Hamlet Notes For Exam Questions Notes
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PAPER 2 - HAMLET
1. The scope of a role does not depend on speech alone. There are times when Shakespeare uses gesture or mere physical presence as the primary means of impressing character-‐in-‐ action' (John Russell Brown) 2001.
SPEECH vs ACTION
2. EITHER 'The tragic flaw of the Shakespearean hero is not hubris, the classical presumption that nothing can happen to you, but the anxiety of insufficiency, the determination to become self-‐sufficient' (W.H. AUDEN).
3. Shakespearean tragedy is concerned as much with displacement as with death. New epochs are coming into being, brashly ousting a more humane past' (PHILIP EDWARDS).
CONCERNS OF TRAGEDY / ROLE OF DEATH
4. Plays are about the spaces in between the spoken word as much as about speech itself -‐ about how people react as much as how they act' (RICHARDEYRE).
SUBTEXT + LANGUAGE + ACTION
5. Ah, Kill me with thy weapon, not with words! /
My breast can better brook thy dagger's point /
Than can my ears that tragic history (Henry VI part 3) -‐ Consider the competing effectiveness of narrative and staged action in one or more plays 2004
NARRATIVE + STAGE ACTION
6. No action can be repealed; that is the revenger's justification. No action can be repeated; that is the revenger's tragedy. Discuss 2004
7. Tragedy repeatedly experiments with the apparent causelessnes of human deeds, for which explanations are only apparently adequate. Discuss. 2004
TRAGEDY + CAUSALITY
8. To hear of greater grief would lessen mine
(Malfi) How therapeutic are tragedies for the characters within them?
HEALING TRAGEDY 1.TEXTUAL VARIANTS 1603 Q1 -‐ Ascribed to W.S on title page. Claimed that it had been: 'diverse times acted by his Highnesse seruants in the Cittie of London: as also in the two Vniuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, and elsewhere'
1604 Q2 -‐ Resembles First Folio more than Q1 "'Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect Coppie" 1623 FF - First Folio edition Main textual difference between FF + Q2 / Q1:
• Creation of 4th act after Polonius's murder
• Ophelia's appearance with her hair down playing the lute
• Ghost in a night gowne (Greg claimed that this was "impossible for a serious edition"
• Q1 changes sequence of O's songs. Location + timing -‐ scene takes place in royal palace. Some time should have passed since previous scene as both O + L have heard
Are they Shakespearean revisions / improvements by actors / master copy from which others are created? Is the FF really the authority given it was PH? Heminge and Condell plead that their "abilities [be] considered" as they cannot "go beyonde
[their] own powers" -‐ make distinction between their actions / editorial choices and Shakespeare -‐ "the reputation his" an the errors therein "the faults ours, if any be committed" Financial motives / confliction -‐Epistle Dedicatory: "We have but collected them...without ambition either of selfe-profit, or fame; only to keepe the moment of so worthy a friend" But in Epistle to Reader: "the fate of all Bookes depends upon your capacities; and not of your heads alone, but of your purses!" Stage directions -‐ entrances / exits which DONT effect action.
• Q2 'Enter Horatio, Marcellus and Bernando" = FF
• "Enter Horatio, Barnard, and Marcellus" -‐ other than a reordering of characters and change of spelling, dramatic action / effect is not altered (not status / hierarchical effect of change in order) Stage Directions that DO effect action
• e.g. 4.5 opening convo between Horatio, Queen + Gentleman which begins G: "I will not speak with her"
• Response to either a request that she speak with O.
• Only Q2 lists Gentleman as present + it is plausible that the plea to speak came from him
• OR is it a non-‐verbal request e.g. cries from offstage of O herself?
• 4.5 = 211 lines in Q2, 214 in FF (4.1) and129 in Q1 (Scene 13) which omits
Gentleman + Horatio in opening dialogue and abbreviates King's reflections at 77-‐96.
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