Content Test 4-6

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In act II, scene i, Polonius says, "By indirections find directions out" (l. 64). What does he mean by that? How does such a comment reveal his character? Find another such witty or clever remark by another character, and explain how it reveals the character of its speaker.
When Polonius says, "By indirections find directions out," he means he wants Reynaldo to spy on his son, Laertes, with discretion. His remark reveals his suspicion and distrust towards Laertes. He wants to find out rumors of his son. He wants Reynaldo to lie to find out the truth. He also wants him to do it indirectly by roundabout means. Another character who says a witty remark is Hamlet when he converses with Polonius. As Polonius asks about Hamlet's well-being. Hamlet replies with wordplay confusing Polonius. It reveals his sensitivity and secretive attitude when Polonius is around.
Compare the way Hamlet responds to Polonius in act II, scene ii, lines 171-210, with how he responds to his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in lines 215-90. What do you learn about Hamlet from these responses?
The way Hamlet responds to Polonius is very sarcastic and insulting. He calls him a pimp and fish dealer and talks about Polonius by describing him indirectly. He also avoids him and pretends to not know him. The way he responds to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is how he would normally talk with friends and is very comfortable with them. They all jokingly call Fortune a strumpet and talk about how Denmark is a prison. He vents to them about humanity. He is not afraid to question why they're there. We learn that Hamlet keeps to himself and doesn't trust people. He knows it's suspicious for people to randomly talk to him and questions it.
In lines 270-282 of act II, scene ii, Hamlet delivers a lengthy explanation to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, ending with a rhetorical question. What is the substance of this speech? How does the imagery that Hamlet uses transition his speech from an assessment of himself to that of mankind as a whole?
The substance of Hamlet's speech is how there is a rift between how perfect mankind can be opposed to what they actually are. The imagery that Hamlet uses allows him to show a comparison between how nature created everything so perfectly and how man despite being perfect also has flaws.
In act II, scene ii, lines 236-37, Hamlet says, "Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." What assumptions underline Hamlet's response? What does he mean? Do you agree with what he says? He then says to his old friends, "I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw" (II.ii.330-31). What does this remark suggest about Hamlet's madness, about his "antic disposition" (I.v.172)? Is he mad? Is he acting? Explain.
In act II, scene ii, lines 246-47, Hamlet stated that Denmark is a prison. In these lines, he assumes that the people worry more about themselves than about Denmark, in addition, the people rely on the royal family to hold the responsibilities in Denmark. Later, Hamlet's remark on his madness suggests that he is only mad at certain times, but when he is mentally stable, he is more aware of what is going on. Hamlet may be acting, but he is also slipping into his personal madness.
What does the scene with the players (II.ii.367-472) reveal about Hamlet? How does the First Player's speech (II.ii.404-33) parallel Hamlet's situation?
The scene with the players reveal that Hamlet is interested in drama because he writes a whole new scene for the play and is good at acting crazy towards his family. It also reveals that Hamlet is cunning because there is a hidden agenda behind his actions. Hamlet wants to guilt trip King Claudius and admit he killed the former king. When the First Player says his speech, he tells a story about Pyrrhus killing Priam after hesitation out of rage. "And never did the Cyclops' hammer fall...With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword now falls on Priam." This is parallel to Hamlet's situation and his desire to kill King Claudius.
In act III, scene i, lines 56-90, Hamlet delivers his famous "To be, or not to be" speech, arguably the most recognized passage in English literature. What is he contemplating? What inner conflict is he pondering? What conclusions does he reach?
Hamlet is contemplating the decision between life and death. He compares death to a little sleep which he thinks wouldn't be so bad. In sleep, there is a chance of dreaming that could end up being a nightmare. Also, he believes death is something one experiences but never shares. In the end, fear holds us back from death, from everything.
Following his "To be, or not to be" soliloquy (III.i.56-90), why does Hamlet treat Ophelia so harshly? How does Ophelia describe Hamlet in lines 141-52? What does this description suggest about Hamlet before the time of the play? What does it suggest about the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia?
Following Hamlet's soliloquy, he treated Ophelia so harshly because he no longer trusts her for she might be a part of a trap. He became very occupied with his plans on revenge which made Ophelia think that he's a broken man. Ophelia felt that he is no longer the same guy she fell in-love with, and blames herself as the cause of his depression. Before the play, Hamlet became distant, pushing everyone away as he focused on being witty and elaborate about his plans. In the end, Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia turned questionable, for their bond, trust and love with one another seemingly drifted apart. Hamlet turned hostile, leaving Ophelia confused.
Hamlet's speech to the players at the beginning of act III, scene ii, has often been interpreted as a sort of aside from Shakespeare containing his philosophy of acting. How else can it be interpreted? How do Hamlet's instructions tie in to some of the themes of the play?
From Hamlet's speech to the players in the beginning of act III, scene ii, many have inferred that Shakespeare was using it to show his philosophy of acting. Our interpretation was that Hamlet was giving that players advice on how to act better, based on how he has been faking his outbursts in real life. He shows in his words and actions that there is a certain time and place to be dramatic. Polonius is a prime example of how the players shouldn't act, seeing as he has frequent outbursts and over exaggerates many situations, which could also be the reason as to why Hamlet dislikes him. This can tie into the theme of the entire play, which is justice, because in order to achieve the prevailing truth about his father's death, Hamlet must act exquisitely.
In act III, scene iii, lines 73-96, Hamlet has a perfect opportunity to kill his uncle and avenge his murdered father. Instead, makes a speech. Why does he hesitate in killing Claudius? Do you think we are meant to respect his piety or despise his cowardice? If you combine this incident with Hamlet's soliloquy at the end of act II, does it reveal something about Hamlet? About a theme of the Play?
Hamlet hesitates in killing Claudius because he believes killing his uncle while he is praying will send him to heaven. Hamlet wants total revenge, and that can't happen if Claudius is in heaven. We are meant to respect his piety because his tone sounds genuine in his frustration. When combining this incident with Hamlet's soliloquy in act II, it reveals that Hamlet is unstable and depressed at his situation. He seems to be stalling repeatedly from killing Claudius. The theme between these two incidents is that over-thinking can weaken your resolve.
Why do you think the Ghost is visible to Horatio and the guards in act I, scenes i and iv, but not to Gertrude in act III, scene iv? Does the murder of Polonius in this scene make you reassess whether the Ghost is in fact a demon, and not the ghost of Hamlet's father?
The Ghost appears only to those he wants to see him. He appears to Hamlet to avenge his death, but needed Horatio and the guards to help Hamlet believe the Ghost was real. Gertrude was not needed in the Ghost's tasks which is why she did not see him. The Ghost had no relation to Polonius's death. His death was not intended because Hamlet thought Polonius was Claudius. The Ghost was Hamlet's father not a demon; he was only there to remind Hamlet of his task: revenge.
Notice Hamlet's behavior toward Ophelia in act III, scene i. Why do you think — in dramatic, structural, and thematic terms — we have not observed a scene between Hamlet and Ophelia until this point?
In act III, scene i, Hamlet's behavior towards Ophelia is harsh and insulting. He shows that he's unloving and angry through remarks such as telling her to go to a nunnery. In structural terms, we haven't observed a scene between them because Polonius told Ophelia to avoid him. In dramatic terms, this scene is also made for Claudius and Polonius to test their theory behind Hamlet's madness. This also builds up Hamlet's madness. Thematically, this scene only proves that love doesn't drive Hamlet's madness, and it is in fact, revenge.
What has driven Ophelia mad in act IV, scene v? What does her behavior suggest about the relationship between her and Hamlet? Cite specific lines to support your answer.
Ophelia's relationship with Hamlet and the death of her father, Polonius, drive her mad in act V, scene v. Her father's death pushes her to madness. She believes Hamlet doesn't love her anymore because she isn't a virgin. She sings that he wants to marry her, but it's too late because they already slept together. This suggests that Hamlet only used Ophelia, taking advantage of her, although she really loves him.
How does Laertes respond to his father's death? to Ophelia's? How do his responses compare to Hamlet's reaction to the death of his father?
Laertes responds to his father's death by wanting revenge. When Laertes finds out Ophelia is dead he challenges Hamlet in a duel. His responses compares to Hamlet's reaction to the death of his father by both of them wanting revenge. They both have revenge driven in them because of their loved ones being killed.
Why does Hamlet give his dying support to Fortinbras (V.ii.316-22)? Explain in detail.
Hamlet gives his dying support to Fortinbras because he sees himself in Fortinbras. They both feel the need to finish their father's business, avenging their deaths. Fortinbras wants to avenge his father by reclaiming the land taken away from King Hamlet, Prince Hamlet's father. Hamlet, on the other hand, wants to avenge his father's death by killing the man who murdered his father, King Claudius. This feeling of revenge is what Hamlet sees in Fortinbras, which is similar to feelings of his own.
In William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day, what do the metaphors in lines 1-8 assert? Why does the speaker emphasize life's brevity? Describe the shift in topic beginning in line 9. How do these lines both deny and echo the subject of lines 1-8?
The metaphors in lines 1-8 assert that the subject's beauty is better than a summer's day. The speaker emphasizes life's brevity to convey the fact that life is short but the subject's beauty never ages. In line 9, the poem shifts from mentioning negatives about a summer's day, like winds being too rough and the temperature being too hot, to positives about the subject's beauty. Line 9 denies lines 1-8 because he now uses summer to compare the subject's beauty, but also echoes those lines because the beauty of summer still cannot compare to the subject's beauty
In William Shakespeare's Sonnet 29: When in Disgrace With Fortune and Men's Eyes, how does the speaker's mood change in lines 9-14? What is the speaker's mood like in the previous lines? According to the couplet, what brings about the change?
In the sonnet, When in Disgrace With Fortune and Men's Eyes, the initial mood the speaker sets is that of a depressed, lonely, and outcast person. In line 9-14, the speaker's mood shifts from contempt to content. His mood changes to feeling at ease after thinking about his lover. The couplet at the end shows how although the speaker is poor in fortune, he feels rich in love-the only wealth he needs. Also, the love he has with the subject is so precious, he wouldn't trade places with kings.
In William Shakespeare's Sonnet 30: When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought, what is the metaphor being brought out by the word "canceled" in line 7? In what sense might a "woe" of love be canceled? Explain the metaphor of "expense" in line 8.
In Sonnet 30, the metaphor being brought out by the word "canceled" is that of a lost love or relationship. A woe of love might be canceled through time, like recovering from a former lover after a heartbreak. In line 8, the speaker uses the word "expense" to say that the cost of a bad relationship is the time and effort you spent in it. The wasted effort and repercussions of a breakup can hurt, but time heals all "woes."
In William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds, describe the varying ideas about love explored in the three quatrains. What does the concluding couplet contribute to the poem's argument about love?
Sonnet 116 is about how love can't be altered. The first quatrain explains how the speaker thinks love is unchangeable and if the feeling of loving someone is true, then it can't be lost. In the second quatrain, the speaker compares love to a guiding star to show that love leads the way to those willing to follow. In the third quatrain, the speaker talks about how love is not subject to time; true love is eternal. The ending couplet contributes to the poem's argument about love because it suggests that if his ideas of love aren't true, then no one's ever loved before.
In William Shakespeare's Sonnet 130: My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun, what conventional images does the poem ridicule? In light of the last two lines, do you think the speaker intends the images as insults? If not as insults, how should they be taken?
In Sonnet 130, the speaker talks about the "perfect" way a woman is expected to look like in that era, and how that image is nothing like his lover. Although throughout most of the poem, the speaker seems to be insulting his mistress, in reality he's trying to explain how he loves her as she is. The last couplet ties the poem together by showing that his love is rare and his lover is incomparable to the highest of expectations.
In Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing," how is the setting of the story's frame, a woman standing at an ironing board, critical to the story's themes?
The poem, "I Stand Here Ironing," is about how it is better to let go and accept what can't be changed and move forward. The frame of the poem is the speaker ironing and reminiscing about the regret she had about raising her daughter. It's critical to the theme because it shows how hard she is working now, trying to be a good parent, and how she can't "iron" out the "wrinkles" of her past.
In Sylvia Plath's "Daddy," how would you characterize the father in this poem? Pay attention to specific comparisons that the speaker makes—either literally or through metaphor—between historical events and figures and her father. Examine the repeated allusions to Nazis, Hitler, and death camps.
I would describe the father as controlling and unattached. The speaker compares him to a shoe in the beginning of the poem and herself the foot, as to say she felt trapped and imprisoned by him. She also compares him to a Nazi and herself the Jew. Historically, Nazis hunted Jews and despised them which's h shows just how she hates her father.
The word understory is defined as "a layer of vegetation beneath the main canopy of a forest." Why would the poet Craig Santos Perez title his poem "From understory?" Explain your answer using examples from the poem.
Craig Santos Perez titled the poem "From understory" to show how his poem has multiple layers of stories within it like the layers of a rainforest. There's a top layer, multiple middle layers, and a bottom layer, both in a rainforest and the poem. The several stories being told were about his wife and daughter, the ocean culture, and current events. In the present timeline, the wife takes care of her daughter while several current situations occur, such as missing and murdered women. However, it also mentions several stories from the past, the history of the culture, such as "the rape of oceania."
In Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese," how does the nature imagery throughout the poem help us to understand what Oliver means by "the family of things" (1.17)? Overall, do you find this poem sad or hopeful? Explain.
When the speaker says, "the family of things," Oliver uses it to connect nature with us as to say that everything has a relationship. Lines 12-18, show the connection between humans and the world, like we're wild geese being called home by nature. She also uses imagery to paint a picture of hopefulness in our lonely lives to show how we always have a place in this world, "no matter how lonely" we become. Overall, the poem gives off a sense of promise and confidence in desperate times becoming better.
Who is Robert Walton? What is he searching for? What is his attitude towards his quest? What do these details suggest to you about his character? Explain.
Robert Walton is a sea captain who is searching for a shorter way to the north pole through the arctic ocean. His attitude towards the quest is that since he wants to be the first one there, he will do anything to do that including taking high risks for him and his crew. It shows that his character is headstrong and determined. His ambitiousness is what drives him to be so willing and daring.
Walton has a thirst for knowledge, as the stranger once said. What details suggest that both are willing to make sacrifices in the search for knowledge? Do they seem unusual in this respect? Explain.
Walton left his family for his voyage and research. Victor spent all his time learning about science and even sacrificed his health and social life for the creation of life. Walton's thirst for knowledge of exploration lead him to complete isolation. Victor too ostracized himself from society by creating life which lead to disaster. They later became alone and unhappy due to the outcome of their thirst for knowledge.
Who is Elizabeth and how does Frankenstein feel about her? What does their relationship tell you about Frankenstein's values and personality? Explain.
Elizabeth is the orphan that was taken in by Victor's family. They were raised together and he has always cared about her. While creating the monster, Victor cut off contact with "the woman he loves," but they later find their way back to each other by getting married. That shows that he values his work before his personal life and well-being.
What is Frankenstein's purpose in pursuing science? What does he study? How can Frankenstein's initial response to the success of his experiment be interpreted? Explain.
Frankenstein's fascination with life and death fuels his desire to pursue science. M. Waldman's lectures inspire Frankenstein to create life. Frankenstein has interest in natural philosophy and studies the works of Agrippa, Magnus, and Paracelsus. After his success, his imagination ran and wanted to create a giant being. Frankenstein wanted to "pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation" (3.17) The response to the success of his creation is viewed as something hideous which can also embody Frankenstein's horrible mistake.
Frankenstein says, "I shunned my fellow creature as if I had been guilty of a crime." Identify specific examples from the text that illustrate Frankenstein's isolation from others. What does this say about his personality? Explain.
Frankenstein isolates himself from his family by avoiding their letters as he progresses in the making of a new life. He was too engaged with his creation that he alienates himself and shuns his health. It shows how ambitious and determined Frankenstein is in his pursuit of reanimating the dead. At the beginning of the quote, "I shunned my fellow creature," also reveals his quiet shame about his creation because while making the creature, he purposely cuts off society. In the last line, "guilty of a crime," he knows what he is making is morally wrong and that the outside world would be repulsed by the nature of his experiments.