Presentation on theme: " Period in the late Middle Ages from around 1400 to 1650. Described as the study of things that promote and exalt human culture A Renaissance humanist."— Presentation transcript:
Period in the late Middle Ages from around 1400 to 1650. Described as the study of things that promote and exalt human culture A Renaissance humanist was defined as being classical, worldly, dignified, civilized, and striving for perfection Hamlet is said to be the ultimate Renaissance man, both by scholars and his fellow characters (Ophelia and Horatio both mention him as a “noble mind”) but is he a perfect Renaissance humanist?
The multiple references to Alexander and Caesar show how he is “returning to the classics” (Greek and Roman culture) He is obviously educated in the way of the arts as he has an advanced knowledge of theater and acting. Makes references to Greek and Roman gods and myths (Pyrrus and Hecuba; Hyperion and Jove) Has an interest in music as he displays his knowledge of Pan’s flute when criticizing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Renaissance humanism is anthropocentric, saying that reality has meaning only by human values and experiences. Hamlet desired to dignify his pursuits to avenge his father, to create meaning in them. However, Hamlet does fit the bill of “civilized” in that his achievements seem to fall short of his potential. He loses sight of his Renaissance education as he fails to acknowledge the importance of human life as he is so enthralled with the exaltation of his own purpose and meaning.
Humans were said to be the crowning jewel of all Creation. Hamlet, through his meditations on death and philosophical analysis of the human condition, doubts these perfections in humans and their ability to make the world perfect. The internal conflict that Hamlet has brings about the unanswerable question of man achieving worldly perfection or, ultimately, amounting to no more than dust.
In his anguish Hamlet discovers a unique subjectivity as he attempts to reject the wisdom of tradition, and understand for himself the power of man. The entire play Hamlet struggles to define understand the power of humans. His point of view ranges from belief in the power to humans, to a pessimistic doubt of the capabilities of man kind. All of Hamlet's soliloquies in Hamlet are placed in an important order to show the dramatic progression of Hamlet's character (from depression, to confusion, to madness, etc.) The progression of Hamlet's character also applies to his humanist aspects, from being helpless and powerless, to wishing for the most bloodiest revenge.
Hamlet is an intellectual; wondering "Should I act?“ before he actually carries out his plan. In act 1, scene 2, we see Hamlet isolated by his black clothes, refusing to accept the consolation of Gertrude and Claudius. Hamlet makes his feelings on their recent marriage clearly known, yet is hesitant to take action. His counter-humanism perspective on life does not enable him to carry out his plans as he doubts his own power. He hears "all that lives must die," and agrees "Ay, madam, it is common," yet will not accept this universally held "truth" as at all meaningful for his personal experience. "Why seems it so particular with thee?" (1.2).
HAMLET Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i' th‘ earth? HORATIOE'en so. HAMLETAnd smelt so? Pah! (puts down the skull) HORATIOE'en so, my lord. HAMLETTo what base uses we may return, Horatio. Why may notimagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole? HORATIO'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so. HAMLETNo, faith, not a jot. But to follow him thither with modestly enough, and likelihood to lead it, as thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam—and why of that loam,whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel?Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.Oh, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,Should patch a wall t' expel the winter’s flaw! But soft, but soft a while. Hamlet is giving up on his humanism. Horatio exspects Hamlet to give a detailed explanation of life after death, and the equal fate of all men, but Hamlet says we all simply become dust. Association Hamlet's mind moves to Alexander, the type of imperial greatness
Hamlet considers every human’s eventual decay. The skull is one of the few, if not the only, symbol in Hamlet. The skull represents death, it’s inevitability, and the modest demise of us all. Polonius will end as worm food, Hamlet Sr. will end as worm food, and Alexander the Great will end as worm food. No one can escape death, the fate of all humans.