, he refuses to believe in these sights that Bernardo and Marcellus claim that have witnessed. His loyalty to the age-old adage “I’ll believe when I see it” is a testament to his awareness of reality. Moreover, when the figure does appear Marcellus tells Horatio to talk to it because he is a “scholar” (I.I.42). His recognition as an educated individual reinforces the claim that he is the most in touch character with reality. After Horatio has seen the figure and begins to believe, he is the one who provides reasoning and explanation for its presence. It is Horatio that proclaims that “[the ghost’s presence] bodes some strange eruption to [their] state” (I.I.69). Ultimately, it is Horatio’s standing as the educated individual of the group that grants him the title of most in touch individual with reality.
November 2, 2010
Like Father, Like Son
In the third scene of the first act, Polonius gives his son advice on life and how to be a man. He says a number of things, such as “Be thou familiar but by no means vulgar,” “Beware / Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in, / Bear’t, that the opposed may beware of thee” and “Take each man’s censure, but...