17 Oct 2012

Sample Essay: Hamlet’s Ophelia

Ophelia, simply known for being incapable of her own distress, has been known in the history for epitomizing the mystifying woman who is hard to grasp. For the critics of Shakespeare, she has always eluded as a character (Camden). She is depicted as a herione who meets a tragic end. Her character exudes the potential of becoming a tragically devastated woman who finallyloses er mind under the immense pressure by the social norms. Ophelis is a product of her environment, depicting the way a woman was supposed to be in the 16th and 17th century. She was an obedient child , a doting sister and a loyal wife. She played her duty unconditionally and blended into the roles of women of that time so finely that it was hard to find a more perfect woman in those times. The Hamlet’s Ophelia is one of the most distressed, one dimensional characters of its time. She acts out as a tragic herione who has the potential to overcome all the misfortunes wrecked on her, instead she dissolves into craziness, thus encompassing the true essence of tragedy. The character of Ophelia is important because of the dual nature of women that she represents. The purpose of the character is to display the viewpoint of hamlet about women. Hamlet’s twisted view about women as subjects of seduction only makes him hate Ophelia all the more. He takes Ophelia to be amongst all women who he thinks are insensitive sexual predators that lure men into their charms and sexuality and then trap them with their conniving manipulations. So Ophelia plays the role of Hamlet’s whore version of a woman while at the same time remaining a distinctive innocence and virtue that was the chastity of women at that time. Hamlet’s betrayal start with Gertrude and it moves along to Ophelia who becomes the predated under the obligation of being an obedient daughter and a loyal wife. Hamlet is enraged with his mother for being the woman of masked connivance and because of this hatred he projects his sarcasm and loath towards Ophelia.

Ophelia’s character helps us to experience the viewpoint of Hamlet and his gradual evolution into a loathsome man who believes that every woman is a whore. He believed that women who wear a cloak of purity and chastity of character are the ones who are laden with evil from inside. He also tool Ophelia’s father as a pimp who prostituted his daughter to spy on Hamlet and when the purpose was served told her to stop talking or meeting with him. Ophelia’s abject dismay in being torn between the obedience for her father and her love for Hamlet makes her decide to go for her father’s wishes and follow in suit. This is because she depicts a true example of a woman who is obsequious in nature and believes that her life is devoted to her father before marriage and to her husband after marriage. Therefore, Hamlet’s version of whore is a woman who is used not by one but many men. Ophelia is used by her father, brother and hamlet at various events throughout the play. However, what really instigated his view about Ophelia was the apparent innocence she wore in front and the way she presented herself to him in servitude, yet remained loyal to her treacherous father simultaneously. For Ophelia, she was just playing the part of being a daughter, when she decided to seduce Hamlet, she did it out of sheer love for her father and brother, and when she shunned Hamlet away, and she did it because her father told her so. Hamlet’s wrath was pointed towards Ophelia for choosing her father over Hamlet, this reminded Hamlet of Gertrude, his mother, who chose his new father over the old. So to Hamlet, both choices were increasingly “incestuous”.

From an audience point of view, Ophelia represents a quite distinctive character. She is the damsel in distress; a woman so wrought with the pain inflicted on her by her loved ones, that she is unable to take it through the end and loses her sanity. To us, Ophelia depicts the convoluted character of women that still resides in each of women. She is a daughter, a sister and a lover. And she is destined to play all those in the most perfect way possible. She has to be an obedient daughter, when unmarried she must obey her father, and she does not act because she is supposed. In fact, she does it out of the goodness of her character and the demands required by the social norms of that time. Likewise, when she becomes Hamlet’s wife, she does not relieve her loyalties from her father because she was supposed to, but because it was ingrained in her give herself up to her husband, in mind and body. So she strikes as a woman who is an emblem of goodness of heart and mind. She has her childlike loyalties towards her loved ones, clings to them for being hers and she is not aware of the darkness that her small acts could lead to (Mabillard).

Her whole character depicts simplicity and sheer loyalty towards those who care for her. She is an epitome of selfless affection. She is desperately in love with Hamlet but has to hold because of her father. So she stays away from him, but her heart stays pure. Once with Hamlet, she clings to the very memory of Hamlet when he was sweet to her and loves her till the end. She is there to defend him even when his whip like tongue tears her flesh apart. She seems incapable of her own distress and is not able to defend herself in front of hamlet. However, her immense suffering was obvious through her coy responses.

“Hamlet: …I did love you once.
Ophelia: Indeed, my, lord, you made me believe so.
Hamlet: You should not have believed me…I loved you not.
Ophelia: I was the more deceived”

A story written on Ophelia takes the play from the account of Ophelia. It divides the whole life of character into three parts and then highlights the key areas which lead to Ophelia’s gradual demise towards insanity. Part one of the book describes the early childhood of Ophelia and her transition towards womanhood and the love affair with Hamlet. The second part describes the sequence of the play as seen through the eyes of Ophelia. Finally the third part depicts the life of Ophelia after the play, thus giving readers food for thought about the escape of woman scorned from the shackles of dismay (Xirena). Ophelia’s slow descent to madness was directly related with the callous attitude of Hamlet and the death of her father took a final toll on her (Hamlet).

In conclusion, there were some very important aspects of Ophelia which need to be highlighted in this review. To start with, she was the archetypal obedient daughter that was the demand of the 16th and early 17th century role of a woman. This filial obedience makes Ophelia vulnerable to the abuse inflicted on her by Hamlet. He accuses her of being deceptive and disloyal towards him. He goes on to accusing her of “breeder of the sinner” and says that if she was to marry she would turn her husband into a monster. Finally, Ophelia gives in to the immense pressure given to her by those who loved her dearly. Her father’s death disturbs her greatly. Besides, given the harshness subjected to her by Hamlet she finally cracks in to the pressure. This comes as a tragic end to a woman who did everything out of purity of heart and selfless love for those she loved dearly. In the days of her insanity, she takes to singing brazen songs in which she described the tale of a woman who was tricked into losing her virginity by a monster. So Ophelia’s madness can be attributed to the immense patriarchal pressure of that time when men used to have the dominance and power on the society norm building. The character of Ophelia displays a woman torn between the love of her father and her lover. She is portrayed as an extremely compassionate woman and is subjected to unfair treatment at the hands of those who loved her dearly. This comes in contrast to the Hamlet’s version of her as someone who feigns insanity and madness. The death of Ophelia’s character is a mystery and many critics still regard as one of the most poorly understood act of the play. She drowns in an offstage sequence which leaves the audience perplexed and lets them ponder on the exact nature of death and its validity. She is taken as an erotic creature even at the time of her death. A mermaid-like woman who spent her like in quite grief and finally gave into insanity lies down with her clothes spread wide in waters which engulf her body in the waves of death and makes her a part of her own distress (Ophelia).

Works Cited

Camden, Carroll. “On Ophelia’s Madness.” Shakespeare Quarterly 15.2 (1964): 247-255.

Hamlet. “The Psychological Pain of Laertes and Ophelia.” 06 August 2011. tryshakespeare. 16 July 2012 <http://www.tryshakespeare.com/articles.php?article_id=29>.

Mabillard, Amanda. “Ophelia.” 20 August 2000. Shakespeare Online. 16 July 2012 << http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet/opheliacharacter.html >.>.

“Ophelia.” n.d. shmoop. 16 July 2012 <http://www.shmoop.com/hamlet/ophelia.html/>.

Xirena. “Book Review: Ophelia.” 25 November 2011. akralena. 16 July 2012 <http://akralena.blogspot.com/2011/11/book-review-ophelia.html#!/2011/11/book-review-ophelia.html>.

26 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: The Circle Of Life In Hamlet

The Lion King is nevertheless derived from Hamlet and has many diverse fundamentals that can formulate link with Shakespeare’s work. Both bear common themes of vengeance; uncertainty; clashes and authority. The Lion King sets in motion when Simba is born to the King, Musafa. This establishes the significance of the natural cycle. “You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the circle of life”. (The Lion King).

The concept of seeking vengeance, the unjust murder of someone was normally accepted in Elizabethan period and Hamlet seizes this perception to the boundaries. Hamlet’s search for retribution for his father’s assassination . In real meaning, the circle of vengeance ends with the death of Hamlet himself.becomes a necessity. This turns out to be his solitary principle and he looks as if he is ready to overlook all facets of his living, even his adoration for Ophelia. His proceedings become trivial to him, even supposing they indicate the tarnishing of his own existence. In his pursuit for vengeance, he unintentionally puts to death Ophelia’s father, Polonius, igniting Laertes to retaliate. A circle of vengeance with Laertes embarks on, as he joins hand with Claudius to take vengeance

King: “Now, Hamlet, where’s Polonius?”

Hamlet: “At supper.”

King: “At supper, where?”

Hamlet: “Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at him.  Your Worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else fat to us, and we fat ourselves for maggots: Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two dishes, but to one table: that’s the end.”

King: “Alas, alas!”

Hamlet: “A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.” (Shakespeare IV.iii.17-29).

Death materializes in both the plays as a key theme, and takes on many different forms. More rapidly investigation exposes that an assortment of this, leading to vengeance. If for each slaughter there must be a penalizing slaughter, the vicious circle would in no way finish. This is a concept that appears both in Hamlet as well as, The Lion King.

The greatest name that comes into mind when one speaks of English literature is William Shakespeare. His works stand tall in the golden pages of English literature, influencing most people of his generation and many more to follow. Shakespeare painted and breathed life into each character of his plays with his magical artistic skills. Such was the greatness and purity of the artist that he is believed to have given birth to a completely new form of classical writing that the English language is so proud of.

Tragedy, basically applies to literary and dramatic representations of actions which turn out to be disastrous for the chief character. Hamlet and Simba, being tragic heroes evoke our pity and terror as they turn out into a perfect blend of the crafty and the evil. It is usually a higher moral fiber and ethics that the audience seeks for in their hero. The hero emerges stronger if he is better than the audience in his morality. Shakespearean tragedy portrays Hamlet as a sufferer as he journeys from bliss to misery. He is led by hamartia or the error of judgment.

Some of the most famous tragedies of Shakespeare were staged between 1585 and 1625.Hamlet is an ideal paradigm of a tragic drama. However the hero of Hamlet is not so good a man to influence as the hero. He commits a tragic error but manages to capture the sympathy of the audience by his courage and insight. His antagonists are far more superior in their moral fiber. By the frankness of his aspiration and malice he arouses sympathy in a small proportion in the minds of the audience. Most Shakespearean tragedies make use of the inclusion of comic reliefs.

Hamlet’s character can be considered to be one of evil as the number of deaths become recurrent because of him. There may occur many other defects in Hamlet as there are many more noble virtues in them. One of them outweighs all the virtues and brings about the ruin of the hero. Although many people lose their lives as a result of their own self-centered blunders, there are others whose death is a result of exploitation from the sovereigns. This is the case of Polonius’ family. The real tragedy of Hamlet is not that of Hamlet or his family but of Polonius’ family because their deaths were not the consequence of sinful actions of their own but rather by their innocent involvement in the schemes of Claudius and Hamlet. The first character to die in Hamlet is Polonius. Although Polonius often acts in a deceitful manner when dealing with Hamlet, it is only because he is executing plans formulated by the king or queen to discover the nature of Hamlet’s malicious plans.

Hamlet depicts the apparent genetic disparity between men and women, used as a rationalization for forcing them into different social roles which limit and shape their outlook and action. The two women in the play, Ophelia and Gertrude have been the two dictating characters, adding radiant hues, thereby making the play eloquent. In contrast to the wicked image portrayed by Hamlet, Ophelia depicts a blissful portrayal of the very essence of women. Both Ophelia and Gertrude are the ones whom the men engage in their culpable plots. Prone to influence, they both are maneuvered more or less to the same extent by Hamlet and dragged into the circle of vengeance.

The demise of one sovereign shows the way to the rise of another. Simba is born to be the heir of the King and he can not refute his predestined responsibility as a lighthearted cub, Simba says, “just can’t wait to be king,” his mind-set is to a certain extent dissimilar from that of Hamlet, who is also blithe in the opening of the play, but does not want to be the ruler. Analogous to the scheme in Hamlet, Mufasa’s spirit comes into view to Simba, and strikes a chord regarding his duty, and repetitively advises Simba to bear him in mind. This is analogous as in Hamlet, the spirit of old Hamlet emerges and solicits Hamlet to settle scores with Claudius.

Polonius’ death further proves Hamlet’s malevolent schemes and starts off the vicious circle of death. The daughter of Polonius and Hamlet’s lady love, Ophelia is a character created to cultivate a submissive femininity in the play. Her facade is emblematic of the position that women were placed in at Shakespeare’s time. Her relationship with Hamlet is supposed to be romantic and meaningful, but is marked by misunderstanding, distrust, and brutality . She evolves as a pathetic, self expressive and docile figure full of passionate love for Hamlet, who advances towards her, and   instructs her to get herself to a nunnery. Aroused to the highest point of lividity, Hamlet says “there should be no more marriage”, and exits. This shatters Ophelia’s love, hope and aspiration and she is left intimidated, distressed, and tormented. Ophelia is torn apart by Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy,

“To be, or not to be, that is the Question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the minde to suffer
The Slings and Arrowes of outragious Fortune,
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,…

.. With this regard their Currants turne away,
And loose the name of Action” (Shakespeare,Act III, scene I)

An analysis of the tragic heroes, Hamlet and Simba reveals that, they are the most powerful character in politics, portrayed as strong characters with qualitative defects or flaws. No matter how rich in authority and accomplishment, both the heroes end in the final defeat of death, and tragedies. Tragic heroes are sure to confront death, no matter how powerful and glorious they have been during their life time. Hence Hamlet and Simba too make memorable characters with all their vices and ultimately triumph in the circle of life.


Shakespeare, William, Hamlet Publisher: Barnes & Noble; Pub. Date: January 2007

Shakespeare William, The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, Editor A. R. Braunmuller, Viking Adult, Nov 2002 ISBN: 9780141000589

https://isbndb.com/d/book/disneys_the_lion_king_a20.html –

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05 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: The Politics, Economy, and Liberal Cosmopolitanism of Venice

Justice and Mercy in “The Merchant of Venice”

The Merchant of Venice is one of the most frequently performed plays of Shakespeare. Written between 1594 and 1598 in Elizabethan England where the playwright lived, the play is thematically rich. The themes of mercy, religion (Christianity and anti-Semitism), love and revenge, law and justice are all inextricably interwoven into the plot lending it the complexity that is characteristic of human emotions and relationships. The inexplicable unfolding of these underlying emotions and ideas contribute to the drama. One school of critics are of the opinion that the play is fundamentally allegorical, addressing such themes as the victory of mercy over justice, New Testament forgiveness over Old Testament law and love over money. Shakespeare also portrays the economic trends of the Renaissance period, the growing power of money and emerging capitalism in Merchant of Venice.

The dramatist has interwoven the ideas of justice and mercy throughout the plot, rendering them one of the prominent themes. The Christian merchant Antonio was forced to enter into a contract with Jewish usurer Shylock when he had to borrow money from him to help his friend. His friend was Bassanio, who was living in debt, but required the funds to travel to Belmont and woo Portia, a rich heiress. Because most of Antonio’s money is tied up in his ships, he cannot help Bassanio, but agrees to post his property as collateral so Bassanio can obtain a loan. Bassanio borrows money from Shylock who had reason to hate Antonio and his Christian friends as they often ridiculed him. Antonio had treated Shylock disdainfully, had spat upon him and had threatened his livelihood by lending money to others without interest, Shylock insists on the condition that if funds were not returned in three months, Antonio must forfeit a pound of flesh. Antonio agrees to this strange condition, confident that his ships will return with merchandise soon and he will be able to repay the loan. Meanwhile when Shylock’s daughter Jessica elopes with Bassanio’s friend Lorenzo, taking with her jewels and gold and converts to Christianity, Shylock’s hatred for Antonio and his friends intensifies. This is depicted in Act 2, Scene 8, when Salanio and Salarino exchange news in a Venetian street. They inform him that Antonio’s ships are lost and ask him if he will exact the forfeit of his bond. Shylock answers that he will as he was always ill treated by Antonio and his friends. His sentiments are evident in the following extracts:

“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? (3. 1. 23)”

“…if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge; he hath disgraced me, and hinder’d me half a million, laughed at my losses, mock’d at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies – and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.” (3. 1. 47-52)

The multiple themes of justice and mercy, love and revenge, Christianity and anti-Semitism all come to a climax in the court room scene in Act 4, Scene 1.

..    At the Venetian court of justice before the Duke of Venice, the duke asks Shylock to show mercy by giving up his claim for a pound of flesh. Shylock refuses. Bassanio then offers Shylock more than he is owed, but Shylock continues to insist on exacting a pound of flesh. Nerissa, dressed like a law clerk, arrives and introduces the disguised Portia as Bellario, a learned doctor of law. Portia entreats for mercy on behalf of Antonio,

‘The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.” (4. 1. 180-193)

She tells Shylock mercy cannot be forced from someone; it must be freely given. Ordinary people are seldom asked to display this quality. It is a gift given from kings and rulers. Shakespeare explores the tension between justice and mercy through the attitudes of Shylock and Portia. Portia’s understanding of mercy is based on the way Christians in Shakespeare’s time understood the difference between the Old and New Testaments. According to the writings of St. Paul in the New Testament, the Old Testament depicts God as stern and exacting. The New Testament portrays a God who forgives rather than punishes and offers salvation to those who forgive others.

The theme of mercy also ties in with the theme of religion. Portia says, “it is an attribute to God himself” and refers to the God of the New Testament, who is seen as merciful. The idea that Christians are merciful is repeatedly enforced in the play. In the extract Shylock says that mercy is for fools, or Christians, “I’ll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool, to Christian intercessors.”

The theme of revenge is linked to the theme of religion as Shylock believes that revenge is a Christian quality (just as Portia believes that mercy is a Christian quality).

“If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? – why revenge!” (3. 1. 63-64)

Shylock seeks revenge by exploiting the power of the law, and Portia manipulates the law to turn it against Shylock.

This theme is also repeated in the scene that Shylock demands his justice by the letter of the law and the forfeit of his bond. Portia lets Shylock have the chance to take the moral path or the letter of his bond. Shylock insists on the penalty, complacent in the knowledge that law and justice is on his side, deaf to appeals for mercy. Then suddenly the balance of power in the trial changes. Portia warns Shylock that when he cuts away the pound of flesh, he must take only flesh, not blood; for the signed agreement calls only for a pound of flesh and nothing else.

‘Then take thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.” (4. 1. 308-312)

Portia expounds on mercy, but it is doubtful whether Sherlock was granted this mercy. All his worldly goods were to be divided between his daughter and Antonio, although Antonio gives them back on the condition that he gives up his religion and adopts Christianity.

“The Jew shall have all the justice, soft no haste!

He shall have nothing but the penalty.” (4. 1. 317)

Bloom in “Shakespeare’s Politics” says that Shylock and Antonio act as representatives of Judaism and Christianity, respectively, and that it is Shylock’s absolute deference to the law that necessarily brings about his downfall. In this interpretation, Bloom illustrates the limits of law as to its ability to ultimately protect and maintain justice.     In Tovey’s “The Golden Casket: An Interpretation of the Merchant of Venice”, the play is treated as an allegory relating philosophy and politics.

In “The Merchant of Venice”, justice and mercy are recurring themes, and the interplay between them has a key role in determining the outcome of the play.

Works Cited

1.     Bloom, Allan with Harry V. Jaffa. Shakespeare’s Politics, 3rd ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981. pp. 16

2.     Cummings, Michael J. The Merchant of Venice – A Study Guide, http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net, 2003.

3.     Tovey, Barbara. The Golden Casket: An Interpretation of The Merchant of Venice, pp. 261-287, ISI Books, 2000.

05 Sep 2009

Simple Essay: The School Of Prospero

The greatest name that comes into mind when one speaks of English literature is William Shakespeare.. Shakespeare painted and breathed life into each character of his plays with his magical artistic skills. Shakespeare’s character Prospero, weaves the plot around himself. He can be perceived as the Bard himself designing the fate of the play. His superb gift of language has hinted at the statesmanship of an English colonialist.

The Tempest is a marvelous creation of Shakespeare, abounding in supernatural illusions and magic. The play is remarkable for the profound power of language, aptly worked upon to create the effect of real statesmanship. Prospero is the legal Duke of Milan. The scene opens in a remarkable way with the word “Boatswain”. There is a huge confusion prevailing on the deck of the ship as it has been capsized by a tempest. It was carrying Alonso, Ferdinand, Antonio, Gonzalo, Stefano, Sebastian and Trinculo, who are on their way to Italy after coming from the wedding of Alonso’s daughter, Claribel, to the prince of Tunis in Africa. Meanwhile, the raging of the tempest calms down an even more raging mind. The statesman in Prospero makes a confession to Miranda and the audience that the germ of the conspiracy, its growth and progress leading to the ship wreck were all conceived in his mind.  His usurpation by his brother Antonio motivates him to seek vengeance from the conspirators. Prospero’s statemanship is portrayed with his rich stock of images, anecdotes and illusions. The force of his authority and statemanship pervades the primary theme. His power of statemanship, reigns with a mixture of playfulness and seriousness. Bereft of his dukedom, Prospero grips himself in supernatural power and gains control over the spirits of the island. He vitiates the political arena even there through the might of his eloquence, authority and occult. The storm evoked by Prospero to summon his enemies, deals with the supernatural. Here, Shakespeare caters to the taste of the Elizabethan audience who hungered for the strange and mysterious.

The play is tremendously influenced by colonialism. Prospero characters the complexity, arrogance and obsession of a statesman and a colonizer. He forms the most impressive and important protagonist in the play. He pervades the whole play with his unbridled magical spell and empowerment of language. Colonialism is depicted as Caliban falls prey to the power of statemanship of Prospero who with the tact of his language overcomes him.  Hence the strength of statesmanship is the exclusive preserve of Prospero who matches its richness with the elegance of thematic complexities. Machiavelli’s clarion call in Chapter 15, says he “departs from the orders of others” and says why. He stresses on moral fiber present in the ruler. He says that moral qualities are qualities “held good” by the people; so, if the prince must conquer, and wants, like the Medici, to lay his foundation on the people, who are the keepers of morality, then a new morality consistent with the necessity of conquest must be found, and the prince has to be taught a new about the nature of peoples “. The prince or the ruler must learn to rule according to the ruled and use this ability or not according to his own obligation.  Morality had meant not only doing the exact accomplishment, but also doing it for the right motive or for the love of God. This concise statement is most effectual. However in the depiction of Prospero’s character Shakespeare uses anti- Machiavellian principles.. Prospero alleges to give Caliban the gift of language and the gift of knowledge. However he gains authority by means of his supremacy. He subjugates over Aerial more or less in the same way. His knowledge of the ‘secret arts’ bestows him unbridled strength. He wants to transform the more of a savage’s life and provide incites into a human life. Prospero, with the power of his language and speech has conquered the physical bodies but not the hearts of the inhabitants of the island. Trinculo, a jester, and Stefano, a drunken butler, are two minor members of the shipwrecked party. They endow with a comic foil to the other, more powerful pairs of Prospero and Alonso and Antonio and Sebastian. Their drunken boasting and petty greed reflect and deflate the quarrels and the statesmanship of Prospero and the other noblemen.

Materialism and its ills dominate when Prospero takes the prince of Naples, Ferdinand, prisoner who falls in love with Miranda.”We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.”(Act 4, Sc. 1, Lines 173-175). Prospero imposes his authority over Ferdinand by accusing him of being a spy. Miranda is so overwhelmed in his love that she defends him and ends up monopolizing his attention for her. It is through this manipulation that Prospero happens to gain control over Ferdinand.  Ferdinand continues to be overpowered by Prospero. He does so just for the sake of Miranda. Prospero’s only motive is to get back his dukedom and seek vengeance from his conspirators.. It is through his occult that he arouses a tempest, brings Ferdinand to Miranda and creates a sumptuous banquet for the wedding of the couple.. Prospero’s position of statesmanship works as an intoxicant in the island. Caliban and Ariel, Prospero’s magical agent, have a common suffering. They are both under the oppression of Prospero. Being no biological brothers, they address each other as ‘brothers’.  . Both are enforced servitude with Prospero as their master. They contribute very much to the dramatic theme and spectacle. Ariel is an inhabitant of air, who raises the storm and sets the ships afire. Subject to Prospero’s tyranny, they both carry their servitude differently but seek liberty from him in some way or the other. Prospero has an authoritative command over Caliban. He is revengeful with him and asks the spirit that he may be pinched whenever he curses him. He portrays an ambiguous character who manages to generate the plot of the play himself. His authoritative and autocratic voice demands for applause. He reigns central to Shakespeare’s narration.  His control over Caliban represents him as a very shrewd and tactful speaker. He plays with the feelings of Caliban and succeeds in enslaving him. The savage’s surrender to him showcases the resourceful statesmanship that he uses to have domination over the inhabitants.. He arouses the sympathy of the audience for the unfortunate son of Sycorax. He however is beseeched by Aerial for his release to which Prospero willingly states “Let them be hunted soundly. At this hour Lies at my mercy all mine enemies. Shortly shall my labors end, and thou Shalt have the air at freedom.  For a little Follow and do me service.” (Act 4, Sc. 1 Lines 291-295).  . The variety and authority of language used by Shakespeare for his character Prospero is note worthy. He portrays Prospero as a representative of art and Caliban that of nature. “And that most deeply to consider is The beauty of his daughter. He himself Calls her a nonpareil. I never saw a woman But only Sycorax my dam and she, But she as far surpasseth Sycorax As great’st does least” (3.2.94-98).  In his conciliatory tone while he confronts the Neapolitan party, he proves his ability to manipulate and wield power. Prospero’s creation of the storm symbolizes his position of a statesman in the plot. It is not a natural storm to cause the ship wreck but it is a mortal who raises it The statesmanship in him  provokes Caliban, shows a complete lack of moral fiber in him. His statesmanship is surcharged with audacity, vanity and self importance. “Though with their high wrongs I am stuck to th’ quick, Yet with my nobler reason ‘gainst my fury Do I take part.  The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance.” Act 5, Sc. 1 Lines 32-36   He makes a memorable character with all his virtues and vices.


Joseph, Sister Miriam. “Shakespeare’s Use of the Arts of Language”. New York: Columbia University Press, 1947.

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01 Aug 2009

Essays on the Shakespearian-Oxfordian Controversy

Growing up, few, if any of us, failed to hear of at least one Shakespearian play, usually Romeo and Juliet.  Shakespeare is cited as the author of over three dozen plays, more than a gross of sonnets, and many poems.  But what if our assumptions about Shakespeare and the plays were wrong?

The Shakespearian-Oxfordian controversy relates to arguments that have been ongoing since the 18th century regarding the authorship of the Shakespearian documents.  Many experts question the ability of a 16th century commoner to be such a competent playwright.  What little records exist regarding William Shakespeare’s life indicate he lacked a university education.  Yet the plays indicate a dynamic understanding of law, politics, astronomy, medicine and foreign languages.

Those who question the authorship have proposed a number of alternative possible authors, the most common being that of Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford).  Correlations between the last of the Shakespearian documents being published in 1604, the same year as de Vere’s death, cause many to believe that he was in fact the author and not Shakespeare.  Additionally, similarities between de Vere’s plays and the Shakespearian plays give support to this argument, particularly in light of Shakespeare’s lack of formal education.

Supporters of the alternative theories also note documents indicating the use of anonymity and pseudonymous publications to hide their identity.  This is similar in nature to Thomas Paine’s anonymous publishing of “Common Sense” prior to the American Revolution.

Stratforians (as Shakespearian supporters are called) point out that there are many details that better educated men would not have made.  For instance, though both Othello and Merchant of Venice take place ostensibly in Venice, no mention is made in either of the canals of Venice, though Merchant of Venice does indicate Venice being a notable oceanic trade city.  The Winter’s Tale refers to Bohemia as having a coastline and The Two Gentlemen of Verona describes the cities of Verona and Milan as seaports.  None of these locations are near the ocean.

With significant evidence and arguments, it is unlikely that this controversy will be soon resolved.  Essays arguing one side or another, supported with appropriate evidence, can be used to impress even the most stoic of college professors.   The challenge of this is obvious and undoubtedly beyond the abilities of most students.  Professional writers like ours, however, prepare such materials every day, fulfilling the academic needs of thousands of students every year.  To take advantage of their experience and talent, all you need to do is place an order.

19 Jul 2009

Essays on The Taming of the Shrew

Many examples of classic literature have come under fire over the years as social mores and values have changed.  Books such as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have come under fire as “racist” due to their use of what is now considered politically incorrect language.  Others, such as William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew have found their way into the censorship scopes of modern feminists.  Yet when properly viewed in their original context, the classical nature of these works is easy to reveal.

Few can spin a yarn like the Bard.  Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is an unmatched tale of love and deception.  In Padua there lives the fair Bianca who is being secretly courted by three young men against her father’s wishes.  He has declared that none may court Bianca until her vicious older sister Katherine has been married.  Lucentio, a recent arrival to the city falls in love with Bianca and joins Gremio and Hortensio in disguise in an effort to get close to Bianca.

Lucentio disguises himself as Bianca’s Latin teacher in order to spend time with her.  Hortensio assumes the role of her music teacher for the same purpose.  Lucentio’s servant assumes his identity and begins talks with Binaca’s father in an effort to secure a marriage.  The whole mess is taken care of when Hortensio’s friend Petruccio arrives and declares that he will marry a rich woman, irrespective of what she looks like.  Naturally Bianca’s suitors are delighted and quickly arrange for him to meet Katherine.  She and Petruccio get into a nasty little fight and brash young Petruccio tells her that she’ll marry him whether she likes it or not.  The rest of the story details Petruccio’s fight to win over Katherine through sheer dominance.  In the end she does learn to submit to her husband’s will.

Lucentio and Bianca marry.  Eventually Hortensio marries a wealthy widow and late in the tale all are gathered around his wedding feast a contest is held to see whose wife will obey the quickest when summoned by their husband.  All are surprised when Katherine arrives immediately.

Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, The Taming of the Shrew incorporates the conflict between traditional obedience to one’s parents and one’s quest for love.  Describe how this is reflected in this play and explain how it influences the course of the play.

In the above summary, mention is made of the “contest” during the third man’s wedding celebration.  Explain why the men might be surprised at Katherine being the first to obey and why she might have had motivation to do so.

Many of Shakespeare’s play are centered on the concept of love.  Love can be a confusing topic and with Shakespeare’s habit of throwing multiple players into the arena, writing about Shakespearian plays can be very much like writing articles about soap operas.  With the plays containing culture-related references at every turn, it can be a complicated situation for students to write about.  Our professional writers can help by fulfilling the student’s academic needs.  All they need is your order.

12 Jul 2009

Essays on The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare is considered by many to be one of history’s most prolific and dynamic playwrights, having written dozens of plays ranging from dramatic tragedies (Macbeth) to whimsical romances (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).  One of his best known plays is “The Merchant of Venice.”

The Merchant of Venice, as the name implies, is set primarily in the historic city of Venice, Italy.  Dealing with a mix of romantic intrigue and political turmoil, The Merchant of Venice provides numerous avenues of essay and literary evaluation.  During the course of The Merchant of Venice, issues such as the extent of what friends will do for friends, what children will do to honor their parents, what others do to pursue love, and even what mankind in general will do to exact vengeance on those perceived to have wronged us are addressed in a series of profound, but realistic events.

Central to the story is the friendship between the main characters, Bassanio and Antonio.  Bassanio is in love with the beautiful and wealthy Portia of the city of Belmont.  Antonio, out of friendship, arranges a loan for Bassanio with a Jewish moneylender, Shylock, pledging a pound of his own flesh in forfeiture should they be unable to repay the loan, setting the stage for the events to follow.

  • William Shakespeare had a talent of hiding themes and lessons within many of his plays.  One hidden theme of “The Merchant of Venice” is the concept of wisdom and our understanding of it.  Within the prose of the play, how it guides the lives of those who have it, and how those who lack it end up paying the consequences are revealed.  Choose a character and discuss how the concept of wisdom affects the character through the course of the play.
  • Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this play is the riddle of the boxes.  Describe the test and its consequences for those involved.  Explain how the concepts of obedience and wisdom play into this from the aspect of Portia’s obedience to her father’s wishes and from the father’s wisdom in the test itself.
  • The Merchant of Venice is often cited as the source for our concept of “a pound of flesh,” implying a claim of vengeance that is expected to come at a high price or with considerable risk to the claimant.  Explore why this is so and analyze the appropriateness of the present day implications of the expression and significance of the play.

Plays such as The Merchant of Venice hold double risk for students in their writings.  The plays not only hold hidden meanings, but were written in a vastly different society, with forgotten connotations embedded within its prose that held significance during the time of Shakespeare, but that are almost meaningless to us today.  Our writers stand ready to assist in your needs for Shakespearean play essays and literary analyses.

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