Analysing Quotations by iOqX2NNn


									Analysing Quotations...

Whenever you are writing about a Shakespearean play, or any other text, you should support
your argument with evidence. For example, in an essay discussing the presentation of a
character, you need to choose supporting quotations by and about the character that you can
then explain and analyse to show how you reached your interpretation of the character.

    1.       Read the annotated example below.
    2.       Annotate the rest of the quotations, all from Act 1, with language points and
             literary techniques that you could use for analysis.
    3.       Choose one character and find more examples, from all parts of the play to help
             explain that character’s role and function.

Example: Claudius/ Hamlet/ Gertrude

         ‘Good Hamlet, cast thy knighted colour off,
         And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.” (1, 2, 68-9)

Language of affection in the use of the adjective ‘good’ and the familiar, intimate pronouns ‘thy’
and ‘thine’ suggest the close relationship between the speaker, Gertrude, and her son, Hamlet.

Mourning is presented through the adjective ‘nighted’ used as a metaphor for Hamlet’s wearing
black to mourn his father’s death.

Gertrude’s commands (imperatives) ‘cast’ and ‘let’ aim to strengthen Claudius’ power through
the simile that Hamlet should ‘look like a friend’ on ‘Denmark’- here used to symbolise Claudius
as head of state.

Blank verse signals high status characters and a serious subject.

Practice using these examples: You will need to read around the quotes to gain a closer
understanding of what is occurring.

    1.       Marcellus/ Horatio/ ghost

             ‘Horatio says ‘tis but our fantasy
             And will not let belief take hold of him’ (1. 1. 23-4)

Consider the language of superstition and ghosts.

    2.       Polonius/ Laertes

             ‘Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice
             Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement.”         (1.3. 68-9)

Consider irony, the language of power and Laertes’ contrast to Hamlet.

    3.       Polonuis/ Hamlet/ Ophelia

             ‘Marry, I will teach you- think yourself a baby
           That you have ta’en these true tenders for pay
           Which are not sterling.”    (1.3. 105-7)

Consider imagery- e.g. linked to money value, language of power.

   4.      Fortinbras/ Claudius

            ‘... young Fortinbras
            Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
            Or thinking by our late dear brother’s death
            Our state to be disjointed and out of frame’      (1. 2. 17-20)
Consider dramatic irony, language to present unease and corruption, contrast between
characters, pronoun choice to convey power.

   5.      Hamlet/ ghost

           ‘Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
           Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damned,
           Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell,’     (1. 3. 39-41)

Consider punctuation to convey shock, contrasting pairs, pronoun choice.
       Understanding Hamlet’s ghost scene
When Hamlet and his father’s ghost finally meet in Act 1 Scene 5, the ghost must:

       Convince Hamlet that his story is worth listening to

       Explain how he was murdered by his brother

In the following two activities you will imagine how Hamlet could use the ghost’s words to
prepare the Players to re-enact the murder as a way of trapping Claudius.

Activity 1- Use the following quotations to design the text and images for a poster that will
create suspense for the audience and advertise the play to be performed in Act 3 Scene 2:

What the text says:              What it really means:          Illustration for the Players’

‘I am thy father’s spirit,       E.G. ‘I really am your father’s You could draw the ghost in
Doomed for a certain term        ghost and I must walk every armour or King’s robes with a
To walk the night,’              night.’                         moon above him to indicate
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines       )                                   that it is night.

‘And for the day confined
to fast in fires,’
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines       )

‘I could a take unfold whose
lightest word/
Would harrow up thy soul,
freeze thy young blood’
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines   )

‘Make thy two eyes like stars
start from their spheres,’
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines     )

‘Thy knotted and combined
locks to part,’
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines )

‘And each particular hair to
stand an end,
Like quills upon the fretful
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines   )
Activity 2: Next, the ghost tells Hamlet (and audience) how he died. Use the following
quotations to storyboard the ghost’s explanation of how he was killed for the Players’ rehersal of
‘The Dumb Show’ and ‘The Mousetrap’:
What the text says:             What it really means:            Illustration for the Players’

‘...sleeping within my orchard,
My custom always of the
Thy uncle stole/
With juice of cursed hebonon
in a vial,’
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines      )

‘And in the porches of mine
ears did pour/
The leperous distilment,’
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines    )

‘...swift as quicksilver it
courses through/ The natural
gates and alleys of the body.’
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines       )

‘And with a sudden vigour it
doth posset/ And curd, like
eager droppings into milk,/
The thin and wholesome
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines    )

‘ did it mine, And a most
instant tetter bar’d about/
Most lazar-like with vile and
loathsome crust/ Al my
smooth body...’
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines      )

‘Thus was I, sleeping, by a
brother’s hand,/ Of life, of
crown, of queen at once
(Act 1, Scene 5, lines    )

Next look at how the Players re-enact this scene in Act 3 Scene 2 (stage directions for The
Dumb Show and The Mosuetrap)
Imagery of Sickness and Decay

Find the remaining information for the three quotations provided and then add six complete
ones of your own.

Quotation                           Location in the Significance

‘I am sick at heart’                Act 1, Scene 1

‘’tis an unweeded garden’                               References to weeds are common in
                                                        this play and reflect the spread of
                                                        unchecked corruption.

                                    Act 1, Scene 4, This image of decay is a reference to
                                    line            the ‘rotten’ core of Denmark. There
                                                    are signs (smell) that something is
                                                    corrupt (rotten) but it is not visible to
                                                    begin with. The decay also spreads
                                                    as the play develops- most characters
                                                    are destroyed by Claudius’ scheming.
Other handy Hamlet quotes

Location      Quote                                    Relevance
1, 1, 8       I am sick at heart                       The state of Denmark is ‘ill’
1, 2, 1       Dear brother’s death                     Claudius’ sycophancy (servility,
                                                       obsequious flattery, and other
                                                       fawning behaviour)
1, 2, 135     ‘’tis an unweeded garden’                Imagery of sickness and decay
1, 2, 146     Frailty thy name is woman                Hamlet’s obsession
1, 4, 90      Something is rotten in the state of Imagery of sickness and decay
1, 5, 86      Leave her to heaven                      Ghost’s request to Hamlet re
1, 5, 108     That one may smile, and smile, and still Hamlet re Claudius
              be a villain.
1, 5, 172     Antic disposition                        Hamlet’s feigned madness
1, 5, 188-9   The time is out of joint; O cursed spite Hamlet’s reluctance to take revenge
              That ever I was born to set it right.
2, 1, 102     ... the very ecstasy of love             Polonius’ view of Hamlet’s madness
2, 2, 57      His father’s death and our o’erhasty Gertrude’s reason for Hamlet’s
              marriage                                 madness.
2, 2, 162     I’ll loose my daughter to him            Polonius uses Ophelia
3, 1, 152     O what a noble mind is here o’erthrown Ophelia believes Hamlet’s madness
3, 4, 64      Like a mildew’d, blasting his wholesome Sickness and decay imagery
3, 4, 110     Whet thy almost blunted purpose          The ghost’s second visit/ Hamlet’s
3, 4, 151 not spread compost on the weeds Weeds imagery- decay of Denmark
              to make them ranker
3, 4, 199         I have no life to breathe/ What thou           Gertrude promises to lie for Hamlet
                  hast said to me
5, 1, 250         ...this is I/ Hamlet the Dane                  Hamlet’s new found decisiveness
5, 2, 216         If it be now, ‘tis not to come...Let be        Hamlet’s resignation to death
5, 2, 340         ... tell my story                              Hamelt says to Horatio as he is dying.

VERSE: BLANK VERSE and IAMBIC PENTAMETER- Examples are all from The Merchant of Venice

Why do we find Shakespeare difficult? It’s in a 400 year old language and therefore hard to
understand. We do not identify with many of the expressions or the humour. It’s mostly written in
blank verse, iambic pentameter.

Blank verse is simply verse that doesn’t necessary rhyme. Iambic pentameter is a form of verse that
was instantly recognisable to the Elizabethans and used by most dramatists of the day.

Iambic - from iambus: a rhythmic foot of stressed and unstressed syllables, de-dum.

Pentameter - from the Latin for five (Pentagon, pentangle) tells us how many feet are in each line.

De-dum, de-dum, de-dum, de-dum, de-dum. Each line consist of ten syllables, alternatively stressed
and unstressed.

“The qual it ty of mer cy is not strained.
It drop peth as the gen tle rain from Heaven.”

“To be or not to be that is the question.”

“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day.”

In Northern Broadsides we speak with northern accents. The hard granite stone consonants and short
vowels of the northern voice are perfect for the rhythm and pulses of iambic pentameter.

The first line of the play The Merchant of Venice, said by Antonio demonstrates the use of iambic

“In sooth I know not why I am so sad.”

Every alternative word or syllable is emphasised, the last one in the line being the loudest.

“In sooth I know not why I am so sad.”

If you take out the unaccented words we are left with:

“sooth, know, why, am, sad.”

These emphasised words are the only ones needed to tell the story. Shakespeare has done this with
almost every line of the play. The groundlings were not sophisticated people and the theatregoers
were not there to study the play. They were there for entertainment. Audiences were happy just to
understand and enjoy the play for what it was. Nevertheless, it is a very clever feat to place every
word in the place it will do the best job. The whole play is a poem. It is like a music symphony, drifting
in and out of verse crescendos and quiet sections throughout. You will also find he often puts a
rhyming couplet at the end of a scene. This tells the audience when the “commercial breaks” are
coming, so they can cough or shift in their seat before the next scene.

Modern audiences do not instantly recognise Iambic pentameter but a form of verse they are familiar
with is the limerick. This is a limerick to demonstrate blank verse.

There was a young man from Dundee,
Got stung on the leg by a wasp.
When asked if it hurt,
He said “No not a bit.
He can do it again if he wants.”

This does not rhyme but we know it is in verse. We know it is in verse because it has a rhythm.

De-dum diddy-dum diddy-dum
De-dum diddy-dum diddy-dum
De-dum diddy-dum
De-dum diddy-dum
De-dum diddy-dum diddy-dum

The rhythm of the limerick is as recognisable to us as the rhythm of iambic pentameter (De-dum, de-
dum, de-dum, de-dum, de-dum) was to the Elizabethans. What Shakespeare does is to take this
recognisable rhythm and he plays with it to make a point. This is a limerick to demonstrate this.

There was a young fellow from Tyne,
Who tried to put words into rhyme.
The only thing was,
He failed because
He always tried to put far too many, much too many words into the last line.

The main purpose of Iambic pentameter was not so that it could be studied 400 years later but as an
aid to the actor. It tells the actor how to say the line by showing where the emphasis should fall.

Making two characters share the same line displays the pace and thought links of the two characters
about the same subject.

Portia:          There take it prince and if my form lie there
                 Then I am yours.

Morocco:         Oh hell! What have we here?

This is emphasized more in the repetitive exchanges of “In such a night” between Lorenzo and Jessica
at the beginning of Act 5.

Not all verse is written in iambic pentameter, the poems in the caskets are deliberately different. For
instance in the gold casket, written in a verse called tetrameter, the last word of every line rhymes
with gold.

The pulse of the iambic pentameter verse also echoes the heartbeat and therefore corresponds with
emotions and feelings.

Sometimes different characters will use an alternate rhythm or speak in prose to show their emotions
or relationships to each other. For example, Shylock and Tubal speak in prose to each other, not only
because of the informality between friends but because when Shylock hears about Antonio’s losses
and his daughter’s spending he is not in control of his feelings. Launcelot Gobbo speaks in prose
because he is a servant and a comic character. Solanio and Salerio are city boys and would normally
speak in verse but in Act 3 Scene 1 they are just mates having a chat and therefore speak in prose.

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