Friday, November 14, 2014

november 14

Integrity is the principle of aligning (or integrating) our thoughts, words, and actions.  What makes integrity appealing and personally/socially valuable, and what makes it such a challenge for so many of us?  Does Hamlet have integrity?  Why/why not?

1. Journal
2. Extensions of yesterday's conversation re: Act III & "The Performative Utterance..."

1. Please post an essay to your course blog in response to one of the following prompts. (Note: If you are in need of practice and/or acclaim, or if you feel moved to write on both topics, or if you are a gonzo writer/extra credit fiend, please feel free to write two essays.)

Using what you've learned about Hamlet the character and Hamlet the play, evaluate the impact of performative utterance on Hamlet and your own sense of self. How does the way Hamlet speaks constitute action in itself? How does it impact the characters and the plot? How does this compare with your own "self-overhearing"? How does the way you reflect on your experience create a sense of memory, expectation, and real-world results? Use the text, your reading/lecture notes, the experience of memorizing the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, de Boer's paper (and Bloom's/Austin's theoretical frameworks), and the many online and offline discussions we've had.

Do you think Hamlet's nuts?  After our discussions today I reflected back on all the commentary and all the productions I could remember, and it seems like the overwhelming majority talk about Hamlet being mad.  But I still wonder whether his ability to see the ghost is commentary on Gertrude's blindness to the truth and Hamlet's ability to see right and wrong.  In fact, I wonder if it's the sanest thing in the world to be freaked out by feeling obliged to kill someone, and I also still wonder about Hamlet's ability to plan and say the right things (with double meanings!) under pressure.  I guess he could be an endearingly fiendish sociopath, but he seems too self-critical for that.  What do you think, and what is your evidence?  Especially curious about your perspectives after you read DeBoer's paper. 

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