11 October. Hamlet’s Ecologies. Act 4.

For Tuesday, Oct 16

In advance of Mark Johnson’s Class Visit, please complete the following:

Group Presentations

Group Number Group Memebers
G6 Thiago, Danya, Akshay, Elias, Ashley
G7 Patrick, Margaret, Mathew, Mai
G17 Shakeeb, Mitchell, Michael Tang, Andy

How does nature threaten political systems in Hamlet?

Respond to the question above based on the chunks of text below:
  • What do you make of Hamlet’s ecology: “Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two dishes but to one table. That’s the end” (4.3.2685-2691)?
  • What does Horatio mean when he says of Ophelia, “Her speech is nothing,/Yet the unshapèd use of it doth move/The hearers to collection” (4.5.2752-54)?
  • What does Ophelia mean when she say the following and why frame her feelings as she does: “There’s fennel for you, and columbines. There’s rue for you, and here’s some for me; we may call it herb of grace o’Sundays. You may wear your rue with a difference. There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. They say ‘a made a good end” (4.5.2932-2936).
  • To what/whom does Gertrude attribute agency in her report of Ophelia’s death and why?

    There is a willow grows aslant a brook
    That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
    Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
    Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
    That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
    But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them.
    There on the pendent boughs her crownet weeds
    Clamb’ring to hang, an envious sliver broke,
    When down her weedy trophies and herself
    Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
    And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up,
    Which time she chanted snatches of old lauds,
    As one incapable of her own distress,
    Or like a creature native and endued
    Unto that element. But long it could not be
    Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
    Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
    To muddy death. (4.7.3159-75)