AD's English Literature : August 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ernest Hemingway’s Portrayal of Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway’s portrayal of Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms is one of the triumphs in the sphere of characterization. Henry is made to live truly and we get the feeling that we have really met the man. He is drawn not only from external traits but also from the inside domain of his personality. In other words, his inner nature, the working of his mind, his thoughts and ruminations, the negative and positive aspects of his personality, his reactions to people and things—these are skillfully analyses. What Hemingway gives us is a realistic and convincing hero.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Christopher Marlowe’s Tragic Art in the Death Scene of “Edward II”

The dominant theme of Edward II is the theme of many of Marlowe's   (and Shakespeare's) histories: the will to power and, ultimately, the   corruption inherent in power. Edward isn't thwarted and murdered because of   his affection for Gaveston. Rather, it is because in bestowing such   extravagant favors on Gaveston, a commoner, he is subverting the "natural"   order of his position, neglecting both his kingdom and his family. He comes to   realize, too late, that his arrogance and his disrespect of himself - or, more precisely, the institution he represents: the monarchy - has cost him his love   (Gaveston) and his life ("What is a king but a shadow on a summer's day?') But   the theme is carried on through the machinations of Isabella and Mortimer.  Read More Drama True, she may be seen as a "wronged wife", but her revenge in collusion with   Mortimer is also a subversion of the "natural" order. She is willing to commit   both murder and regicide to achieve her ends and she, too, is thwarted by her   son when he assumes Edward's throne and puts her away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Human Language and Other Systems of Animal Communication -- Understand the Similarities and Differences Between the Two.

             A prominent characteristic of language is that the relation between a linguistic sign and its meaning is arbitrary: There is no reason other than convention among speakers of English that a dog should be called dog, and indeed other languages have different names (for example, Bengali kukur, Spanish perro, Russian sobaka, Japanese inu). Again Language can be used to discuss a wide range of topics, a characteristic that distinguishes it from animal communication. One of the best ways to understand what human language is to compare it with other systems of animal communication and try to understand the similarities and differences between the two.  
 This is precisely what I will do in this section.

The Character of Johnsy in O' Henry's Short Story “The Last Leaf”

"Leaves. On the ivy vine. When the last one falls I must go, too. I've known that for three days. Didn't the doctor tell you?"_Jonhsy

Generally, in a short story, the scope to depict character in depth and in detail is very short. Only a particular aspect of a character is glanced at.The same is true for this story.  In O' Henry's “The Last Leaf”, Sue and Johnsy are the two young girls round when the story goes on. The more striking of these two friends is Johnsy whose morbid thinking makes the story interesting. She is the main character of the story as her psychological crisis builds up the theme of the story.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kinds of Poetry: Narrative, Lyric, and Dramatic

Kinds of poetry: There are three great kinds of poetic writing: Narrative, Lyric, and Dramatic.

Narrative poetry

Narrative poetry tells a story with a plot, characters, and a setting.

 In its loftiest form is the epic, which deals with gods and heroes. Epic, majestic both in theme and style, is a long narrative poem about the feats of gods or heroes. Epics deal with legendary or historical events of national or universal significance, involving action of broad sweep and grandeur. Most epics deal with the exploits of a single individual, thereby giving unity to the composition. Typically, an epic includes several features: the introduction of supernatural forces that shape the action; conflict in the form of battles or other physical combat; and stylistic conventions such as an invocation to the Muse, a formal statement of the theme, long lists of the protagonists involved, and set speeches couched in elevated language. Commonplace details of everyday life may appear, but they serve as background for the story and are described in the same lofty style as the rest of the poem. The term epic is used in two senses. First, it is employed as a general name to cover all forms of narrative poetry except drama. But it is used more commonly to name that kind of narrative poetry of which Homer's Iliad is the noblest example. Of the many definitions, the following is among the simplest: ''A poem celebrating in stately verse the real or mythical achievements of great personages, heroes, or demigods. It is always long and dignified. In English literature we find but one poem truly deserving the name epic, Milton's Paradise Lost.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Analysis of the Closing Scene of Conrad's The Heart of Darkness

The closing scene of The Heart of Darkness , Marlow's interview with the dead man's white Intended (a pale figure of delusion juxtaposed against the black Athena who had usurped her place for Kurtz at the Inner Station), leaves the reader with ambivalent feelings about Conrad's chief narrator. The paradoxical ending of The Heart of Darkness has caused considerable critical consternation, if not outrage. That the novel should end with a lie should be told to a beloved amazing, that the lie should be told in a novel ostensibly directed towards a bewaring of the nefarious nature of the human heart almost astounding; that such a lie should be practiced by modern Buddha absolutely preposterous. The ending has therefore been criticized as being ‘a botched scene’, ‘a fatal blunder’ and even as ‘the final flaw in a flawed novel’. Yet a contextual reading of the novel would almost lead a discerning reader to a radically different conclusion. The conclusion would be that even though the ending does not satisfy the human desire for the  whole truth or for a satisfying rounded final, the ending is not only appropriate, but also something devoutly to be wished for . 

Every aspect of the ending is stepped in grandeur, pervaded with touch of the ethereal. Read More Novel The setting suggests magnificence and splendid idealism: the drawing room is ‘lofty’, the windows are long and luminous, the tall marble fireplace has monumental whiteness , the piano is grand and stands massively looking like a somber and polished sarcophagus and the door is high. The lady is described in an almost equally idealized and hollowed manner:

“She has a mature capacity for fidelity, for belief, for suffering… this hair, this pale visage this pure brow, seemed surrounded by an ashy halo from which the dark eyes looked out at me. Their glance was guileless, profound, confident and trustful.”

She was dressed in black although it was almost a year since Kurtz’s death, and this unceasing mourning is revelatory of the fact that she was ‘girlish’, that ‘she was one of those creature who were not the play thing of time’. Her attitude towards Kurtz, her reverence for him is flawless. Illumined by the inextinguishable light of love and belief, she declares, ‘it was impossible to know him and not to admire him.’

The grandeur of the scene is shattered when Marlow lies to her. Marlow’s lie gives a lie to the carefully crafted and meticulously woven façade of glory. The answers to Marlow's motivation are to be discovered in the nature of the lie itself and in the nature of the liar. Lies, of course, have proven indispensable to fabulists ever since Cain lied to God in Genesis and Odysseus slipped out of one disguise into another in The Odyssey. Read More Novel  But Marlow's lie is neither as wicked as Cain's (especially since it acknowledges his need to be the keeper of his spiritual brother's memory) nor as self-serving but justifiable as Odysseus's. When the beloved declares that she would have treasured every sigh, every word, every sign, every glance of the dying Kurtz, and laments that there may not have been anyone to hear his last words, Marlow unwittingly states that he had heart ‘ his very last words’. When pressed to reveal the final words of Kurtz , the self reviling and desperate Marlow can only utter a lie:’ the last word he pronounced was your name” the final victorious truth expressed in articulo mortis by Kurtz---‘ The horror! The horror!’- is thereby suppressed.

The questions remain as to why Marlow tells an untruth. Such a lie may be explicable in the case of an inveterate liar, but not in the case of Marlow since it made it abundantly clear that lies are abhorrent to him. When he speaks about lying early in the novel, he says ,’lying appalls me,’ it is exactly what I hate and detest in the world,’ it makes me miserable’ and sick like biting into something rotten wound’. Read More Novel As Garrett Stewart points out in 'lying as dying in The Heart of Darkness ' , ‘his strict ethical theorem, the equation of death with lying,is even in the early context no stray remark, for it threads untruth to death in the casual nexus of the European experience in Africa.’ All through the novel his one endeavour has been to know the truth about himself, and it is inconceivable that a man so meticulous about knowing the truth should lie to others.

The answer might be one of the various proffered—that he was being merciful to the Intended whom he admired , that he was generally mild and protective towards women as they were cocooned from reality, and that he wanted the truth only for himself. Read More Novel That Marlow may be tempted to hide the hideous truth fro the lady whom he found to be a veritable paragon of virtue, one who was about to dedicate her entire life to Kurtz, is quite likely. That he does so because he desires to shield all women from the unbearable truth of the darkness of the human heart too is plausible in view of his earlier remark about woman, ‘it is queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own…’ Marlow would be the last to shatter the fragile edifice of their make- believe world. If Marlow’s assertion seems to deny women the right or need for the quest for the truth, one might go further and suggest that Marlow’s was a journey of self-discovery and that therefore he was never interested in telling her truth.

Even though the reasons preferred may contain some truths, perhaps the greatest truth behind the lie is something different. It is not merely designed to provide relief to a particular women or even to all women and certainly his purpose could never have been the selfish one of attaining the truth only for himself.Read More Novel Much more likely is his realization that not only cans mankind ‘not bear too much reality’, but also the mankind must be saved from the reality. Society can exist only if there is some idealistic basis, even if it is an allusion. It is only save mankind from devastating truth about itself, that Marlow makes the supreme sacrifice of telling a lie, something foreign to his nature, alien to his spirit.


Klein, Herbert G. "Charting the Unknown: Conrad, Marlow, and the World of Women."
Lynn, David H. " Heart of Darkness : Marlow's Heroic Cry." The Hero's Tale. Narrators in the Early Modern Novel .
IGNOU Study Guide MA English

Sunday, August 7, 2011

UGC NET Solved Paper III ;SECTION – II ; Subject -- English ; December : 2009

Note : This section contains fifteen (15) questions, each to be answered in about thirty (30) words. Each question carries five (5) marks. (5 × 15 = 75 marks)

 A band of pilgrims who assemble at the Tabard Inn outside London for the journey to Canterbury Cathedral is briefly described in the General Prologue . Ranging in status from a Knight to a humble Plowman, they are a microcosm of 14th-century English society. In framing the story line the prologue introduce us of the general scheme of story telling also.

7. Comment on the rejection of Falstaff.

In Henry IV, Part I, we see the young prince Hal (Henry V) indulging in wild pranks with Falstaff, being rebuked by his father (Henry IV), promising to reform, and making his promise good by slaying Hotspur, the leader of the rebels, in single combat. Prince Hal appears less in Henry IV, Part II until near the end, when his reconciliation with his dying father and his rejection of Falstaff point the way to his successful career as king.

8. Analyse the significance of the Invocation in Paradise Lost Book I.

In the first 26 lines of the poem, Milton follows the convention in epic poems of invoking the Muses, the Greek goddesses that inspired poets, musicians, and philosophers, and he explains his purpose in writing the poem. Here a pious address is made to the Muse and theme of the poem is states  .

9. Define the heroic couplet with examples.

The heroic couplet, two rhyming iambic pentameter lines, is also called a closed couplet because the meaning and the grammatical structure are complete within two lines. John Dryden and Alexander Pope employed this form with great effect, as for example, in Pope's Essay on Criticism (Part I, 68-69):

First fo/llow Na/ture, and/ your judg/ment frame
By her/ just stan/dard, which/ is still /the same.

10. Comment on De Quincey’s essay “On the knocking at the gate in Macbeth.”

De Quincey’s essay “On the knocking at the gate in Macbeth” is a venture for more psychological interpretation than had previously been applied to Shakespeare. Thomas de Quincey argues that an audience must feel a "sympathy of comprehension" for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in order for the play to be effective. He does not intend nor expect the audience to applaud them for their murderous actions but rather to try to understand the feelings of the characters. The knocking at the gate is a call to the audience to come back to reality, back from the depths of evil in Macbeth's hellish world. The knocking has a jarring effect on the audience, summoning them back into the everyday world, so they can become keenly aware of the gravity and horror of the actions of Macbeth and his wife.
11. Why is the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood so called ?
In 1848 D.G.Rossetti along with the English artists Hunt, Ford Maddox Brown and the painter Millais formed the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood to replace the academic style of painting by a return of simplicity, truthful and the spirit of devotion and these came to be attributes of the Italian artists and  painters before the time of Raphael (1483-1520).

12. Comment on the ‘Woman Question’ in the Victorian Age.

 The Woman Question relates the role and function of the women folk in its enlighten spirit of the Victorian era. It include Issues of women's suffrage, reproductive rights, bodily autonomy, property rights, legal rights, and medical rights, and marriage, dominated cultural discussions in newspapers and intellectual circles. However, All efforts to secure the franchise for women were effectively opposed. Prominent among the antifeminists of the period were the reigning monarch Queen Victoria and the British prime ministers William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli.
13. What is Joycean Epiphany ?

Epiphany (Greek epiphaneia, “appearance”), the christian term means a spiritual manifestation of sudden showing forth. Joyce uses this term as a moment of revelation, when the very truth or essence of something is suddenly glimpsed. Art attempts to capture and preserve such fleeting moments. 

14. “O body swayed to music,
O brightening glace,
How can we know the dancer
from the dance ?”
Critically comment on the above lines by W.B. Yeats.
The original draft of the poem finished at the end of stanza VII but on reflection, Yeats felt that it was too pessimistic. Stanza VIII provides us with a passable refuse from this pessimism a suggestion that perhaps unity of being is obtainable. Yeats provides us with two metaphors-: i) a chestnut tree. He shows that the tree is made up of many separate components -: "Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?" but in doing this he recognizes that the essence of the tree is its unity-: "Great-rooted blossomer" Similarly Yeats recognizes that it is impossible to speculate the dancer from the dance as one without the other would not exist.
Read: Among School Children.

15. What feminist concerns inform The Golden Notebook ?
Lessing’s best-known novel, The Golden Notebook (1962), makes connections similar to those of Children of Violence while also questioning the value and authority of fiction itself. In this technically innovative novel, the narrative of the main plot—an account of the friendship of two women—is interrupted by excerpts from the notebooks of the main character. These excerpts record her experiences in Africa, her affiliations with the communist movement, her attempt at an autobiographical novel, and her daily activities. The Golden Notebook became a classic of feminist literature because of its experimental style and its explorations of self, creativity, and female identity.

16. What significance would you attach to the birds of prey in Ted Hughes’ poetry ?
Hughes's poetry is physical and sometimes savage in tone. Many of his works emphasize the subconscious. Hughes’s first significant collection was The Hawk in the Rain (1957), which established his style of rugged naturalism and animal imagery.

17. What does Dr. Johnson say about Shakespeare’s use of the Unities ?
Shakespeare had no regard to distinction of time or place, but gives to one age or nation, without scruple, the customs, institutions, and opinions of another, at the expense not only of likelihood, but of possibility. Samuel Johnson  applied the unities to drama when judging it in his Prefaces to Shakespeare. However, Johnson was well aware that Aristotle had only recommended the unity of action, and knew that rules must serve drama, not vice versa.

18. What is formalism? Answer with the help of examples.
A text-based critical method known as formalism was developed by Victor Shklovsky, Vladimir Propp, and other Russian critics early in the 20th century. It involved detailed inquiry into plot structure, narrative perspective, symbolic imagery, and other literary techniques. But after the mid-1930s, leaders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its subsequent satellites in Eastern Europe demanded that literature and criticism directly serve their political objectives. Political leaders in those countries suppressed formalist criticism, calling it reactionary. Even such internationally influential opponents of extreme formalism as the Russian Mikhail Bakhtin and the Hungarian Georg Lukács would often find themselves under attack.

19. Write a note on Imagism.
Imagism, poetic movement that flourished in the U.S. and England between 1909 and 1917. The movement was led by the American poets Ezra Pound and, later, Amy Lowell. Other imagist poets were the English writers D. H. Lawrence and Richard Aldington and the American poets John Gould Fletcher and Hilda Doolittle. These poets issued manifestos and wrote poems and essays embodying their theories. They placed primary reliance on the use of precise, sharp images as a means of poetic expression and stressed precision in the choice of words, freedom in the choice of subject matter and form, and the use of colloquial language. Most of the imagist poets wrote in free verse, using such devices as assonance and alliteration rather than formal metrical schemes to give structure to their poetry. Notable collections of imagist poetry are Des Imagistes: An Anthology (1914), compiled by Pound, and the three anthologies compiled by Amy Lowell, all under the title Some Imagist Poets (1915, 1916, 1917).

20. Who is logocentrism ?
Logocentrism is a term coined by German philosopher Ludwig Klages in the 1920s. It refers to the tradition of Western science and philosophy that situates the logos, ‘the word’ or the ‘act of speech’, as epistemologically superior in a system, or structure, in which we may only know, or be present in, the world by way of a logocentric metaphysics. For this structure to hold true it must be assumed that there is an original, irreducible object to which the logos is representative, and therefore, that our presence in the world is necessarily mediated. If there is a Platonic Ideal Form then there must be an ideal representation of such a form. This ideal representation is according to logocentrist thought, the logos.

Ardhendu De

Reference: Wikipedia, Internet Archive, political History of England- T.N. 

Read The Post: UGC NET Solved Paper II ; Subject -- English ;December : 2009.


Time line of History-- THE ELIZABETHAN ERA

Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn, ruled England from 1558 to 1603 during what is known as the Elizabethan Age. She was one of the scholar-women of her time, being versed in Latin, Greek, French, and Italian. Her translation of Boethius shows her exceptional art and skill. In the classics Roger Ascham was her tutor.  Her reign was also a time of great prosperity and achievement, and her court was a center for poets, writers, musicians, and scholars. 

Noted Writers: Ascham ; Wyatt, and Surrey ; Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Hooker, Raleigh, Lyly, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd,, Greene, Peele, William Shakespeare, George Chapman, Ben Jonson, Francis Beaumont and john Fletcher, and others.
Queen Elizabet  Art Gallery London

1545. Roger Ascham's "Toxophilus." <Elizabeth’s tutor>
1551. Nicholas Udall (1505?–1556), English schoolmaster and dramatist, who wrote the first known English comedy, Ralph Roister Doister" acted. It is based on the plays of the Roman comic dramatists Plautus and Terence.

1557. Tottel's"Miscellany."
1562. Sackville and Norton's " Gorboduc" (first English tragedy)acted.
1570. Ascham's “Schoolmaster."
1573. Donne born. English poet John Donne is best known for his sonnets on the themes of both human and divine love. A clergyman whose sermons are revered for their elegance of language, Donne has a significant impact on later generations of poets.
1579. Spenser's "Shepherd's Calendar."
1579. Lyly's "Euphues, or the Anatomy of Wit."

1580. Lyly's"Euphues and his England." The work is characterized by witty discourses on the subject of love and an affected, ornate style that was thenceforth known as “euphuism.”
1580. English courtier, poet, and soldier Sir Philip Sidney's" Arcadia"

1581. Sidney's"Apologie for Poetry."
1582. Shakespeare's marriage. On November 27, 1582, a license was issued to permit Shakespeare’s marriage, at the age of 18, to Anne Hathaway, aged 26 and the daughter of a Warwickshire farmer. (Although the document lists the bride as “Annam Whateley,” the scribe most likely made an error in the entry.) The next day a bond was signed to protect the bishop who issued the license from any legal responsibility for approving the marriage, as William was still a minor and Anne was pregnant. The couple’s daughter, Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583, and twins—Hamnet and Judith who were named for their godparents, neighbors Hamnet and Judith Sadler—followed on February 2, 1585.

1586 (?). Shakespeare goes to London.
1587. Marlowe's "Tamburlaine."  English poet and dramatist Christopher Marlowe is the greatest English playwright before William Shakespeare. His innovative use of blank verse and tragic subjects in plays will be fully developed by Shakespeare.  Marlowe wrote four principal plays: the heroic dramatic epic Tamburlaine the Great, Part I (1587), about the 14th-century Mongol conqueror; The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1588?), one of the earliest dramatizations of the Faust legend; the tragedy The Jew of Malta (1589?); and Edward II (1592?), which was one of the earliest successful English historical dramas and a model for Shakespeare's Richard II and Richard III. In each of these dramas one forceful protagonist with a single overriding passion dominates.

1588-94. Shakespeare's "First Period." English playwright William Shakespeare becomes the greatest playwright of all time. In their combination of philosophical profundity, wide audience appeal, brilliance and beauty of language, and astonishing breadth of characters, his plays are unequaled anywhere in the world.
1590. Spenser's "Faerie Queen"(first three books).
1593. Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis."
1594. Hooker's "Ecclesiastical Polity"(first four books).
1594. Shakespeare's "Rape of Lucrece."
I595- Spenser's "Epithalamion."
1595-1601. Shakespeare's "Second Period."
1596. Ben Jonson's "Every Man in his Humour."
1596. Spenser's "Faerie Queen"(last three books).
1596. The Blind Beggar of Alexandria by George Chapman. His great work by which he lives in literature is his translation of Homer. The Iliad was pub. in 1611, the Odyssey in 1616, and the Hymns, etc., in 1624.

1597. Hooker's “Ecclesiastical Polity"(fifth book)
1601-8. Shakespeare's "Third Period."
1603. Ben Jonson's"Sejanus."
1605. Ben Jonson's "Volpone or the Fox "
1605. Bacon's "Advancement of Learning."

1609. Shakespeare's Sonnets, sequence of 154 sonnets, is thought to be written between 1595 and 1599. Shakespeare’s sonnets were first collected in book form by the printer Thomas Thorpe, who registered them on May 20, 1609, with the title Shake-speares Sonnets.

1609-13 (?). Shakespeare's" Fourth Period."
1610. Ben Jonson's "Alchemist."
1611. James I of England commissions a revision of the English Bible, a 14th-century translation by John Wycliffe. The King James Version OR Authorised Version of the Bible, as it is called, is completed in1611.

1612 (?). Shakespeare returns to Stratford.
1613. Webster's "Duchess of Malfi." The Duchess of Malfi, staged about 1614, depicts a world of extravagant passions, dark intrigue, and fratricidal violence.

Poetic Justice in Shakespearean Tragic Plays

Aristotle's Poetics defines the nature of tragic drama, discusses the six essential elements of drama, states his opinion on the best type of tragic plot, and suggests the most effective means to arouse essential emotions such as pity and fear. He presents here the elaborate structure of justice of virtue rewarded and villain punished, broadly speaking the poetic justice.

Now since in the finest kind of tragedy the structure should be complex and not simple, and since it should also be a representation of terrible and piteous events (that being the special mark of this type of imitation), in the first place, it is evident that good men ought not to be shown passing from prosperity to misfortune, for this does not inspire either pity or fear, but only revulsion; nor evil men rising from ill fortune to prosperity, for this is the most untragic plot of all—it lacks every requirement, in that it neither elicits human sympathy nor stirs pity or fear. And again, neither should an extremely wicked man be seen falling from prosperity into misfortune, for a plot so constructed might indeed call forth human sympathy, but would not excite pity or fear, since the first is felt for a person whose misfortune is undeserved and the second for someone like ourselves—pity for the man suffering undeservedly, fear for the man like ourselves—and hence neither pity nor fear would be aroused in this case. We are left with the man whose place is between these extremes. Such is the man who on the one hand is not pre-eminent in virtue and justice, and yet on the other hand does not fall into misfortune through vice or depravity, but falls because of some mistake.

By poetic justice means that the virtuous should be rewarded and the evil doer will be punished. It means that prosperity and adversity are distributed in proportion to the merits of the agents.  Judging as such there is no poetic justice in Shakespeare’s tragedies. Prosperity and adversity are not properly distributed in his tragedies. Such 'poetic justice' is in flagrant contradiction with the facts of life, and it is absent from Shakespeare's tragic picture of life. Thus Dr. Johnson accuses that, in the plays of Shakespeare, especially in his tragedies there is a lack of poetic justice, that he sacrifices virtue to convenience, and that the major figures suffer more than they deserve because of their faults. The punishment inflicted on them is disproportionate to their sins or wrongs. In actual life this sort of poetic justice is not possible. Shakespeare was a realist and therefore, poetic justice in its pure form is not present in his plays. In fact, Shakespeare mastered the knowledge of his time and stands out as the greatest interpreter of the ideals of Elizabethan Europe. There is no poetic justice in the deaths of Ophelia, Cordelia, Lear, Gloucestr, and Banguo. However, THERE IS POETIC JUSTICE IN THE DEATHS OF GONERIL, REGAN, ORNWALL, AND ADMUND. But the murder of lady Macduff and her children is most tragic unjust. In the same way, in hamlet, there is no poetic justice in so many deaths on stage. However, the deaths of hamlet’s mother, his uncle, and even of Ophelia’s father can be justified as coming under poetic justice. But the deaths of Hamlet and even of Ophelia’s brother do not fall under poetic justice.

Again King Lear illustrates in its close the conventional poetic justice that demands the triumph of the righteous cause and the downfall of the wicked. But there is not lacking that more subtle justice, so impressive in “Lear” because unaccompanied by the temporal reward of the good, which reveals itself in the subduing of character to what it works in. Far more terrible than the defeat and death of Macbeth is the picture of the degradation of his nature, when he appears in the scene before the battle like a beast at bay. Hamlet gears up to be a traditional bloody revenge play – and then it stops. The bulk of the play deals not with Hamlet’s ultimately successful vengeance on his father’s murderer, but on Hamlet’s inner struggle to take action. The play’s conclusion has a typical amount of gore, but Hamlet is certainly not a typical revenge tragedy. Hamlet talks about revenge as a worthy goal, but his mysterious delay hints that he may actually feel otherwise. The validity – or the usefulness – of revenge itself is thrown into question by the play.

Reference: Shakespearean Tragedies- A. C. Bradley 


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