Mistaken Identity


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mistaken identity Hamlet - a study of procrastin

William Shakespeare, perhaps the greatest playwright of all time, authored a number of works consisting of sonnets, comedies, and tragedies.  In his brilliant career, Shakespeare created literary works of art. What makes Shakespeare unlike any other writer of his time, or thereafter, is his ability to organize a realistic plot, manage themes, and develop characters within his works. As well, Shakespeare's ability to provoke feeling and reaction to his writing is also what sets him apart from other common writers.  Of his works, Hamlet is perhaps the most studied and most intriguing of the collected tragedies.  In this play, many audiences and critics question the actions of the characters and particularly the actions of Hamlet.  The answer to "Why does Hamlet delay in avenging the death of his father?" is one that is not easy to identify.  Possible conclusions include the role of others in Hamlet, Hamlet's religious nature, or even Hamlet's tragic flaw as a hero in Hamlet.
 In addition to the tragedy of human spirit, destiny, or the hero, Hamlet was written as a tragedy of conflict.  In a close examination of the conflict of tragedy theme, there are two distinguishable types.  The first involves the external conflicts; these often include elements such as antagonists, character foils, and other minor characters.   The second involves the internal conflicts including self, morality, and justice.  This internal type of conflict is the basis for Hamlet and the character's consequently tragic commission of a procrastinatic tragic hero.  Together, both internal and external conflicts, if, when managed adequately, may be used as a measure for success in relation to overall effectiveness, as demonstrated in Hamlet.  "Why, here are some eight violent deaths, not to speak of adultery, a ghost, a mad woman, and a fight in a grave!" (Bradley p.93)  In a few short words, the preceding quote is somewhat true; however, it only describes the plot.  The focus of Hamlet as it relates to the human condition is dependent on character.
It is often argued that Hamlet was written as a tragedy of the human spirit.  Others argue that it is a tragedy of destiny, or the hero.  At any rate, during the time of the Elizabethan era, it was entertainment.  However, William Shakespeare exceeded the obvious entertainment endeavour, and achieved almost every writer's natural quest: reflection from the audience.  This reflection is perhaps a measure for all writers, provided that it is an audience whom the work is for. In almost every hero's quest for the truth, none is more apparent than that of young Hamlet.  This search for truth is borne of the passing of young Hamlet's father.  It is at the critical moment of revelation by the Ghost of Hamlet that young Hamlet is destined for revenge.  Although the concept of revenge may be considered an evil justice, it is evident that the importance here lay within the context of carrying out the fate. "But why in the world did not Hamlet obey the Ghost at once, and so save seven of those eight lives?" (Bradley p.93)  In a more appropriate sense, the question becomes:  "When will Hamlet kill Claudius to avenge the death of his father?"  The how and when of this vengeance becomes increasingly critical in the development of Hamlet the character as opposed to Hamlet the play. To fully comprehend the true essence of Hamlet as a son, a discoverer, and a destroyer, one must analyze each individual characteristic as revealed to the audience by Shakespeare.  Incredibly, it is because of Shakespeare's, perhaps unknowing consideration for the audience that reveals much about the characters in Hamlet, or any other play written by him for that matter.  It was not enough that Shakespeare just wrote the play, he also emphasized the character's thoughts and emotions through the soliloquies.  In fact, the whole idea of drama is to feel, to an extent, what the character feels.  This premise should not be mistaken, in that the actors of the play ultimately have the greatest influence on the dramatic emphasis of certain words, or actions.  However, in Hamlet, the use of the soliloquy offers the audience a gateway into the minds of the characters, and in ... more

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Is the idea of doctrinal devel

Is the idea of doctrinal development compatible with belief in the abiding truth of Christianity?
The problem that the development of doctrine presents to the church is simple. On the one hand, Christianity is presented as containing the lasting and eternal truth of salvation and eternal life, and on the other hand, when the history of the church is studied, the details within which this truth is presented, have quite clearly changed. This problem is particularly exacerbated for those involved in ecumenical dialogue, and for theologians within the Roman Catholic church. For ecumenical dialogue, one must either try and hammer out those doctrines which are true and which arent, an approach that wont get very far, or learn to live together despite having different doctrines, that is, to say that what the other side says is wrong, but that can be accepted. A third approach, tried by some within the movement, is to try and find some reason why both sides of the debate can be right in some sense. For Roman Catholics the problems is exacerbated by their strong sense of authority of the church down the ages, and in particular the veracity of the official doctrines issued by the Popes and the Councils. If a Pope has held that Matthews gospel was written first, then it is very difficult for Catholic theologians to argue that that isnt true, and that Marks gospel, for instance, was in fact the first written. Within this essay I shall be looking at different approaches to the issue before going on to try and find the most convincing solution, should that be possible.
The history of doctrine in the early nineteenth century was seen by catholic theologians as being one of pure, unsullied teaching that had been handed down by the church from the time of the Fathers to the present day. There may have been changes of language, but the concepts behind them remained immutable. The reformation scholars looked upon doctrine as having started off good and pure, but then being corrupted by the church. They sought a return to the principles and doctrines of the early church, and saw their own work as being reflective of the teaching of the apostles and early fathers.
Newman was the first British scholar to look at the development of doctrine, in the middle of the nineteenth century, and say that doctrine had changed since the early church. For him, it was important to see doctrine in its historical context, and to understand why it was developed and by whom. He ceased to see the Protestant church as being the modern day equivalent of the early church, or to see it as historical Christianity. The problem that Newman faced was that the current doctrine of the time as propounded by Bossuet was that the church had had various doctrines down through the ages, and at each crisis, the church had merely restated, perhaps in different language, these same doctrines. This meant that when, for instance, a heretic had risen in the church, the church responded by reiterating its doctrines, doctrines that had been existent in the church at all times. For Newman, this seemed to be impossible. Instead of the church declaring her known mind on a problem brought to the surface by a heretic, this was impossible, as often the church didnt know her own mind. In Newmans theory the heretic is a thinker who makes an effort, but a mistaken or one-sided effort, at a statement of true doctrine, and who thus initiates or continues a doctrinal debate valuable for the church. (Chadwick, p.159) As he saw there was enough indecision in the history of the church when faced with a heretic, this proved for him that the authorities of the Church were frequently ignorant of the true answer to the problem raised by a heretic, and that this true answer had to be thrashed out, debated and discovered, before the Church could pronounce her mind on the question. This led Newman on to conclude that the theology of the church is a diligent, patient, working out of one doctrine out of many materials. The conduct of Popes, Councils, ... more

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  • S: Is the idea of doctrinal devel S: Is the idea of doctrinal devel Is the idea of doctrinal devel Is the idea of doctrinal development compatible with belief in the abiding truth of Christianity? The problem that the development of doctrine presents to the church is simple. On the one hand, Christianity is presented as containing the lasting and eternal truth of salvation and eternal life, and on the other hand, when the history of the church is studied, the details within which this truth is presented, have quite clearly changed. This problem is particularly e...
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