Power Structures in Hamlet

In the Shakespearean play, Hamlet, there appears to be a power structure.

What exactly is a power structure? A power structure is “the hierarchy that encompasses the most powerful people in an organization.”

After reading the first few acts, I thought that the power structure started with Orphelia on the bottom moving to Laertes, Polonius, Hamlet, Gertrude, and finally Claudius.

So I created a power structure through note cards and paper clips.

The papers overlap each other with the one with more power being on top of the other cards. Red is the weakest with the rainbow colors transitioning into purple, the highest power.

Because Orphelia is the daughter of Polonius, who acts as a sort of advisor to the king, she is higher than the average person like soldier Marcellus, Barnardo, and Francisco. However, she is “lower” in the power structure because the society she lives in is hierarchal and male-dominated. With Laertes above her, Polonius hold lots of influence to the king. However, he is not blood related to King Claudius. Hamlet holds a lot of power as the prince, but Gertrude holds more influence. As a result, the remaining order stands as Polonius, then Hamlet, then Gertrude, and finally Claudius.

I also saw that some characters were static, dynamic, round, and flat.

Hamlet clearly stands as a character who is both dynamic and round due to his inner chaos and confusion over the revelation that his father was murdered and his mother decided to marry his uncle just after this occurred.  “That it should come to this!”- Hamlet (Act I, Scene II)

Polonius seems to be static, as someone whose basic character hasn’t appeared to change since the beginning of the story. However, he has a round figure, Like a two-headed snake and a Janus-like character, Polonius is fatherly as demonstrated when he offers his son Laertes, advice – “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” (Act I, Scene III)- and his political and shrewd side when he tries get court information and screw over his son when he [Laertes] is out the country.

Gertrude  is both static and flat,  appearing to a be a child-like, mindless woman. Although she is queen, she appears to lack the analytic and scheming plan of royalty- like Lady Macbeth in one of Shakespeare’s other plays, Macbeth. She is also shown to be shallow and uncaring when she tries to tell Hamlet to “not seek for thy noble father in the dust [because] all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity.
(1.2.70-75)

 

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“Who’s there?” – Barnardo (1.1.1)
Dark, macabre, mourning, skeptical, (self)tortured, tragic, uneasy, weary, worried, wretched.

In the start of this Shakespearean play, the gloomy and dark mood is ever present. The King is dead and his ghost lingers at the castle, which signals there is something strange at play here.

When he speaks to the ghost, Hamlet discovers that his father was killed “unnaturally” (1.5.31) and is told to avenge him.

From there, Hamlet begins his descent into madness. Once someone who was full of pure intentions, his anger and despair for vengeance corrupts his soul.

Like Hamlet, the moon in the header represents Hamlet’s purity. However with a large impact event, it changes to become red, a color often associated negative beliefs of war and bloodshed.

✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵✻✵

I’ve also came up with a color palette for each main character in Act 1 of Hamlet:

Hamlet:

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Currently, Hamlet seems to be gloomy and sad from the death of the king, his father. Angry and weary, he is unwilling to partake in a celebration celebrating the marriage of his mom and his uncle. The light blue shows how he is wants to hang in the background like a ghost, but the darker end of the spectrum symbolizes the storm that is blooming in Hamlet’s mind.

Francisco, Marcellus, and Barnardo:

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These colors represent a portion of the Denmark Guard’s uniform. The cerulean color, on the right, represent the bright blue parts of the uniforms— which contrast with the denim color, imitating the darkness of the night.

The Ghost (aka the former King):

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I used part of the palette to symbolize the ghost, whose life was unjustly taking. It also reflects the gloom and terror that the ghost would bring upon passersby.

Laertes: 

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Laertes is controversial. Although he shares a very strong bond with his father, symbolized by the dark colors, he is very condescending towards his sister and offers adviser that he would not take himself, represented by the pale colors of how flaky he is.

Orphelia:

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She is said to be pretty but innocent. The pastel colors represent how she is overlooked as a decoration, but the darker colors represent how she is a real person who is doubtful of herself and Hamlet’s love.

Polonius:

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While he is shown to be a doting father, having an especially close relationship with his son, he can be condescending to his daughter, Ophelia. His caring spirit shows his bright light, yellow, but he is also shrouded in politics and mind games, which were symbolized by dark, cloudy colors.

Gertrude:

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As royalty, she acts like a queen with dignified behavior (symbolized by the purple and magenta). However, she seems inconsiderate (symbolized by the lighter colors) when she supports Claudius to keep Hamlet home from going to Wittenberg, on the excuse of wanting Hamlet closer to her, instead of convincing Claudius to give her son some space.

Claudius:

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He is a king and seemingly likes to throw and participate in parties, which hints of his lively spirit (symbolized by the brighter colors of the spectrum). He pressures Hamlet to treat him like a father when he fails to to reach out to him. Because of this, he is as inconsiderate as Gertrude, if more. This is act may hint of something more sinister, as represented by the purple colors.

 

Folder challenge

I think it was very interesting because it allowed us to see our classmates more than just a stereotype or assumption. It also let us become more creative; everyone had different ideas, some people wrote words, some people drew pictures, and others made cut out cards.

There was a lot of communication, which involved talking and listening. They liked it which was pretty nice.

It was pretty easy to design for other people. By listening, you can draw everything– from dogs to sports– they say. It was a straight forward project that had different ways of interpretation.

My drawings were very straightforward and I had a definition or a set of  words that described the picture next to it [the picture]. I wish I had gotten more colors instead having to alternate between red, green, gray, and black– which reminded me more of Christmas scenes instead of the person’s joy I was supposed to talk about.

Can You Feel Miserable But Feel Loved?

I definitely believe that people can be miserable but feel loved. It could be raining and you may have had a bad day. Some power line went out and you have no WiFi at home. Some jerk cut you off and decided to rear end the car in front of you and caused a traffic jam that made you late to work.  But when your dog comes bounding out to greet you at your dingy apartment, you’d feel a steady rush of Oxytocin in your head and you can feel a growng warmth in your heart.

Despite bad circumstances and everything going downhill, the support of family and friend can always boost us up. Even in our darkest time, there is always humanity.

Despite the election and the rising hate crimes, there have been many acts of kindness of providing safe spaces for those who feel intimidated and threatened by the elections.

Despite misery, there is love. As a result I feel like love and misery acts as polar opposites; misery acts in a cycle that makes one feel “down” and love can make one feel “up.” Working together, they amplify the positive response- which allows love and misery to coexist.

 

Project Update

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Just recently, I was cleaning out the garage when I found a treasure chest of stuffed animals. As a result, my friends and I decided to help out the Stuffed Animal For Emergencies (SAFE) organization, which gave toys to children in need.

We planned to put up flyers and set up a toy drive at school. If it proved to be effective, then we could drive the goods up to the nearest SAFE organization. As a result, not only would the SAFE effort be cost-efficient because the materials wouldn’t be of monetary donations, goods would be common household items!

This way, we could inspire for change from within our community and give it to the rest of the world!

How is Lemonade Related to Selflessness?

Every time I open up my news app on my laptop, I’m flooded by the never-ending static of the latest victim of Wikileaks, what’s at stake for Congress and the Supreme Court, and the impending US presidential election between a reality TV star who doubles as an orange, racist, sexist Cheetos and a politician plagued by an email scandal. Because the majority of new stations report large scale and often chaotic events, we miss the small wonderful things like a liver donor saving and marrying his wife and a hairless hamster being adopted that show the beauty of humanity. Today, the article “Lemonade Stand Sends Loving Relief to Burma” popped on my feed, in which a young girl personifies selflessness as she identifies and feeds a need.

Molly Long raised more than $40 in selling lemonade to help the children in Burma, where a cyclone had just hit. While she could have bought her earrings through the proceeds of her lemonade stand, “she didn’t even consider running the stand for her own gains.” Though the cyclone news had made her “visibly upset,” she fueled her determination into her lemonade stand and donated to Avaaz, a global activist network.While she may have been young, she was kind and selfless, all honorable qualities. Despite her age, she strove to make a difference by helping those in Burma through donations when she could have used the money for a personal purpose.

Reading this article made me feel warm because it’s comforting that good things happen even though we don’t necessarily hear it. Constant bombardment of global issues are informative, but sometimes, it makes you despair because of how little you can seemingly do. Despite this, always remember to “stay soft, it looks good on you.” Even though there are hardships in the world, we can always make a change, despite our age, despite our gender, despite every confining label- by reaching out to those who have a need and filling it.