The problem of mortality

In the Sonnets and in Hamlet Shakespeare is dealing with the problem of human mortality.  He speaks of love and beauty but the main points are all focused on the fact that every one will one day die.  In Hamlet it is shown through the death of many characters including Hamlet, even after all he did to claim the throne and avenge his father, he died.  In sonnet 18 and sonnet 73 Shakespeare makes it more obvious than in the other ones that death is a theme.  He says things like “fading beauty” and talks about temporary love.  These things exist because people are mortal and life is temporary.  The only way to escape death is through a legacy,  in sonnet 18 he explains how his writing can immortalize people including himself and loved ones.  Hamlet does not offer the same kind of escape that the sonnets do, but the struggle of man against his mortality is clearly shown in the soliloquies of Hamlet and the King.


Hamlet is just a man. Number 1

By the play’s end Hamlet’s actions are not morally justified.  The play is a tragedy so it is not surprising that by the end the tragic hero has made many mistakes.  I think he can still be a hero because he is the protagonist and has positive intentions.  I think the modern day anti-hero is very similar to the old tragic heroes like Hamlet.  He is a flawed human who makes both positive and negative choices and his morality is more complex and relatable to the reader.  The ghost’s second appearance when he is speaking to Gertrude is the most obvious signal that he went too far and is no longer just seeking justice but is now bent on revenge.  Hamlet’s admirable attributes are his love for his father, intelligence, and sense of justice.  His tragic qualities were his obsessiveness, lust, and cruelty.  Hamlet’s characteristics remind me of the darker heroes in Westerns, in modern stories the resolution is often more positive for the hero than it was in Shakespeare’s time and it would be interesting to see how he might have made his stories different if he was writing for a modern day western audience. 


Blake the Man

After doing a little research I found out a lot about William Blake.  We have studied him as a poet, but during his life people would have known him as an engraver.  His official occupation was engraving and he was not recognized for his literary work until long after he died, so it goes.  He lived from 1757 to 1827 during the romantic period which is the ear where I thought his poetry would fit because of its biblical illusions and at the same time there is negative view of the organized church.  Blake wrote in a way that both fit the period and also stretched the limits.  This made him less popular in his own time, but more influential in the future.  His idea of “free love” is an example of something that made him less popular while he was alive, yet more popular later on.  Many feminists and gay rights leaders have referenced his idea that sexuality should not be controlled by the state.  While reading his poems I thought that “the chimney sweep” would tell the most about his childhood, but he was probably much more wealthy growing up than the children he describes.  I read that after he died some of his work was burned for being heretical. I think it would have been interesting to be able to read some of his lost work.


Waiting for Godot: me vs. Beckett

The live performance of “Waiting for Godot” was very different from how I imagined it.  First of all the in the setting I imagined a very large powerful tree because it was the only thing there, also I imagined Estragon and Vladimir as much younger.  The tree in the play was pretty pathetic and the two main characters were older men.  Having a smaller tree made the thought of them hanging themselves from it funnier and created more of a sense that there was absolutely nothing around them.  Making them older made them less relatable to myself, while I was reading I felt similar to the characters because of their humor and the way they couldn’t decide what to do, but watching the play took away from that feeling. 

Watching the play helped me to see it more as Beckett intended it to be.  Their clothes, use of words, and physical movements reminded me of the three stooges.  While I was reading I was focused on finding meaning in what was said, but while watching the play I was more focused on the humor and absurdity of the play.  I liked the parts with Pozzo and Lucky much more, not having to read the stage directions and I wish we could have seen the second time Pozzo comes and how that part is preformed.  Watching it hasn’t helped me understand what the play means any more, but I think it has helped me see what is less and more significant which is a start.  I think that the tree and Estagon’s foot are less significant than I thought, and I think their age and short term memory are much more.


Art I don't understand

This picture was on a YouTube video I watched on the channel, Vsauce 3. I didn’t understand how people could make money off of pictures like this so I looked it up and saved the link. There were a lot of pictures by a few different artists on the website being featured, and some were worth a lot of money. Of all the pictures on the website this one stood out to me the most, and I still don’t really know why. I still think it is weird that artists can make a living off of random pictures, but it doesn’t bother me any more. I still don’t understand this picture, but after looking at it again I started to like it and now it is my desktop background.

Art I don’t understand


Samuel Beckett

After briefly looking up Samuel Beckett I learned he was considered one of the most significant play writers in the 20th century.  He lived through both of the World Wars, which had a great influence on his work.  Like many writers during this time he uses black comedy and themes of existentialism.  Some consider him one of the first postmodernists while he is also called one of the last modernists, what ever the case may be, he was extremely influential in today’s literature. He did much of his work in France and England in the 1950’s which were centers for the postmodern literary movement.  He is considered to be apart of “The Theater of the Absurd” which is known for its strange theories about human existence.  It is marked by the idea that humans have no purpose and therefore all logic and reasoning is meaningless. Existentialism is often associated to both Beckett and “The Theater of the Absurd.”  


The Drown Project

This project was one of the more frustrating projects that we have done, not because it was a hard task but because time seemed to be against us.  Other people worked on it over the break or the weekends, but between Christina, my partner, getting his wisdom teeth out and I working on the weekends there was never an extended amount of time we could work on it.  We ended up doing a live performance mostly because the other options would not have realistically fit in to both of our schedules.  Also my computer is really old and kind of messed up so doing editing for videos or high quality pictures can be hard.  I think that our representation of “Boyfriend” went alright. I think that it could have been better, but it was pretty close to what was in the book.  We split Yunior’s character into his thoughts and physical body.  I think it was a good idea because so much of the story is narrative, but to show it the way we wanted to would have required more time and planning.  I think that I should get a B on this project because we completed the assignment but could have done it better and I think that we didn’t quite serve “Boyfriend” justice. It is one of my favorite chapters in the book.  I learned a little more about the story. Rereading it carefully helped me to see how Yunior developed during the story.  He starts off negative and depressed and at the end is more positive.  All the projects made Diaz’s diction stand out to me more.  When I read to myself I don’t realize the strong language and attitude of the characters as much as when I hear it or say it.