Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hamlet vs. Beowulf




Since the dawn of civilization, language has been recognized as a powerful tool to manipulate and control people. In Hamlet by Shakespeare and in Beowulf by Unknown the authors use two completely different languages to show what the main characters are thinking. In Hamlet, words serve as weapons to manipulate other people and achieve their personal goals. While in Beowulf metaphors, exaggeration, and alliteration are three devices that together allow the reader to experience this poem from a different point of view.

“I am thy father's spirit; Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night, And for the day confin'd to wastein fires, Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature Are burnt and purg'd away.” In Act 1, Sc. 4 Hamlet has trouble depicting truth from fantasy in this scene, whether or not to believe the ghost who assumes the form of his deceased father. This causes Hamlet to constantly question himself, and his actions. This is different from Beowulf because Beowulf is a very strong man, who has a very strong mindset and will not differentiate from his plan no matter what the circumstances may be.

“Beowulf got ready, donned his war-gear, indifferent to death; his mighty, hand-forged, fine-webbed mail, would soon meet with the menace underwater.” This quote from Beowulf is showing that through Bewoulf’s actions he proves that he is a fearless warrior who will not question his own decisions. While, in Hamlet we learn that through his use of lanuage he is a very weak individual who will not make up his mind.

After reading these two stories about heroes, I have realized how much language can influence a character’s actions. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet is affected by his own doings. While in Beowulf, Beowulf is influenced by the actions of other characters and will not stop until he has accomplished what he has set forth to do.

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