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Lecture

Marxism Analysis Presentation Information.doc


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 202
Professor
Louis Pike

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Shangara Flora 23/04/2012
Marxism Analysis Presentation Information
Points from Hamlet:
1. Ophelia’s brother discourages her and her father forbids her from further romantic
interactions with Hamlet because of his high class (royalty) versus her lower (servant to
the royal family) class.
2. Although this is not entirely revealed in the play ‘Hamlet but more so in the movie
‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead’ (which gives us a different perspective of
Hamlet), it is revealed that the driving force behind Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s
compliance with the King’s orders is their fear of the repercussions that may result if
they do not obey what they’re told. And, another driving force is that the King is
offering to give them a sum of wealth for their compliance.
Evidence #1: Laertes speaks with Ophelia about Hamlet and says, ‘His greatness weighed, his will
is not his own, for he himself is subject to his birth.’ (I.iii.17-18), and in these lines, what he means
to say is that since Hamlet is royalty, there is no possible way that he will ever end up with Ophelia
(who is not of royalty), because those of royalty only married others of the same social status.
Moreover, her father forbids her of furthering her relationship with Hamlet and makes the claim
that, ‘When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul gives the tongue vows.’ (I.iii.116-117) which
means that, Hamlet’s love is only a spur of the moment, and he desires to be with Ophelia, thus, he
will say anything to get his way.
Connection to Marxism: We see here that, since Ophelia and Hamlet are of two different social
classes, the idea of them having a relationship is immediately frowned upon and forbidden under
the premise that Ophelia is not worthy of Hamlet (due to his royalty).
Evidence #2: When we are first introduced to the characters Rosencrantz & Guildenstern,
Rosencrantz says ‘Both your majesties might, by the sovereign power you have of us, put your
dread pleasures more into command than to entreaty.’ (II.ii.26-28), meaning that they were ordered
to Denmark, not invited or asked to come, they were given no option to decline. Then Guildenstern
immediately adds, ‘But we both obey and here give up ourselves, in the full bent, to lay our service
freely at your feet to be commanded.’ (II.ii.29-32) and this line shows us what Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern become for the rest of the play, obedient slaves to the king, or as Hamlet puts it in
Act 4, Scene 2, ‘To be demanded of a sponge!’ (IV.ii.13) when speaking with Rosencrantz. A
sponge that ‘soaks up the king’s countenance, his rewards, his authorities’ (IV.ii.16-17).
Connection to Marxism: When we see how blindly obedient that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
are towards the King’s orders, we wonder ‘why do they comply?’, and this question is somewhat
answered at the end of the movie ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead’, where Rosencrantz
says that if they do not complete their task, Claudius will command their execution. If this is the
reason as to why they are so obedient, then it fits into Marx’s theories perfectly, simply, the rich
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