Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hamlet Essay

             Performative utterance has a huge impact on Hamlet and the individual's sense of self. While reading the play; we gain a lot of knowledge about Hamlet the character and Hamlet the play. In DeBoer's work, "The Performative Utterance in William Shakespeare's Hamlet," he talks about how Austin divided the performative ability of language into three main forces.
             The three main forces that J.L. Austin talks about are: "the locutionary force, the abilityof language to delivera message, the force of mutual intelligibility; the illocutionary force, what is done in being said, such as denying a request, giving an order, etc.; and the perlocutionary force, what is achieved by being said, the consequences of one's utterance such as an order being followed (or refused.) Throughout deBoer's essay he compares those three forces to Hamlet and his different actions throughout the play.
             The way Hamlet speaks constitutes action in itself and it impacts the characters and the plot. When Hamlet speaks to others throughout the play, he doesn't explain his motives or feelings for anything whatsoever. We only find out what is in Hamlet's mind when he has those memorable soliloquies. By acting so unpredictable, crazy and mysterious, it intimidates the other characters because they have no idea what Hamlet is going to do next. Hamlet's extreme unpredictability affected the plot by causing so many people to act just as crazy as him-but by paranoia.(Like spying on him or wanting to duel.) All of that ended up in a blood bath.
             The way i reflect on Hamlet and my experience with the play and memorization of his "To be, or not to be..." soliloquy created a great sense of memory, expectation and real-world results. By Shakespeare's effective usage of universal themes and morals, the reader is able to walk away with a sense of self and a greater understanding of trust and its effectiveness.
             The consideration of performative utterances, deBoer's paper, Bloom/Austin's theoretical frameworks, and careful studies  on Hamlet has furthered my understanding on several aspects of William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

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