Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Act 2 Scene 2 "Aeneas' tale"


lines 450-505


Ricki L5 said...

Shakespeare uses a number of allusions in the play Hamlet to reveal the intentions and characterizations of Hamlet and other characters in the play. One of which occurs in act 2, scene 2, lines 453-505 which alludes to the myth of Pyrrhus and his slaying of Priam.

The allusion starts when the first player begins to tell a tale of a battle in Troy. The moment the player speaks of is the slaying of Priam, the king of Troy, by Pyrrhus, Achilles’ son. According to the legend, Achilles was killed years earlier in the war, and his son was sent into battle. As the player progresses through the tale, he describes the moment before Pyrrhus’ sword comes down on Priam, and Pyrrhus pauses briefly:

But as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region; (Player, 468-472)

These lines describe the calm before a storm, in which is Pyrrhus’ pause before killing Priam. These two characters in the scene symbolize Hamlet’s intentions on killing Claudius. The line “A roused vengeance sets him new a-work…” (Line 473) is an example of how both Pyrrhus and Hamlet seek out revenge for the death of their fathers. The player continues his tale after being interrupted by Polonius, in which Hamlet reacts defensively. The player continues with Hecuba, the wife of Priam and queen of Troy, entering and wailing at the sight of her husband’s corpse. The player’s tale could very well foreshadow the events to come if Hamlet were to avenge his father’s death.

Quan T 6 said...

In Hamlet, Aeneas’s tale marks a strikingly similar resemblance to events which occur in Hamlet’s life. Shakespeare alludes to Hecuba in order to characterize Gertrude. This allusion may foreshadow future events pertaining to the story.

The First Player recites the tale of Hecuba. Ironically, this story regarding Hecuba resembles the life of Gertrude. The First Player refers to Hecuba as the “mobled queen” (487). A mobled queen is one that is wrapped up for protection and secrecy. In Greek mythology, Hecuba is known for seeking revenge against Polymnestor, who had murdered her son, Polydorus. Hecuba blinds the king Polymnestor and kills his children in revenge. Like Hecuba, Gertrude is also muffled to safeguard the secret regarding her abrupt marriage. Perhaps she had a grudge against the former King Hamlet. When Gertrude marries Claudius, she kills young Hamlet emotionally because she is over her dead husband’s death too quickly. After former King Hamlet’s death, the place where Gertrude’s “diadem [once] stood” (492) is replaced “for a robe” (492). As a widow, Gertrude would lose her status, wealth and power she holds on the throne. “'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounced” (496) if anyone see Gertrude lose all her powers. Gertrude’s sufferings would make “milch the burning eyes of heaven, and passion in the gods’” (503). Since her misery is enough to concern the gods, then it acceptable for Gertrude to ease her pains by any means. Therefore Gertrude feels that it is acceptable to prevent her loss of power by placing Claudius on the throne.

Gertrude’s similarity to Hecuba characterizes her as an ambitious person with strong desires to achieve her goals. She aims to seek revenge and does not falter until revenge has been achieved. Her ambitious characteristics also depict her as an inhuman power-hungry fiend. It seems that she is unwilling to loser her royal status as queen even if it means killing young Hamlet emotionally. Gertrude is self-centered. She is unable to imagine the thought of replacing her diadem for a regular robe cloth after the loss of her previous husband. By putting Claudius at the throne, she is able to maintain her royal powers as queen.

It is young Hamlet who tells the First Player and skip Aeneas’ story and “come to Hecuba” (486). Since it is Hamlet who suggests the players to act out Hecuba, it is likely that Hamlet also notices the similarities between Hecuba and Gertrude. Hamlet may have the actors perform this to test the reaction of his mother. Therefore, it characterizes Hamlet as a cunning man for thinking of this plan.

There are far too many similarities between Hecuba and Gertrude to ignore. It would not be surprising to see Gertrude’s fate following Hecuba’s fate to some extent.

Simon M 6 said...

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.

Linda Y 6 said...

The Aeneas tale appears to be an interpretation of Hamlet’s imagination and ongoing process toward insanity. When Hamlet requests the players to act out the slaughter of Priam by Pyrrhus, he describes the situation as:

“That lend a tyrannous and a damned light to their lord’s murther. Roasted in wrath and fire, and thus o’er-sized with coagulate gore...the hellist Pyrrhus old grandsire Priam seeks.”

Although Hamlet describes the scene as gory and bloody, he obviously characterizes himself as Pyrrhus. Hamlet, himself, seeks to murder Claudius even though he knows it would be an atrocious action for the country. By requesting the players to act out the scene, Hamlet imagines himself as Pyrrhus taking revenge for his father. The player says:

“Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls, repugnant to command. Unequal match’d Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide, but with the whiff and wind of his fell sword th’ unnerved father falls...”

When Pyrrhus slaughters Priam, he actually resists yet his sword and arm continues with the murder. Unconsciously, maybe Hamlet still cares about Claudius. Although he did kill his father, Claudius still remains as his uncle and a “father.” Hamlet struggles for the right decision either to take revenge or not. The dilemma drives him insane, which can also be a foreshadowing. Hamlet could eventually kill Claudius but would result in his insanity.

Emily T 6 said...

In Act 2 Scene 2 Hamlet uses interesting ways of getting his message across to Polonius and the audience. In this scene the players come to perform to Hamlet. They are sent as hired entertainment to please Hamlet. These players tell an interesting tale that Hamlet gets very into and Polonius does not enjoy it.

The story that the player is telling can depict how Hamlet is feeling prior to the player’s performance. The player tells of a soldier that is “unequal matched”(456). This soldier’s opponent is very much like Hamlets opponent King Claudius. Claudius has more power and authority over Hamlet and this makes Hamlet and easy triumph. Also Hamlet previously discussed his coward ness for not revenging his father death and the player describes a character as a man who stood there in a painting and “did nothing”(467). Hamlet feels like this and the player is telling Hamlets feeling throughout another story. The player then goes on to say “anon the dreadful thunder doth rend the region” (470). This line is stating that the region is facing a split. Which can foreshadow what is going to happen if Hamlet revenges his father’s death. The player later own refers to a “mobled queen”(487). Hamlet questions this idea of a mobled queen and Polonius says that it is “good”. I think this shows that many are aware that the queen is not being able to speak freely about the situation.

In this section Hamlet also give Polonius a very wise answer when Polonius expresses that the play is to long. Hamlet said “it shall be the barber’s with your beard” he then goes on to say that Polonius is “for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps” (485). Hamlet does not seem hesitant to disrespect Polonius. This shows that Hamlet thinks less of Polonius and he talks down to him.

Erika R. 6 said...

In act 2, scene 2, the player tells the Aeneas Tale, Hamlet keeps on saying things to Polonius. As Hamlet goes on doing the same thing later in the play, in this part of it, a part of the tale refers to the way Hamlet is acting and how he is treating Polonius.
So as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood
[And,] like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.
But as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region; so after Pyrrhus’ pause,
A roused vengeance sets him a new a-work,
And never did the Cyclops’ hammers fall… (Lines 465-475).
Hamlet assumes that Polonius had something to do with the death of his father, King Hamlet, and even though he knows what really happened to his dad, Hamlet has not yet done anything against Polonius or Claudius. This part of the tale says that “but as we often see, against some storm, a silence in the heavens, the rack stand still…” referring to Hamlet being like the heaven before a storm. Hamlet is, to a certain point, calm and silent, he laughs at Polonius but he has not yet accused him of anything. Hamlet seems to be waiting for something to start the “storm.” Polonius does not know how to explain Hamlet’s aptitude, and while he tries to get to Hamlet, Hamlet just stays “speechless” in a certain way, like Hamlet does not tell him anything concrete about what is going on in his head, but he keeps being rude to Polonius.
Also on line 483, Polonius says that the tale is too long, and Hamlet answers saying: “It shall to the barber’s with your beard” (Line 484). Hamlet is evidently treating Polonius in a rude way, and this might be foreshadowing what Hamlet is going to do later in the play. While right now Hamlet is acting in a weird way, his seems to be nothing to what he might do later in the book.

Laurie M 6 said...

In Act 2 Scene 2 of Hamlet by Shakespeare, in the lines 450-505 the Prince appoints actors to perform the myth of Pyrrhus and the slaying of Priam. Shakespeare uses Prince Hamlet’s claimed insanity to convey what is really going on in the prince’s mind.

In this scene the actors portray the death of Priam. During their performance Hamlet adds his ideas in order for the play to be performed the way he wants it to be. In this play Priam is slaughtered “Pyrrhus’ bleeding sword now falls on Priam” (476-475) Shakespeare’s word choice in this passage allows the audience to understand how intense Priam’s death was. This connects to the thought of King Hamlet’s death. Prince Hamlet has been greatly affected by the murder of his father. So much so some believe that he is losing his mind.

While the actors are performing Prince Hamlet adds his ideas. When Hamlet and Polonius are discussing some issues about the lines being “too long” (483) he adds that the player must emphasize the words “mobled queen” (487). The word “mobled” in this case is meant as being muffled. Priam’s queen is muffled as he is killed; as is Gertrude. In this scene, it is like the players are re-enacting the death of King Hamlet and like Priam’s queen is silent and can’t say anything because she is muffled Gertrude has the same reaction to King Hamlet’s death. This play is a complete retelling of Hamlet’s death.

Prince Hamlet is seen to be a bit on the crazy side at this point. His father has been killed; Claudius has now married his mother and has become king. So in order to deal with his depression he puts on this play to convey that he knows and understands what truly happened to his father.

Mario R. 5 said...

In the performance by player 1 can be seen as a forshadowing of events that are yet to come. I believe that hamlet picks this for the player to perfomer to performer because he is tring to under what he is going to do and what he will do he likes because this play is telling hamlet story for him.

To being, I will tell you the background of the story of Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus is the son of Achilles, who was killed by Paris during the Trojan war. Pyrrhus wants vengence for his father's death. Since Paris is already dead, he seeks out his family--including Paris' father, Priam. So Pyrrhus is basically a spitting image of Hamlet--a son seeking vengeance for his father's death.

Anon he finds him,
Striking too short at Greeks: his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command: unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base; and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for lo! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' the air to stick:
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood;
And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.(lines 455-467)

Pyrrhus has his sword poised to kill Priam. when for some reason, he hesitates--frozen for a moment. This hesitation could be a symbol of Hamlet's own hesitation in killing Claudius and seeking his own revenge for the murder of his father, Old Hamlet. Eventually Pyrrhus acts and take his vengence, and mercilessly kills Priam--hacking him into little bits. And it shows that Pyrrhus is a vicious sort. He is far less noble than his father, Achilles, who could show mercy. In these scene, reminds the reader of Claudius, who shows no mercy when it comes to getting what he wants. He kills his own brother for the crown and queen. He plots Hamlet's death when Hamlet seems a threat to him. This merciless hacking away at the corpse of Priam could also be a foreshadowing of the ultimate carnage that will result from Hamlet's vengence.

While reading thought the others blogs wanted to comment on Linda from period 6 when she says that this is hamlet’s imagination and ongoing process toward insanity. I agree that hamlet is going crazy. But I also believe that he is genius because he is planning his vengeance by using someone else plan.

Jill said...

I wonder if the moment in which Pyrrhus is hesitating is really the place in which Hamlet finds himself for much of the play after he has been charged with avenging his father's death. He is there, poised for revenge, but hesitates . . . waiting for the opportune moment, perhaps. Perhaps he is weighing the consequences of his actions. Or perhaps he is simply too pigeon livered to carry out the deed. Nonetheless, Hamlet's hesitation makes up a near three acts of the play and we see him, with wild eyes and sword raised, waiting for him to sweep to his revenge. Pyrrhus' moment of hesitation translates to a sort of world of hesitation on Hamlet's part. His sword is raised for a good three acts.