2011 LCHL Question on Theme or Issue

‘A reader’s view of a theme or issue can be either changed or reinforced through interaction with texts.’

Compare the extent to which your understanding of a theme or issue was changed or reinforced through your interaction with at least two texts on your comparative course. [70]

 

Marking Scheme

Areas from which comparisons might be drawn:

  • Theme/issue defined differently/similarly broadens understanding
  • The role of events/narrative voice in challenging preconceived/stereotypical ideas
  • Impact of authors’ varied approaches – serious, humorous, tragic etc.
  • Characterisation, language and imagery convey complexity of a theme
  • Visual and aural effects enhance/change/reinforce our understanding
  • Key moments offer revealing insights into a theme or issue

 

Paragraph 1

State the titles, authors and genres of the three texts. Remember the basics of capital letters and inverted commas.

 

Paragraph 2

Engage with the question. What do you understand by the question asked? Do you agree/disagree with the question? Has your view of friendship been changed or reinforced? I suggest that you state that your views on friendship have been reinforced through your interaction with these three texts. So what are your views on friendship?

  • True friendship is based on trust
  • True friendship creates mutual happiness
  • True friendship has its foundation in shared experiences
  • True friendship can withstand testing times

 

Paragraph 3

True friendship is based on trust

Text 1, Key Moment, Link, Text 2, Key Moment, Link, Text 3, Key Moment, General Observation and Personal Response (referring back to the question).

 

Paragraph 4

True friendship creates mutual happiness

Text 1, Key Moment, Link, Text 2, Key Moment, Link, Text 3, Key Moment, General Observation and Personal Response (referring back to the question).

 

Paragraph 5

True friendship has its foundation in shared experiences

Text 1, Key Moment, Link, Text 2, Key Moment, Link, Text 3, Key Moment, General Observation and Personal Response (referring back to the question).

 

Paragraph 6

True friendship can withstand testing times

Text 1, Key Moment, Link, Text 2, Key Moment, Link, Text 3, Key Moment, General Observation and Personal Response (referring back to the question).

 

Paragraph 7

Conclusions

 

NB

Your links are vital. To simply throw in ‘similarly’ or ‘in contrast to’ is not enough.

Friendship as demonstrated by R&G in Act 3

Hamlet is fully aware of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s reasons for being in Elsinore and so he treats them with contempt and derision. He knows they are mere pawns of the king and so in his dealings with them he uses his ‘antic disposition’ at will. When, after staging The Murder of Gonzago, Hamlet manages to prove the Ghost’s story true,  he is quick to attack them for trying to ‘play upon me’ and ‘pluck out the heart of my mystery’. The images Hamlet uses to expose the reality of these two men is very fitting. He calls them sponges ‘that soaks up the king’s countenance, his rewards, and his authorities’.

Claudius continues to use Rosencrantz and Guildenstern further in Act 3 Scene 3 when he decides to send them to England with his nephew. Cladius’s concerns over Hamlet’s increased madness is growing and so he wants to put ‘fetters’ on it. Hamlet’s so-called friends are only too eager to comply:

‘We will haste us.’

Hamlet and Horatio’s friendship in Act 3

Act 3 Scene 2 is the scene where The Murder of Gonzago is performed for the court and it highlights Hamlet and Horatio’s friendship further. Horatio is portrayed as a man worthy of Hamlet’s trust and respect. He is a very good listener and a man who observes things silently. It is clear that  Hamlet finds it easy to confide in him and that he respects his friend’s opinion. Horatio is used in this play as a man whom Hamlet finds distinctly different in many ways from himself. In the following speech, Hamlet is carried away by his praise for Horatio:

‘Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal’d thee for herself; for thou has been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards
Hast ta’en with equal thanks; and bless’d are those
Whose blood and judgement are so well comingled
That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him
In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.’

Perhaps there is a suggestion in this speech that Hamlet is lamenting a lack of virtue in himself. It would appear that, in this Danish court of false seeming and role playing, Horatio is the only authentic figure who is true to himself: a man of utmost integrity and virtue.

It is at this point in Act 3 Scene 2 that Hamlet asks a favour of his friend. He wants Horatio to help him observe Claudius’s reactions to The Murder of Gonzago. Hamlet trusts Horatio more than he trusts himself:

‘There is a play to-night before the King;
One scene of it comes near the circumstance
Which I have told thee of my father’s death:
I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot,
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan’s stithy. Give him heedful note:
For mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And after we will both our judgements join
In censure of his seeming.’

When Hamlet has successfully caught ‘the conscience of the king’, we see how Horatio is used to mirror Hamlet’s excited and ecstatic responses:

Hamlet:   ‘O good Horatio! I’ll take the ghost’s word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?’

Horatio:  ‘Very well, my lord.’

Hamlet:   ‘Upon the talk of the poisoning?’

Horatio:  ‘I did very well note him.’