Monday, March 8, 2010

"The Embassy of Death: An Essay on HAMLET"

Do you agree with G. Wilson Knight's claim?  Why or why not?  Support your arguments with direct evidence from the play and Knight's essay.

37 comments:

  1. If Knight is trying to say that Hamlet is evil and Claudius is innocent, then I have to disagree with that.
    Even though Claudius felt remorse for killing his brother, and he is good to his people, and he is trying to get them away from fighting a war, he still killed his brother. I think that if he REALLY felt bad, then he wouldn't be able to sit there and enjoy being king and enjoy being with his brother's wife (but he is). And then him going after his nephew when he realizes that he may know about how he was involved in King Hamlet's death doesn't help either. He did all these things knowing that if he did, he'd be able to live this wonderful life as king. And it's even worse because it's his own family that he's going after. Anyone who can feel okay enough to do that is... not good.
    Knight also calls Hamlet inhuman. And I don't really understand why he thinks that. I mean, Hamlet is very human. He's feeling all this depression because of his father's death and then all this resentment towards Claudius. If he let his emotions get the best of him... it's because he IS just human. And then there's also the fact that Hamlet is still young; to lose a father earlier than most others do and then find out that he died because he was murdered. I don't think that anyone would take it lightly.
    If Claudius had not decided to kill Prince Hamlet, then I would have thought that he wasn't that bad because of the remorse that he showed for killing his brother. But because he decided that he needed to kill ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER... I just find it rather hard to see him as someone morally good, because I can't see how King Hamlet's dying could possibly benefit anyone other then himself.

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  2. I agree that Claudius is at fault for killing his brother. However, like Knight said, Claudius was also forced to act and punish Hamlet.
    To me, I thought Claudius was being kind to Hamlet, telling him to stay in Denmark in the beginning of the book. But because Hamlet was so rude and unkind to Claudius, it caused people to worry. Eventually Hamlet didnt trust anyone and acidentally kills Polonius. His "acting" stepped up to a different level. He murdered someone and its a serious crime so Claudius has to punish him. But people can argue Claudius is just covering up and acting like a kind uncle when really he's waiting for Hamlet to screw up so he can punish him. But there is no reason to think he isnt a good ruler or father because in the play when the messengers he sent to Norway came back, he welcomed them and considered their comforts. Like atsu said in class, theres no reason to believe King Hamlet was a better ruler because Hamlet mainly speaks about his dad. He always speaks highly of him but theres no other person in the play
    to back that up. So Claudius probably is a better ruler. And so with that...Do you guys think the marraige of Ophelia and Claudius is appropriate?Considering they ARE the king and queen, they would need to marry fast in order to keep the kingdom in order. So does that old belief that women shouldnt get remarried(especially to a relative) still stand? If claudius IS a good ruler(as the essay by Knight states) and Hamlet's father was dead...who else would be a better ruler but Claudius?
    Some people wonder why Hamlet wasnt the king after his father died...I was thinking it was because Hamlet was younger and inexperienced. He was smart yes but Claudius was older and wiser and probably does a better job.
    I also agree that Hamlet is human. He is grieving and confused. He has all these emotions that are mixed up. Hes indecisive. Humans arent perfect and are emotional.

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  3. If Knight is trying to say that Hamlet is a dualized personality I would have to agree. his supportive evidence shows Hamlet as having several archetypes. One for example is that of a god, Knight explains that because he is detached from society or does not feel as he belongs with the people. That enables him to see what are their motives and weaknesses, which also reminds me of Dr. Manhattan (Watchmen) being a god yet seeing everything that is wrong within people. Furthermore he is also the joker, by using his wits elaborates on puns and ridicules characters such as Polonius by saying old people lack wit and is wrinkled. Additionally Knight puts an emphasis on his cynical smile as he is dragged to England, which demonstrates what Knight is exploring as an act of evil.
    After looking up Knights suggestion of the similarities with Stavrogin, I noticed that this other character from the novel “The Possessed” is anti-social and has his manipulative ways with people.

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  4. I would have to agree with Marissel's disagreement on Knight's opinion on Claudis with reservations. Claudis does seem to care for Hamlet at the beginning of the play, begging him to stay home and trying to convince him to move on from his father's death.However, Claudius's alterior motives to keep Hamlet is to keep a close eye on him,and him telling Hamlet to move on seems a bit harsh when he says it. To say "Claudius can hardly be blamed for his later actions" is absurd. Claudius should have known that there would be certain consequences for his deed of killing his own brother.Hamlet goes mad because of his father's death. Had King Hamlet never been murdered, the young Hamlet never would have become "a danger to the state." But Claudius's greed for the throne and love for the queen cause him to commit a horrible act.To consider someone driven by greed like that as a "kind and gentle king" is not logical in my mind. As to Hamlet being inhumman, Knight may be referring to Hamlet's in depth thought on death causing him to think beyond what most men think. He no longer lives for himself but rather to poison all those around him, like "acid eating into metal." He is not human in that he does not take part in human festivities but rather is driven to get revenge, which in the process hurts all those around him.
    Death plays a major part in this play. The death of the king leads to chaos and anxiety lurking over the state of Denmark.Hamlet is confused on the matter of death and in the end many die.
    Does anyone think there is another claim? Maybe having to do with interpretations of the characters or of death?

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  5. I agree with Knight but not all of it. I agree with Knight that Claudius was a good king in that his kingdom was stable and didnt have any conflicts that threatened Denmark. However i do not agree that Claudius was innoncent. Claudius murdering his brother was an action that led Claudius to his consequences in the end. I agree with Aabra in that saying "Claudius can hardly be blamed for his later actions" is absurd. I also agree with Knight in that Hamlet is inhuman because Hamlet is wrapped up in his thoughts and focused on his revenge. This makes him an inactive person and maybe this is why Knight considered Hamlet inhuman. In the essay, Knight portrays the ghost as a devil that influenced Hamlet to orchestrate horrible acts such as killing Polonius. I agree with Knight in that the ghost influenced Hamlet the most. If Hamlet never saw the ghost then he would not have acted so foolishly. Instead he would have still be wrapped up in his thoughts, wondering about what happened to his father King Hamlet.
    Throughout the essay, I noticed that Knight refers to Macbeth and King Lear and it says that those did not contrast Hamlet, but aided it. How do Macbeth and King Lear aid Hamlet??

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  6. There's no doubt that Claudius is a pretty good king. But, like someone mentioned in class, why did Claudius even kill King Hamlet? The play doesn't mention anything about King Hamlet ever being this awful king who needed to be taken down. So while it's just so awesome that Claudius is king, does that mean that things weren't great under King Hamlet? I mean why kill him? We don't know, but it's not really out of the ordinary for people to kill for power. Why should Claudius be any different? Like Knight said, he's just human.
    But so is Hamlet. People in class kept on talking about how if their own fathers were murdered, they wouldn't want to go and take revenge. But I think it's just a lot easier for us to say that because we still have our fathers and the chances of them being murdered by someone that we trust is.... well it's just unimaginable for most of us.
    But Hamlet is taking revenge not just because his father was killed by his own brother. But his dad is in HELL suffering, because he never even got the chance to ask for forgiveness for all of his own sins. So even in the afterlife, where you should be able to rest in peace, he's suffering. And then that was also the last thing that he could possibly do for his dad; his father died so suddenly, and now he's back asking for Hamlet to do one thing.
    But maybe that ghost was a demon. I mean, who asks their own son to commit murder? That's a pretty big sin. Wouldn't he end up going to hell too? The father was talking about how awful it is in hell and he's basically asking Hamlet to do something bad enough that he too will end up in hell. What father would want his son to follow him where where he'd only experience misery and pain?

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  7. Claudius probably killed King Hamlet because he thought he would be a better leader...since we are unaware of how great of a ruler King Hamlet even was, we can guess that Claudius is also a good ruler, possibly better.
    I agree the ghost influenced Hamlet the most to take revenge. However, I’m not so sure that it was actually a demon or if it was just his imagination.
    People question whether hamlet is truly crazy or not. He gets so out of control that it seems so real. To be able to do that I am guessing you have to be experienced? But I’m just thinking he was truly crazy to begin with…that he created the ghost in his mind because of all that grief and sadness he had because of his dads death. However, people argue that since the guards saw the ghost…it was not his imagination. However, they never TALKED to the ghost like Hamlet. Hamlet could have made up what his dad said in his mind. He could have imagined his father telling him to kill Claudius just because he was so upset his mother got married someone. The guards in my opinion probably saw the ghost of King Hamlet too because they were saddened by his sudden death.

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  9. I agree with lmllavore. Because we don't know how great of a leader King Hamlet was, we are left to interpret the story in different ways. Do you think Shakespeare made the beginning ambigous on purpose so that the play is able to be interpreted in different ways? For example, there are few details on King Hamlet's defeat over King Fortinbras and Claudius' motives for murdering his own brother. If so, Shakespeare is a genius (:
    Also, I don't know if anyone watches Secret Life of the American Teenager but Hamlet's situation reminds me of Grace's. For example, like Hamlet, Grace's father tradgically died and her mom got a boyfriend and decided to remarry really soon. I know Grace's father wasn't killed or anything, but it just reminded me of it.

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  10. I do not think that Claudius is a better ruler because in the very beginning before we even started reading the book mr. Domingo gave us backround information on Hamlet. He mentions that King Hamlet was a hero to his people. Also I agree with Marissell's argument that there is no way Claudius can be a good guy if he can kill his brother and take the throne.As for Hamlet, I do not think he is a bad guy, just a victim of his own imagination.... which leads him on a crazy chase for vengeance

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  11. Therefore I disagree with Knight

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  12. Out of all the ways you can interpret HAMLET, Knight had a very extreme and exotic view of things. His claim is that the theme of the play is death, but I disagree. After finishing HAMLET, I saw themes such as suffering and madness can and will spread to those who you influence and something like revenge isn't a good solution. What Knight did was go to the root of the problem and he called it the theme. I like the way Shakespeare wrote HAMLET particularly on his ambiguity for some events. He purposely makes the reader come up with a scheme of what actually happened, and it is brilliant. Each reader can individually add their own kick to it the story. A lot of the things Knight wrote about did not make sense at all, sometimes his support actually supports his claim at times but it seems like Knight is unable to interpret it at a normal level. Knights absurd claim is as follows, "Claudius, as he appears in the play, is not a criminal." "[Hamlet] is a superman among men," is a very extreme statement because he is the one who goes mad and drives everyone to death. In conclusion i think Knight had a very complex and detailed argument but for critics who know HAMLET are not very likely to be persuaded by this essay.

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  13. see Kriz, you don't sound stupid. =)

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  14. In my opinion, I think Claudius had killed the King for his own selfish
    purposes. If Claudius was king, he would have basically everything: the power,
    the throne, and even the queen. So perhaps Claudius had killed his brother out
    of jealousy. (Think it similar to that EPT we wrote not so long ago; the one
    about feeling “threatened” towards close people who are more successful than we
    are) I agree with Knight that people can relate to Claudius in a way, in making
    bad choices in order to have happiness, but I disagree with how Knight states
    that Claudius “can hardly be blamed.” I agree with Marissel that Hamlet is not
    “inhuman” as Knight describes him, because it is normal to have feelings of
    revenge and hate.
    After reading Knight’s essay, who would you say is the real antagonist of the
    play?
    Who is the real blame and main source of the tragedy? Is it Claudius? Or would
    it be Hamlet for knowing too much? If so, do you think that Shakespeare can be
    implying that “ignorance is bliss?”

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  15. Despite the fact that Knight proves a good point when analyzing Claudius, I know it is wrong to take someone's life no matter what the circumstances are. I believe that Claudius was wrong in killing King Hamlet and Prince Hamlet was wrong in killing many other characters. I started to think that Hamlet was apathetic and didn't portay much remorse after each murder he commited because he was traumatized by the murder of his own father. Also, I think that because Claudius killed King Hamlet, Prince Hamlet in a sense thought it was okay to kill Claudius, kind of like the idea of monkey see, monkey do. Therefore, I do not agree with Knight but I also do not agree that Hamlet is a victim because even though he started off as one, in the end he was the victimizer.
    Haha and thanks Kima :D

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  16. Several people said that it is not unusual to kill someone to take power for themself but still, that doesn't make such an act the right thing to do. If Claudius is such the good guy and good king Knight makes him out to be, he would have just made a simple suggestion to King Hamlet about how to run things rather than killing him. I think that if it were true, someone would feel that King Hamlet deserved what he got but nobody, not even Claudius says this.
    Knight's claim about Claudius being the victim has to BS. Claudius is the one who unjustly killed King Hamlet and set the events of the play in motion and even if he is truly sorry for what he did, he still will be punished. If you murder someone for no good reason, saying sorry isn't going to get you out of spending the rest of life in jail. Just because Hamlet may have taken his revenge thing a little to far, that doesn't make Claudius a victim. Besides, if Claudius was truly sorry, he would have apologized to Hamlet and accept the consequences rather than killing him too. It shows that Claudius may have repented but was unwilling to face the consequences.

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  17. Nick Pandaan Period 1

    Whoa.. Is this a period 1 party?

    After re reading the essay, I notice that Knight says that despite killing his brother, Claudius is a good King. What makes him a good King? Was he not portrayed as drinking and partying? I do not recall what he did that makes him a good King. (Besides perhaps trying to send Hamlet away to England because he is looking out for his country. If you even interpret it that way.)

    If you don't feel like reading that, What makes Claudius a good King?

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  18. Nick Pandaan Period 1

    Furthermore, I agree with Chris Johnson's idea that Claudius did not have a good reason to kill King Hamlet

    Lastly, when Knight was comparing Hamlet to Macbeth and King Lear and how they are all painful stories, I wonder if this reflects how Shakespeare felt and if he was always upset with life?

    Does anyone have any ideas?

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  19. Before i had read this essay, many of us had misconstrued the idea that Hamlet was the protagonist of the play and Claudius was the antagonist. However, in the play, Knight is trying to say that Hamlet is evil and Claudius is innocent. He tries to portray Claudius as "every sign of being an excellent diplomatist and king" thus trying to shine a light on Claudius to convince people that he's good. Claudius is bent upon maintaining his own power. He may have killed King Hamlet because he may have believed that he could have made a better king. His love for Gertrude may be a strategic move to help him make way to throne. I agree with Aabra that "Claudius can hardly be blamed for his later actions" is absurd, knowing that he would face consequences for the actions he committed. This makes Hamlet go mad over his father's death. Knight says that the theme of Hamlet is death, however vengeance could tie in to that too because throughout the play, Hamlet's main objective is avenging his father. I found it funny how Hamlet cant kill anyone because its a sin but he is able to kill Claudius. Furthermore, Hamlet has a right to feel this way because he lacks love from his mother, Gertrude, and she is about to marry his uncle, Claudius. This goes back to the whole "oedipus complex" thing where he shows intense jealousy and resentment towards Gertrude for betraying his love, hatred towards Claudius for gaining Gertrude's affection, and his inability to love a younger woman. Thus leading to his behavior towards Ophelia. Furthermore Hamlet being inhuman, could be as a result to his mind set only on vengeance. He "accomplishes to torment them all, terrorize them." This makes everyone around him fearful except his one friend, Horatio. Knowing that Hamlet is inhuman and insane, Horatio could be used as a device to prove that Hamlet is sane because he has a friend.

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  20. I agree with Chris that Claudius did not have a good reason to kill his brother. I think Claudius was power hungry. Gertrude just remarried to Claudius because of the fact that women cannot function by themselves. They need a male to lean to or male to support them. This idea all goes back to the idea of Patriachy.
    The essay refers to when Claudius answers King of Norway's letter. Knight says that "reservation of detailed attention when once he knows the main issues are clear;the courteous yet dignified attitude to his subordinates and the true leader's consideration for their comfort" to portray Claudius as a good King with leadership to satisfy his people. But this is only the beginning of the story. As the story progresses on I think Claudius becomes a bad king because of all the conflicts around him.

    I was wondering if there were different themes in Hamlet, not just death. What do you think??

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  21. This is kind of irrelevant to Knight's essay, but I was just looking at the cover of my book and noticed the play, Hamlet, is known for the picture of Yorrick's skull. Do you think that specific scene symbolizes some kind of shift in Hamlet's feelings towards revenge or something? Who knows!

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  22. i agree with nicolas when he said that claudius did not have a good reason for killing king Hamlet. i disagree with Knights claim that claudius is good and hamlet is evil, claudius is evil and this is shown when he kills his brother and marries his wife. If it was not for claudius killing the king, Hamlet would of never done what he did and go around being "evil". I think what Hamlet did was wrong when he killed polonius but none of that would of occured if claudius would of never murdered his own brother. I felt that although throughout the play we were reminded that claudius did kill his own brother the king, all the negativity was not focused on it anymore but was all put on Hamlets actions. i think if the people in the castle would of known what was going maybe they might of had a better understanding of Hamlets actions but might of looked at him like he was crazy because he was talking to a ghost. I honestly think if the king would of just crossed over none of this would of happened and it could of all been avoided but then the play would not be a tragedy. i ask the same question that alot of people in my first period were wondering, why did claudius even kill the king? maybe if we would of seen before the killing of him we would be able to understand his motives behind killing the king and see his point of view. when knight says hamlet is inhuman i disagree, Hamlet does have a right to be angry and depressed, he has just found out that his uncle claudius who has just married his mother not even two months after his father was murdered by his uncle and now his fathers ghost is haunting him is alot to take on. he feels the need to avenge his father and although killing those around him may not be the right away i saw his point of view and felt sorry for him .

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  23. Alright here it goes.

    I agree with what many of my fellow classmates have believe, that Knight's claim is incorrect. I give props to Kaven because he caught the information that King Hamlet was a hero to his people (from Mr. Domingo's notes.)

    Well, I still believe (even though my classmates may disagree) that Knight points out the misconceptions of the characters through his point of view. Knowing that there are multiple interpretations of Hamlet, Knight is presenting his case. Yet, I disagree with him.

    I completely agree with everything that Aabra wrote (then again, who disagrees with Aabra?:P)
    She brings up that Knight views Hamlet as "inhuman" because of his actions and thoughts. After listening to what my classmates have somewhat stated, the emotions of anger, remorse, etc. prove that he is indeed human.

    Although many people blame Hamlet or Claudius for the downfall of many characters, I believe Gertrude should take some of the blame. She is Hamlet's mother and should be comforting Hamlet after the surprising death of King Hamlet. Also, she marry's her late husband's brother without much thought, and in my opinion, shows little sympathy towards the death.

    Kaitlyn brings up some good points also. The evidence of Claudius's greed is evident throughout the play, yet is somewhat diminished in the essay to prove Knight's claim. In response to her question, both Hamlet's knowledge and Claudius are both to blame. Hamlet's preoccupation of revenge blinds him to do what is right. After all, isn't Hamlet Catholic? Being Catholic myself, we preach forgiveness, even from those who have severely hurt us. While i'm still in the religious train of thought, shouldn't there have been a priest or someone to counsel Hamlet? (he is of royal descent after all) Although Knight claims that Claudius is good because of Hamlet's "inhumanness", he still is the antagonist of the play. He was the one who murdered King Hamlet and caused Hamlet to turn "inhuman." Also in response to the theme "ignorance is bliss," I believe that this may be true for this play. For all we know, if Hamlet never knew the truth about his father's death then he wouldn't have been angry with Claudius or anoyone else. On the other hand if Claudius didn't know that Hamlet knew that he killed King Hamlet, then it maybe would have been only Claudius that died instead of a whole cast of characters.

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  24. Frances Lee from Per. 1

    Hi. .
    I strongly disagree with G. Wilson Knight in his essay about how Claudius is innocent because if he was really innocent, he shouldn’t have killed his own brother. Like Marissel said, why would he be enjoying being the new husband of Gertrude? Knight says that Claudius shows every sign of being an excellent diplomatist and king. He describes how Claudius put effort into keeping Denmark out of war is being a good king. I do not disagree with this, but this does not excuse the fact that Claudius murdered his brother for his selfish desires (throne, power, Gertrude, etc.).
    When Knight says that Claudius is the typical kindly uncle, besides being a good king, I think that it is not true. If Claudius was a good uncle, he should have thought about how traumatizing it would be for hamlet if his father was killed. I think that when Claudius gives advice to hamlet about his exaggerated mourning for his father’s death, it is common sense however he can also say this in annoyance or to cover up his faults. Also when Claudius tries to get rid of Hamlet for “the sake of Denmark” I think that this was another selfish reason of Claudius. Knight states that Hamlet is a continual fear to Claudius, a reminder of his Crime. This begins to contradict because Claudius could have tried to get rid of Hamlet because he does not want the guilt to be right in front of him.
    Knight also states that Hamlet is inhuman. I do not think that this is true because all the events that happened to Hamlet make it reasonable for him to go mad. I mean, first he sees his father’s ghost, then he finds out the truth about his father’s death which is traumatizing for Hamlet, and eventually, he goes mad while becoming so obsessed with seeking vengeance on behalf of his father’s unfair death. This leads back to how Claudius is not innocent. Oh, by the way, I also agree with how Kaven said “As for Hamlet, I do not think he is a bad guy, just a victim of his own imagination.... which leads him on a crazy chase for vengeance”.

    In the end of the play, Claudius tries to kill Hamlet this time. HOW IS HE INNOCENT WHEN HE TRIES TO MURDER ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER?! With this reason I do not understand how Claudius can be innocent in any way. In my opinion, Knight seems to think that Claudius’ faults would be canceled out or simplified with his good deeds. What do you guys think?

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  25. woah.... that was long. but any who.. to add on.... or i forgot to say..

    i agree with whoever said that gertrude is part of the problem. i also think that Claudius is innocent because of the "i'm in love with Gertrude" thing. That's a sin. and about the oedipus complex..... i think that maybe Claudius wanted a close eye on Hamlet and wanted him dead since hamlet is a reminder of his murder and because why would he want to take care of a "son" that isn't his? you know how if you watch those soap operas where the woman wants a child but has trouble getting one so the family adopts a kid but later has a kid of her own flesh and blood? and then the woman truely loves her own daughter/son than the adopted one? or she prefers one kid over the other? well yeah, i think that this can be one possible explanation for Claudius wanting to kill hamlet with poison (←which is why he isn't innocent). [maybe i just wtch too many korean soap operas ^^]

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  27. Like many of my classmates, I agree that both Claudius and Hamlet were at fault throughout the course of the play; Claudius for initially murdering King Hamlet, and Hamlet for feeling the desire to avenge his father, as well as allowing that desire to consume his entire life. While Knight is correct in claiming that Hamlet's inability to let go inevitably contrubites to the downfall of the play's characters, I do not agree that it makes Hamlet inhumane; afterall, is passion not one of the most complex and human feelings? Therefore, I do not think that placing the blame solely on Hamlet's shoulders is fair. The way that I see it, Hamlet has a couple of double standards. For example, Hamlet is so outraged that Claudius has murdered his father, he sees it only fair that Claudius pays with his own death. If Hamlet is following his "an eye for an eye" philosophy, then who get to claim Hamlet's life? Why shouldn't Laertes get to murder Hamlet for killing Polonius?
    Also, I do not believe that Knight can fully defend Claudius and not expect anyone to disagree. While seeking revenge may not be the best way to get back at Claudius, Hamlet does have the right to be angry; afterall, Claudius is suddenly his "father" and calling all of the shots in Hamlet's life. For example, Claudius takes away Hamlet's father, then courts and marries his mother, sends his old friends to spy on him, and finally, gets Polonius to tell his daughter to deny Hamlet's affections. Knight argues that Hamlet pushes everyone away, but how can you expect Hamlet to trust anyone, when everyone around him seems tainted by Claudius?
    Another thing that I find interesting is Knight's claim that the thematic idea of Hamlet is death. Can't it also be love? I know that Hamlet is a tragic work, but the reason behind most of the action is love and passion. Hamlet loved his father, and so feels like it's his duty to get revenge. Ophelia loves both Hamlet and her father and brother, which leads to her unhappiness and eventual madness.
    What do you guys think?

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  28. First off, i think that Knight claims how Claudius is being misjudged through his act of killing his own brother. Also, that Hamlet is seen as "inhuman" after the death of his father. I'd say that I agree to Knight's claim to a certain extent.

    Throughout the misconceptions of Claudius' character, I can see how Knight describes him to be this "excellent diplomatist and king." I believe that Claudius' motive in killing his brother was to rule the people, as well as wanting Gertrude. Although he committed a murder of his own flesh and blood, he has got Denmark's government working smoothly. He didn't seem to do any harm to others, other than Hamlet. This is when I think that Hamlet isn't "inhuman," if he's greatly affected by his father's death. *Random: Since there are references to how they are Christians and committing suicide is prohibited, wouldn't killing a relative count too?!... Hamlet's insanity begins to build after his father past away and his "inhuman" self was triggered by him seeing his father's ghost. To me, I think inhuman to be someone with no emotions or straight up crazy, but Hamlet isn't crazy! He really cared for and loved his father. Obviously more than the mother, Gertrude. Hamlet's insanity seemed to spread to others he associated with. Through his tragic flaw, those who were connected to King Claudius somehow, got in his way when he avenges for his father. In the end, I guess Hamlet just wasn't right to become King. Claudius has proved to be on the throne. The fact that he planned the murder of his brother to reach his desires, doesn't make him someone to look up to. Ultimately, we are able to notice that Hamlet and Claudius are alike from each other in regards to manipulating others to get what they yearn for. Like father, like son? :D hah. Polonius, Ophelia, Laertes, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, all "league themselves" to Claudius because he has that power to do so. Ooo Maybe he figured that since he's now king, he can order anyone to kill Hamlet. The only person who befriends Hamlet, is Horatio. He's like a dog, he is loyal and obeys Hamlet. Hamlet managed to lure in Ophelia but rejected her afterwards. He is characterized to have a dual personality. The way that Knight recognizes him to be inhuman, corresponds to his actions of doing without thinking. His act of continuously stabbing Polonius and only assuming that it was Claudius, began the domino effect. Moving along... going back to the notes Domingo had us jot down, it says that Hamlet represents a warrior hero from epics; Renaissance man. Renaissance meaning like a renewal of life? Soo Hamlet might have made an impact if he were to be king. Did he want to be king? was he up for the responsibility? o.o ...

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  29. In the group I was in, I liked how someone brought up the connection of how men have superiority over women. "Hamlet" does correlate to the 1600s when women were being degraded. One of the major conflicts/ thematic ideas: Parents vs. Children (fathers vs. sons) If your haven't yet notice, the play only contains two women, and they seem to depend on men. Ophelia for example, is controlled by her father when he says he does not want her with Hamlet. Once her father died that's when she started her madness ways. She also lost Hamlet's attention, and Laertes wasn't there for ongoing grief of Polonius. With Gertrude, she seemed to be just going with the flow of things. She didn't take action when her husband died, meaning she didn't truly love him. I don't get why she didn't try to help her son -.-' waaay to represent the women haha jk.

    The way that Claudius killed his brother did make me wonder why he killed him that way, but then I can see how it can symbolize the garden of eden. The garden of Eden was where the evil snake whispered into Adam and Eve's ear. This is like Claudius pouring poison in his brother ear!

    In conclusion, did Hamlet really lack in the qualities of humanity? Is Claudius really innocent with his manifest virtues? hmm.. They both sacrificed themselves, as they should know the consequences that come along their way. &they both died trying!

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  30. I disagree with G. Wilson Knight's claim that King Claudius is a good and gentle king and that Hamlet, as he considered, is inhuman. If King Claudius was a good and gentle king, then why did he murder King Hamlet just for the sake of being a king? I think that for King Claudius to commit a crime, especially having the courage to kill his own brother is out of respect very inappropriate. Also, King Claudius marries Gertrude, and knowing that she was the ex-wife of the late King Hamlet, who is his brother, how can he do such a thing? If Claudius was gentle, as Knight suggests him to be, then why does he go after the one his brother loved? It is an act of betrayal in Claudius's position because even though King Hamlet has died, Gertrude is still the one he loved. In addition, Knight suggests that Claudius is "the typical kindly uncle, besides being a good king," and again, I would have to disagree because I think that if he was the typical kindly uncle, then he would have handled his situation with Hamlet regarding his father's death very mutually and straightforwardly. But in this case, no confrontation has been made by King Claudius to straighten his faults, not even an attempt to explain himself. Also, the king's decisions to send Hamlet away and ordered him to be killed is not very good and gentle king and also, does not associate with being the typical kindly uncle. I understand that being a king, King Claudius is just protecting the state and its people from the harms that Hamlet can cause because of his vengeful actions. However, I think that if he was a kind uncle then he would have not order Hamlet to be killed because there is already a long distance from Denmark and England. I might just believe that King Claudius's is just protecting his throne and not really the state and its people, as he said, because I think that Hamlet being far away is enough reason to protect the country. Furthermore, I think that Knight is very wrong with his belief that King Claudius is a good and gentle king because in the play, he and Polonius try to spy on him. Back to Knight's suggestion that Claudius is a kindly uncle, I do not think that an uncle would spy on his "son," as what he calls him. In addition, Claudius gets Polonius to spy for him; for instance, the king has ordered Polonius to go behind the curtains as Hamlet and his mother talked. If King Claudius was the typical kindly uncle, I do not think that he would do something as big as spying and minding other people's business. If King Claudius was a good and gentle king and a typical kindly uncle then he would not do instances of actions such as murdering his own brother, marrying his brother’s love, ordering his nephew killed, and spying on Hamlet. This is why I disagree with Knight’s claim regarding King Claudius.

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  31. On the other hand, regarding Hamlet, I also disagree with Knight’s claim that Hamlet is inhuman. If he was inhuman, I think that many of the things he would portray in the play would be something like Claudius. What I mean by that is that Claudius is inhuman. I think that because as the king, I know that he is capable of pretty much everything he wants to do but typically, the actions of the king that I know of are not usually like the actions that King Claudius has made in the play. For instance, I have not heard of a real, nonfiction story about a king murdering his own brother and not really mourning about it. The same goes with Gertrude, the queen, where in the play she moves on so quickly and not show much of her grievances (as I know, he did not have any) because she jumped quickly to marrying King Claudius. But at the same time, my knowledge about this aspect of the play may just be too narrow. Maybe it is true that some kings murder their own brother for the sake of being a king and then marries the ex-wife of the late king. I do not know anything about a real story that associates with that but like what I said, my knowledge on this subject may just be too narrow or I might have forgotten things of this nature. Going back to Hamlet, I think that Hamlet is very humanlike after all because many of his actions in the play can be something that a human is capable of doing. For instance, Hamlet is seeking for revenge for his father’s death and I think it is normal that a child seek for revenge after knowing that her/his father has died, especially if it was the same instance as the one in the play, where the uncle is the one who killed the father. Also, Hamlet being emotional is very humanlike and I know this because I have been very emotional before and I have seen people emotional even on something as small as losing a game. However, I think that Knight is saying that Hamlet is inhuman because of the fact that he sees Ghost, who happens to be his father. But because no one else sees the ghost but a couple more friends and only Hamlet, not even the queen, I can understand that Knight might have been coming from that aspect of the story. But still, I am sticking to my opinion that Hamlet is very humanlike. Also, I say that he is because I do not really see any other instances that may convey that Hamlet is inhuman except the fact that he sees and talks to a ghost. Other than that, I think that all his actions are humanlike and that King Claudius is inhuman.

    Again, I disagree with Knight’s claim that King Claudius is a good and gentle king and a typical kindly uncle because he is responsible for killing King Hamlet, which I think is ridiculous especially that there are no other reasons for the action and because I think marrying the ex-wife of the late king is very wrong and it is truly a betrayal that both the king and the queen jump quickly into a relationship without showing much of grievances. Regarding Hamlet, King Claudius is not a kindly uncle because he orders Hamlet to be killed even if he was already far away from the state, which I think is enough reason to move on and live a normal life, just like if someone got exiled. Then lastly, I also disagree on Knight’s claim about Hamlet being inhuman. I believe that the characteristics given to Hamlet in the play is very humanlike except the fact that he sees and talks to a ghost. I believe that King Claudius is the one with a characteristic of inhuman because of his actions that I have not heard before. Well, I may have but I also may have just forgotten (:

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  32. The theme of Hamlet is death. I don’t completely agree with the statement.
    Yes death is one, among the many themes expressed in the play. Not only does Shakespeare bring a feeling of depressive death into the play, he strongly supports a sense mystery and ambiguity. Death is expressed through out the entire play as Polonius and Ophelia both die in tragic acts, yet their deaths both support a more me meaningful and important meaning. Polonius brought his own demise by being sneaky and overly interested in other characters business. Ophelia’s death, which came upon her after her sudden trip to insanity, was affected majorly by Hamlets actions. Her death also delta with the tone of love felt in the play. Thought love was not a major focus in Hamlet the emotions felt between Ophelia and Hamlet were an important part of the plot. The sudden separation of the two, when Hamlet laves Ophelia telling her to “Get thee to a nunnery,” adds to Ophelia’s madness. With the death of love Ophelia met her own demise.

    Death is a major focus, its idea spread through out the play, however I noticed at some parts Hamlet questioned death. As in the passage “To be or not to be..” Hamlet rampages on questioning if he should kill himself and face death. By using understatements he tries to make death appear less solemn and scary. Hamlet compares death to sleeping, ending his life as if he is simply resting his eyes and dream? However, by the end of the play he has scared himself out of suicide. Does death take on a positive or negative connotation in the play? This was an important question that arose as I was reading the book. Hamlet talks about death explaining each side he sees. Eventually Hamlet’s inactions take control and he is unable to kill himself because of the fears he has about death. Will Hamlet be happier in life or in death? This was another question that passed through my mind as I read. Hamlet lives in sorrow and depression, words that shadow death. Something I do not understand is why he puts himself through the pain. As G. Wilson Knight states in his essay Hamlet, “The Hamlet universe is one of healthy and robust life, good-nature, humor, romantic strength, and welfare,” Hamlet appears to have a decent life. He is the Prince of Denmark, his mother is a queen, he lives in a palace, and he even has sweet Ophelia falling in love with him. With so many positive elements, I think Hamlet was a little too pessimistic. Yes his father did die and his mother married his uncle who just happened to be the culprit of his father’s murder, but I still think he had a lot to live for.

    The Ghost of Hamlet also stuck my interest. I thought the movie scene was very interesting, though hard to understand, I ended up reading the scene twice to get a better understanding. King Hamlets ghost can be interpreted differently by other characters.

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  33. In the essay by G. Wilson Knight, i have to disagree with the idea that death is the theme of the story. Although death repeats very much throughout the play, i don't believe that death is the theme itself. Or, the only theme throughout the play. Death is just one of the main themes int he play. Moreover, i believe that death is the result of the betrayal, the existance of several secrets that is present throughout the play.
    Also, I would have to disagree when it comes to King Claudius. He might be a good man at heart, but the fact that he murdered his brother cannot be overlooked as a meer mistake. Just because he is a good man, he still killed the late king, & in turn, he should not escape the consequences. I disagree strongly with Knight, in these respects.
    In response to his view on Hamlet, I would have to disagree as well. Hamlet may not be the same as other people, but that doesn't make him evil and someone to avoid. He might be exposed to something evil, but that doesn't mean that he should be shunned by the people he is close to. In my eyes, Hamlet is just very misunderstood. I do agree however, with the author's idea that Hamlet acts as Claudius' conscience. Throughout the play, Hamlet serves as a constant reminder of the vile deed that King Claudius had performed. He might not be the happy go lucky man that everyone so desires him to be, but he does have a point. He's seen death, and is aware of it. I don't believe that Hamlet is considered a danger to the state, in my eyes, he just thinks differently. Also, he knows about the murder of his father. Surely he'd want to avenge his father's death.
    One other thing. Claudius' faults aren't forced upon him. He chose his fate for himself, and he deserves to face the consequences.

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  34. In the essay, The Embassy of Death by G. Wilson Knight, he discusses his beliefs of Claudius as the innocent and kind being while Hamlet is the "inhuman", reckless, and rude being. I am going to have to disagree with him mainly because if it were not for King Claudius' crime of murdering King Hamlet, there would be no visitation of a ghost, there would be no revenge, and the sequence of deaths that follow throughout the play would not have even occurred. If I were to say so myself, King Claudius created the "madness" of Prince Hamlet, and as King manipulated everyone, Queen Gertrude, Ophelia, Laertes, Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, into going along with his little diabolical plan. As it is not clear throughout the play, but Hamlet was merely playing a role as a "madman". By playing his role:doing what everyone, especially the King, had expected him to do, he actually played them with his own tricks and his wit.

    When reading Shakespeare, I believe, you cannot just simply read and understand. I believe that you have to read, understand, and fing the underlying messages that the play and Shakespeare offers throughout the whole play. There are messages in messages, making it difficult to interpret. One may see that in times, Claudius may seem as a good King or vice versa, and one may see that Hamlet is going out of his mind and vice versa. But I strongly disagree with Knight's disscussion of Hamlet being the bad guy and Claudius as the good guy. Whether or not King Hamlet was a good king or a bad king, the audience is unaware of it, but he still does not deserve the right to die like that, especially by his own brother. It is Claudius who is at fault for the tragedy of Hamlet, therefore he must face the consequences of his actions like Kailene had said.

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  35. In the essay "The Embassy of Death: An Essay on Hamlet", Knight writes on how the play revolves around death and how this is shown throught the scenes in the play. For example, Knight comments on how the first scenes describe death from the Ghost. Also, Knight writes on the dialogue between Hamlet with the King about Polonius. I agree with Knight that the general thought of death is suffused throughout the whole play. I noticed that in the play, the character's outlet to their problems is death. Claudius kills King Hamlet to take the throne, Prince Hamlet plots to kill Claudius as revenge, and Ophelia commits suicide because she cannot bear the pain of her father's death. Therefore, I can see why Knight would state that the maine theme reflected throughout the play is death.

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  36. I disagree with Knight's statement that Hamlet is an element of evil in the state of denmark. Although Hamlet is seen as insane and mad, I believe that this is so because it is a reaction from the betrayal of his mother, and corruption in ruling by Claudius. In my opinion, its very human of Hamlet to feel this way although his actions may have pushed him to be seen as insane. Everyone has different ways of dealing with their problems and Hamlet's outlet to his suffering does not make him evil. Insanity does not make a person evil.

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