Month: February 2016


Attention seniors. Before the merriment of commencement commences…wait, sorry that’s from Grease.

Let’s try this again, as I’ve probably said in a previous post, I am a teenager, and what do teenagers have to look forward to other than getting a driver’s licence and the wonderful process of apply for college? Graduation.

Yes, as Spring break approaches kids around the U.S. begin the gleeful journey towards Summer vacation, but for Seniors it’s different. As a Senior I get to look forward to my last Spring break as a high school student, which means I will most likely be sitting at home catching up on sleep and playing some video game (which right now would be Dragon Age Inquisition). But, as a Senior it also means that soon will come Ap testing, Prom and Graduation.

9a52447be4f3d0579129c7730da9116cEveryone tells you that as you reach the end of high school you’ll look back and start to miss things, but that’s not entirely true. Yes, I’ll miss seeing my friends everyday, and I’ll miss most, if not all of my teachers. However, school itself I will not miss. I’m looking forward to going to college; heck, in college I can wear pajamas to class! Can I do that in high school? No. Also, I get to pick when I eat lunch! No more with the school assigning me when I can and cannot eat and what a can and cannot eat!

After four years of hard work, late nights, and going to school with over a hundred degree fevers so I won’t have make-up work or absences, I finally get to walk the stage and get my diploma and be done with high school and the public school system! Besides, after graduation I get to go on an exciting trip across Europe before I head off to college.

They Call It A Tragedy Because…

So, my current English assignment is Hamlet, which I’m going to make a general assumption and assume most high schoolers have to read this. However, I’m sure most high school students are lucky enough to not have to read the First Quarto of Hamlet. After reading the first couple Acts of the First Quarto I think Hamlet can be considered a tragedy for a different reason.

First, the spelling of one of the soldier’s name. In the version of Hamlet that I read for school it is spelled Bernardo (which is and actual name), but in the First Quarto they spell his name Barnardo (fyi, as I type that version of the name I’m given the dreaded red squiggly line of spell check). How do you pronounce Barnardo? Is it Barn-ar-do? Or is the a suppose to sound like an e? Also, I get that Bernardo and Francisco are only in Act I so they aren’t all that important, but they completely unidentified Francisco, he is now the unnamed First Sentinel.Also, Act I.ii. seemed really short in the First Quarto. I remember the King and Queen having asked Hamlet to stay in Denmark, but I didn’t see that in the First Quarto. Also, the line the King says before everyone but Hamlet leaves I don’t remember being in my version of Hamlet.

So, whoever wrote the First Quarto tragically butchered Shakespeare. I know, spelling of names is a minor infraction, but they cut out important lines and it seemed like they added their own in-eloquent wording into new lines that should never be included in Hamlet.

Allusions and Hamartias: The Literary “Kiss of Death”

Congratulations! We’ve made if back to another post about literary terms. This week’s instalment will be about allusions and hamartias. So, here we go.

Just for kicks, let’s go back to March 23, 1775. Now, you may ask yourself, what was written, spoken, alluded to on this day; well I’ll tell you, Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. You might think this is a rather random choice for allusions, but this speech is chock full of them. So, here’s just a few.

“listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts”. In this quote Henry is referring to the Odyssey and the sirens who lure ships and sailors to their doom.

“Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?” (eyes, see not, and, having ears hear not) Mark 8:18

“Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss.” This is a reference to the betrayal of Judas.

So, we move on to Hamartia. First, since this term is not well known, I’ll give a definition. Hamartia: a fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero or heroine. Now for some examples:

Achilles and his heel. We’ve all probably heard this story somewhere, Achilles was bathed in the river Styx as an infant, but he was held by the heel so, unlike the rest of him, it did not become invulnerable. So what happened? His heel later become his undoing.

“To be, or not to be–that is the question (Hamlet III.i.). Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his indecisiveness. Hamlet wants to kill his father’s murderer, and he has several opportunities to do so, but he keeps finding reasons not to. As the story goes on, Hamlet’s indecision leads to the death 9 people, including himself.

P.S. If you don’t get my title…I’m sorry, I’ll explain it. A “kiss of death” is another way to refer to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, so it’s an allusion to go along with the post…about allusions.