Friday, June 24, 2016

Second exam: Hamlet and Macbeth (Friday 24 June)

Study the Analytical Writing section on my teaching webpage:

Write a detailed paragraph explaining exactly what it recommends.

Curiously, critics often discuss Hamlet and Macbeth together, though their protagonists could probably not be more divergent from one another, dissimilar in temperament, morality, character = fate, and in how their peers eulogize them.  Discuss your theory of their significant differences.  Plus also!

Use the four passages below as part of your analysis.

Show me how you are applying the Analytical Writing handout advice to your answer.



O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all the visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!
For Hecuba!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to her
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and that for passion
That I have? 


If your mind dislike anything, obey it: I will
forestall their repair hither and say you are not
Not a whit. We defy augury: there is special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he
leaves, knows, what is't to leave betimes? Let be.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence and catch
With his surcease success--that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all! here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'd jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions which, being taught, return
To plague th'inventor. This even-handed justice
Commends th'ingredients of our poisoned chalice
To our own lips.


 I have almost forgot the taste of fears.
The time has been my senses would have cooled
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in't.  I have supp'd full with horrors.
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.

     For me, the most important thing to focus on from the section on Analytical Writing from your teaching website was the word “germane.” In other words, the section was dedicated to  not only to encouraging students to keep their writing close to their selected premise, but also showing them how to go about selecting a premise that is relevant to the subject matter. The more technical objective of maintaining focus was primarily illustrated by the three guidelines for using quotations in the second paragraph of the section. The three rules illustrated the balancing act of only using the necessary portions of the text—the ones which pertain to your premise—while also being able to give your writing a bit of character and insight from the text that can only be offered by well-selected quotations. The more abstract objective of finding a topic, or premise, to research emphasized using your own curiosity of aspects of the text in order to find questions that you would want to try to answer. Numerous examples gave the reader an idea of what kinds of questions a text can raise.
     When comparing Macbeth and Hamlet, the most striking difference is in the amount of resolve to accomplish their respective goals. While Macbeth is largely a “man-of-action” who sets his mind to an undertaking (no matter how dreadful) and gets it done, Hamlet spends most of the time dragging his feet and procrastinating his stated objective of avenging his murdered father.
Hamlet’s inactivity is ironically paralleled by the speech about the murder of Priam by Pyrrhus that a player recites in scene 2 of Act II. Being in the act of revenging his father, Achilles, Pyrrhus is described as wearing black armor “ horridly tricked” in the blood of his enemies (2.2.275-85). This image is analogous to Hamlet’s “inky cloak” and “customary suits of solemn black” in scene 2 of Act 1 (1.2.77-8). Though, of course, Hamlet never attains anything as close to an image as aggressive or heroic image such as Pyrrhus (or Macbeth, for that matter) until the last scene of the play. And, when the prince kills Polonius in Act 3, it seems arbitrary and very unceremonious, being blocked from the politicians blood by the arras.
     Additionally, Hamlet’s response to the culmination of the player’s speech is indicative of his lack of desire for revenge. Paradoxically, as Hamlet compares the emotional display of the player’s performance (“Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect, / A broken voice, and his whole function suiting”) he is illustrating how impassive his own behavior has been since his father’s death. In fact, when Hamlet has been his most impassioned is when he has been faking madness after speaking with the ghost of King Hamlet.
    Furthermore, Hamlet’s reluctance to act of his revenge plan may have to do with the fact that along with the responsibility of avenging his late father, Hamlet also puts on his own shoulders the task of correcting what is “rotten in the state of Denmark.” For instance, after being visited by his father’s ghost in scene 5 of Act II, Hamlet exclaims, “The time is out of joint: oh, cursèd spite / That ever I was born to set it right” (1.4. 189-90). Dissimilarly, after Macbeth is visited by supernatural beings in the first Act, the main problem weighing on his mind is his own “horrible imaginings,” without any obvious evidence of having any regard for the ethical implications of possibly assassinating King Duncan or for the condition of the overall state of Scotland (1.3.142). Apparently, Hamlet’s journey is less selfish than Macbeth’s, chiefly because Hamlet actually cares about whether or not his current king, Claudius, deserves to die.
    Macbeth’s self-seeking and practical viewpoint can be deduced from his soliloquy at the beginning of scene 7 of Act 1. Seemingly already resigned to the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth is primarily concerned with the practical complications of committing the murder: If th’assassination / Could trammel up the consequence and catch / With his surcease success—that but this blow / Might be the be-all and the end-all!” Additionally, when Macbeth does show concern for the state of Scotland, his considerations also involves a preoccupation with his own self-preservation. For example, he states that he is worried about his assassination of the king could encourage others to eventually assassinate him: But in these cases / We still have judgment here, that we but teach / Bloody instructions which, being taught, return / To plague th’inventor” (1.7.7-10).
            Macbeth’s practicality is also markedly impious, in that, in this same soliloquy, he implies that getting away with the perfect murder is worth risking spiritual damnation: “but this blow / Might be the be-all and the end-all!—here, / But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, / We’d jump the life to come” (1.7.4-7). Macbeth’s fearless attitude at the end of the play also suggests a lack of regard for God. For instance, after hearing a women scream in the castle, he remarks, “I have supp'd full with horrors. / Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts / Cannot once start me” (5.5.13-5). What Macbeth is saying is that he has already experienced so much he has nothing left to fear. The obvious implication being that he does not now, or ever, fears hell. This is quite different from Hamlet’s concern over “what dreams may come.”
Interestingly, Hamlet shows a similar attitude of complacency towards the travails of life in the end scene of “Hamlet.” However, the prince seems to maintain his faith in a higher power that has some kind of control over the lives of man. For example, Hamlet states, “There is special provi- / dence in the fall of a sparrow” (5.2.191-2). The phrase “special providence” has obvious religious connotations.

Analytical writing depends on some fundamental skills, essential to producing clear and concise paragraphs, centered on important topic sentences. The writer should select quotes that support their thesis, and construct each paragraph around a topic sentence that explores the significance of the selected quote. Refrain from engaging in unnecessary summary, only summarizing the passages relevant to the thesis. It is also important to keep quotations limited to only what is both relevant to the thesis and what the author is prepared to analyze. When selecting quotes, pay close attention to ways they may be used to examine unique and original ways of interpreting the source material. Finally avoid paraphrasing a quote unless the meaning of the words is ambiguous, this will prevent the appearance of filling space.  Exercising these basic skills will improve the quality of ones analytical writing, and help produce more concise paragraphs.
Hamlet’s speech after Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern depart explores the false nature of the emotions expressed by players, and the reflection this has on his character. The passage that follows expresses the unnatural quality of the player’s expression, “Is it not monstrous that this player here, / But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, / Could force his soul so to his own conceit”. (Hamlet A 2-4) Linking the terms monstrous and the phrase “his soul so to his own conceit” illustrates the insincere nature of the players craft. While looking at fiction and “dream of passion” we see the illusion that an actor creates to give life to the lies he depicts as emotion. Delving deeper into his examination of the players skill Hamlet asks what the actor could do in this passage, “What would he do / Had he the motive and the cue for passion / That I have?” (Hamlet A 11-13) This passage speaks of Hamlet’s deep desires, and his uncertainty of how the player might respond in such a situation, how his skills would be brought to bear against the injustice that Hamlet faces. Finally through this uncertainty and reflection on the player Hamlet finds his views of himself in this passage, “Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!”. (Hamlet A 1) This shows Hamlet’s conflicted nature, and his self-loathing at what he must do to achieve what he must do, through calling himself a rogue, and a peasant slave he displays how lowly he views himself.
            When Horatio and Hamlet speak together, before joining the King, Queen, and Laertes Hamlet has exchanged his indecision, for decisiveness, though he still reflects upon the actions around him for his guidance. This decisiveness appears in the following passage, “Not a whit. We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.”. (Hamlet B 3-4) Hamlet displays his boldness, “defy augury” reflects his rejection of the omens and predictions that held him frozen before, while the conclusion of the passage speaks of the divine control of even the smallest of events in life. Hamlet speaks further of his changed perspective in this passage, “If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all.”. (Hamlet B 5-6) This passage further confirms the definitive status of Hamlets change of mindset, he embraces that what will happen will happen in its appointed time, and all a man can do is be ready.
            Macbeth is a man who is of noble bearing, though through the ethical dilemma he faces in his struggle to claim the throne of Scotland he finds himself a deeply conflicted and tormented man. As Macbeth considers his choice his distress is revealed in the following passage, “If the assassination / Could trammel up the consequence, / … / But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, / We’d jump the life to come.”. (Macbeth C 2-7)
The word Consequence reflects the danger Macbeth feels at the prospect of achieving his goals, and trammel up, and catch depicts the idea of containing all the penalties the future will hold for his crimes in one act. This is made even more apparent by the conclusion “bank and shoal of time” gives an image of passing toward death, while “jump the life to come” clearly indicates Macbeth would sell his soul to release himself from the guilt of his crime. Even beyond the guilt he considers he would feel at fulfilling his desire, Macbeth cannot bring himself to fully commit to the idea of the act. This is expressed in the following passage, “this even-handed justice / Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice / To our own lips”. (Macbeth C 10-12) The “even-handed justice” speaks to the idea that justice would return his own foul poison back upon himself as he would serve it to others.
            Macbeth in the final act of the play has made a great shift in his character. His cold and brutal nature is revealed in the following passage, “I have almost forgot the taste of fears. / The time has been my senses would have cooled / To hear a night-shriek”. (Macbeth D 1-3) Looking at the “taste of fear”, and “my senses would have cooled” we see Macbeth has abandoned his compassion, and kindness. What once affected him no longer holds sway on his emotions. The final confirmation of his change into the monster Lady Macbeth wished him to be comes in this passage, “I have supped full with horrors. / Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts / Cannot once start me”. (Macbeth D 5-7) To have supped full on horrors brings about the dark and murderous nature in Macbeth as he has experienced enough real horror that they are familiar to his thoughts, and now no horrors can cause him fear.
            Looking at the characters of Hamlet and Macbeth we see characters who both experienced great conflict and change, this is expressed clearly through the four selected passages. With the character of Hamlet he transitioned from a character of great indecision to a character of decisive action through reflection on those around him. He also came to know that to question ones actions indefinitely is to be incapable of action at all, thus one must eventually prepare oneself and act. Macbeth similarly was a character of great change who experienced deep conflict of ethics. Yet in the case of Macbeth his struggle was from the perspective of a moral man descending into the depths of damnation, and coming out a monster. He began questioning if he could achieve his goals through evil acts, and each act required an even greater act, until in the end there was no act he would not carry out no matter how vile.

Papers need to make an argument. Papers that don’t present a coherent point, backed up with proof via quotations and textual references, are not beneficial to the argument’s purpose. One reason that a paper might not argue well is that the text is not appropriately analyzed. If the text is simply paraphrased and left in the paper without explanation, then there is nothing to be gained by using the text at all. If quotations are used, but ramble on without a point, then they are useless as well. Quotations should be short and concise so that they can be more fully analyzed. Longer quotations not only take up more space, but the proper analyzing of them is very likely to take the paper off-topic from its main argument. 
            Perhaps the reason that Hamlet and Macbeth are so often discussed together is because, despite their common theme as a tragedy, the main characters are so glaringly different. However, it is in these differences that we see the similarities between Hamlet and Macbeth, and in these similarities we see how Hamlet and Macbeth are each other’s inverse. Hamlet’s motives are much purer than Macbeth’s, even though Macbeth begins his play with semblance of morality about him. Hamlet also has more control of himself than Macbeth, although the other characters in the play may not know it. Hamlet also keeps confidence in friends who would wish to see him succeed through doing what is right; whereas Macbeth’s closest confidant has sold her soul to the devil.
            Hamlet and Macbeth do have one exceptional similarity: that is, their desire to exact vengeance on those around them. Still, the motives for this similarity are very different. Hamlet’s vengeance is brought about by a desire to avenge his father’s unnatural death. Although he does have reasons of his own, such as believing that his mother’s marriage to his uncle is incestuous, Hamlet hates his uncle the most for killing his father. For Macbeth, on the other hand, the word “vengeance” is better defined to mean, “inflict injury and harm” than “exact revenge.” King Duncan never wronged Macbeth, yet he kills the king in his sleep. Banquo has never been anything less than a friend, yet Macbeth kills him as well. The only moment in Macbeth’s reign where his cruelty could be thought of as revenge is when he kills Macduff’s family in response to Macduff deserting him to join Malcolm’s army. But even in this, he is far crueler than he needs to be, as Macduff’s wife and children have never wronged Macbeth.
            By the time Macbeth murders Macduff’s family, he has lost all touch with reality and morality. Macbeth’s lawless killing has taken over his mind. It seems, though, that he is somewhat aware of how far he has gone. It is shortly after he kills Macduff’s family that he says,
I have almost forgot the taste of fears…
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.
            Macbeth remembers that he was once afraid of the evil things of night. He recalls what it was like to get scared from something as simple as a story. Yet, he says that he has done and thought so much evil that nothing can scare him any more. This statement can’t be believed, as he kills Banquo and Macduff’s family out of fear. Macbeth is lying to us, and even more than that he is lying to himself. This makes it all the more obvious that he is truly out of his mind.
            Hamlet, on the other hand, only seems to be out of his mind. The audience and Horatio are the only ones privy to the knowledge that he is putting on an act of insanity. Knowing this, we are able to see where, although the other characters believe him to be talking about the players who come to visit the castle, he is speaking of himself and the “show” he is putting on.
                        Is it not monstrous that this player here…
                        Could force his soul so to his own conceit
                        That from her working all the visage wanned,
                        Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
                        A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
                        With forms to his conceit?
Hamlet is alone as he speaks this. There is no one around for him to act for, so we assume that he is speaking the truth. And although some may say that he is talking of the player, who had just presented a monologue for him and his friends, it is quite possible that he is actually speaking of himself. As the player was speaking earlier, his words upset Hamlet so that Polonius had to ask him to stop. “Look where he has not turned his color and has / tears in ‘s eyes! –Prithee, no more” (2.2.441-442). Hamlet regrets in his soliloquy that his face gave anything away as a reaction to the player’s words. His strictness with himself shows both Hamlet’s expertise in the art of acting as well as his sanity. A man who is truly insane would not berate himself for showing his true emotions.
Still, it is not just the audience who is allowed to see Hamlet’s true self. His friend Horatio, who first showed him his father’s ghost, is his one confidant in the matter. Even more than that, Horatio offers to help Hamlet when he thinks Hamlet needs him. In the moments before King Claudius and Laertes arrive for the deadly duel at the end of the play, Horatio turns to Hamlet and says,
            If your mind dislike anything, obey it: I will fore-
stall their repair hither and say you are not fit.
Hamlet’s response is to tell him that whatever happens is providence, whether he, Laertes, or King Claudius may die.
In this mindset, and in his companion, is where Macbeth differs the greatest from Hamlet. Macbeth, persuaded by his wife, believes that fate is something that can be changed and influenced by mortal man. His rise to Thane of Cawdor was prophesied and then occurred without his help. Yet when he looks at the prophecy of his rise to kingship he doesn’t see any way for it to happen without any action on his part. Lady Macbeth believes the same, and with her guidance he commits the crime that ensures the second prophecy’s attainment. Without first hearing the prophecy, and without the goading of Lady Macbeth, it is quite possible that Macbeth would have foregone the king’s murder. But then it is quite possible that he never would have become king. The prophecy stands on itself that it never would have occurred without it first being spoken. It is the prophecy that brings Macbeth to desire the kingship and his wife who brings him to gain it.
Some might say that if Macbeth had a better companion he would have reacted more like Hamlet. However this is not true as it was much more than Lady Macbeth that brought Macbeth to ruin. His motives for vengeance are selfish whereas Hamlet’s are based on revenge for another. He believes that he must act to bring the prophecies about, while Hamlet is willing to let providence work on her own. And while Macbeth allowed his companion to influence him negatively, he could have told her no. Hamlet is willing to disagree with Horatio, and Horatio only wants what is best for him. Perhaps the reason that Hamlet and Macbeth are so often spoken of together is because their namesakes are so absolutely different from one another, yet the courses of their lives touch so many similar things.

The analytical writing page focuses on putting more information per quotation. It is important one chooses a topic one can go into detail about without using a theme that is too general and will require too much length. While including one’s own sense of oddity, be aware that the audience is well learned and does not require information on already well known facts. Sentence variation is important. Avoid summaries and paraphrases and instead fill paragraphs by addressing questions. Give readers a new point of view on the text. In addition to the context of the lines, also look at the specific words used. Present ideas in a way that logically follows the point you are trying to make. Each paragraph should focus on only one specific topic.
            The differences between Macbeth and Hamlet are numerous, yet their fates remain the same, they both die because all tragedies end in death regardless of the personality of the main character. Macbeth is immoral because even though he understands the deeds he does are bad; he still does them. Hamlet on the other hand can be considered moral because he spends the entirety of the play putting off killing his uncle because he questions the necessity. He continues to wonder if taking a life for revenge is worth whatever consequence he will have to live (or die) with after the deed is done. Although it is considered Hamlet’s fatal flaw that he cannot make up his mind it would seem that this very “flaw” is what keeps him moral.
            Hamlet is melancholy for the majority of the play, he speaks of death and suicide concerning all those around him. He doesn’t seem to pay too much attention to anyone but Polonius and his uncle who he finds to be scheming together. While many worry that he is going crazy because of the way he treats them it seems like he still cares for the majority. He yells at Ophelia and accuses her of being a lying woman, then to watch the play he asks, “Shall I lie in your lap” (3.2.102)? It is assumed that Hamlet is just pretending to be crazy and if this is the case then it is clear that he is loyal to the people he loved before he went mad. Macbeth, on the other hand, loses all loyalty and trust once the murders start. Although he is the one completing or ordering for the murders he seems to not trust any of his friends. The second Banquo seems to have a sense that Macbeth is involved, he hires someone to kill him even though Banquo was his closest friend before the rise in nobility.
            The fate of these two men is what unites them. Towards the end of the play they both lose their lovers to suicide. Lady Macbeth kills herself when she is finally unable to stand the guilt of all the murders she has been involved with. Ophelia drowns after her father’s death when she begins to go crazy and sing of her father dying and her losing her virginity. Ophelia isn’t Hamlet’s only love interest that dies by her own hand. Gertrude, who Hamlet seems to have an inexplicable bond with, drinks poison out of a cup that was meant for Hamlet. While it isn’t clear whether or not her drinking the poison was an accident given the clear similarities between the two plays it would follow that perhaps Gertrude couldn’t take the pressure of knowing her late husband was murdered by her current husband.
            As for the death of the protagonists themselves, regardless of their attempts to work around the prophecies put on them, both managed to fulfill their specific revelation. Macbeth felt invincible because of the prophecy, “For none of woman borne shall harm Macbeth” (4.1.82). Upon discovering that Macduff was removed from his mother and not born Macbeth realized the truth in the prophecy and was killed because of it. Hamlet, though indecisive about listening to the command the ghost of his father gave him in regards to killing Claudius, ends up killing his uncle after his mother dies. In the end both characters, though different in all aspects of character, died the same way, trying to avoid their fate.
            In Act II Scene 2 of Hamlet, the protagonist is conversing with the actors about a play they will perform. In his soliloquy, Hamlet says, “Had he the motive and that for passion that I have?” (2.2.520) in critique of the player’s emotional portrayal.  Although the play Hamlet has chosen is meant to infuriate his uncle into confessing the murder it seems that he might have intended a different purpose for the performance. In the line, Shakespeare chose the word “passion” to demonstrate Hamlet’s feelings for the motive. Passion in one sense can be an extreme hatred yet in another can relate to romance. If the motive is to show his uncles crimes, then passion in this sense means hate, yet perhaps the motive isn’t about his uncle at all. It could be that passion is meant, in this case, to be romantic love. That would make the motive not getting revenge on his uncle, but winning over his mother’s affection. Hamlet’s somewhat incestuous relationship with his mother is no secret so is his wanting to kill his uncle revenge for his father or a clear path to winning over his mother? The length of time between his father asking him to kill Claudius and his actually killing the king seems to show that something in the meantime was a stronger source of his wanting to murder the “adulterous beast”. There was plenty of things that happened between the first visitation of the ghost to Hamlet and the murder of Claudius, importantly though Hamlet saw the ghost a second time in Gertrude’s chamber. The ghost reminds him that he has strayed from his mission, does the ghost of Hamlet Sr. know Prince Hamlet’s intentions with his mother? Perhaps this is the very reason the ghost appeared, to remind Hamlet why he is supposed to kill the King, not so that he can have his mother, but so Hamlet Sr. can leave purgatory.
            Hamlet spends the entire play giving speeches about why he wants to die, but he often shows a great amount of compassion for people that haven’t done an extreme amount to deserve it. In the graveyard he is angry at the grave digger for singing on the job and throwing skulls without even thinking that they used to be a person. He demands to know why the woman about to be buried doesn’t get proper rites. He doesn’t kill his uncle while he’s praying because he believes then his uncle will go straight to Heaven. Yet in response to Horatio, he says, “Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows, what is’t to leave betimes” (5.2.209). Hamlet seems to know what people leave behind when they die every time he questions rituals and prayers, so why is it in regards to himself that he thinks nobody can know what legacy they will leave. The ongoing question is then, does Hamlet really want to die? His father was poisoned in his sleep without the chance to ask forgiveness for his having killed Fortinbras, in result he is stuck in purgatory. His father couldn’t have known what would happen after he died because he was murdered but Hamlet seems so ready to die throughout the whole play perhaps he does know what will happen after his passing. “We defy augury” (5.2.205), he tells Horatio. In Hamlet’s theory God controls everything and that’s why he enters the dual because he knows that if he is meant to die he will and since up to this point although he has spoken like a suicidal man because he is still alive he knows that God didn’t want him dead yet. Hamlet may try to avoid fate by putting off decisions that will result in him murdering someone but he knows that’s because fate is telling him to do so.
            Macbeth, being an already rather immoral person, increases his unscrupulousness by wondering, “if the assassination could trammel up the consequences” (1.7.2).  He means to say that he knows it’s bad that he wants to kill Duncan but he seems to think that it would be less evil of him to do it if there were little to no consequences. It’s not that Macbeth’s wish goes un-granted, because he gets what he wants and there are only a few drawbacks. He ends up so ridden with guilt and mistrust inwardly that he ends up wanting to kill anybody that could possibly have assumed it was him that killed Duncan. He thinks that with all the people who thought he had anything to do with the murders dead he would be free from consequence yet as the culpability takes over his thoughts he sees apparitions and fears for the safety of his position as king. Once people start to notice that Macbeth is seeing things and sneaking around, Macduff, who most likely aware from the start, steps in and battles Macbeth. Macbeth is killed by his own remorse although the guilt wasn’t Macduff’s sword the inward consequences he faced caused the notion in Macduff that eventually killed him.
            Is it fair to say that in the end Macbeth understands the sins he has committed? Not entirely. He now knows that he has butchered many people but he, not having the ability to feel fear or terror, cannot place himself in the minds of those that see him as a foul creature. “Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts” (5.5.14), Macbeth now knows that while sin was consuming him fear wasn’t. When at first he killed Duncan, he refused to re-enter the room and see what he had done. Yet the morning after he kills the guards so they can’t confess and enters Duncan’s room unfazed by what he has done. At some point it seems that Macbeth is so caught up in lies that he starts to believe them himself. In Macbeth’s mind, did he really kill Duncan? In this passage it seems that he has just begun to feel the weight of what he has done. The barrier that he began to create to shield himself from what he has done is so strong he no longer feels fear or terror because, at this point, everyone is fearing him and what he might do to them. Hannah Arendt’s philosophy of the “banality of evil” seems to have affected Macbeth greatly. After being covered in the blood of all those that died at his hands he does not transform into a horrid looking monster in fact he drains of color and life with each one he takes. Macbeth is not the Wendigo he is simply a confused man that has lost all sense of morality and can no longer understand what causes all the guilt he is feeling. His mind is overrun with “slaughterous thoughts” as he calls them, he is still Macbeth he has just tasted blood now.
            Hamlet and Macbeth are completely different until their death where they converge both meeting their fates in similar ways. After they die they diverge again in how people remember them. Macbeth is called a butcher by Malcom and his wife is thought of as a “fiend-like queen” (5.8.71). Malcolm doesn’t think of them as mundane people that could no longer see the difference between right and wrong he sees them as always having been terrible people. Hamlet, in contrast, departs with his good friend by his side. Horatio thinks of him as noble and a “sweet prince” (5.2.358). Macbeth is most likely going to hell for his deeds whereas, Hamlet, in the mind of Horatio at least, is going to heaven with angels leading him to heaven. The differences far exceed the similarities between the two but most dissimilar of all they are going to completely different afterlives.

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