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Hamlet by William Shakespeare


The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, usually shortened to just Hamlet, was written by
William Shakespeare sometime between 1599-1602. It is arguably one of his most famous
tragedies. The lines from Hamlet's monologue in act three that begin "To be, or not to be..." have
been studied and are widely known even amongst those that are otherwise unfamiliar with
Shakespeare's work. Even in Shakespeare's own lifetime, Hamlet would have been performed
multiple times and considered remarkably influential. Its appeal has not lessened over time.

The play is set in Denmark and follows the prince Hamlet, who seeks revenge upon his uncle
Claudius. Claudius murdered his brother, Hamlet's father, in order to seize the throne and also
married his wife and Hamlet's mother Gertrude. After Hamlet's sentries and his friend Horatio
encounter the ghost of King Hamlet, they vow to tell his son what they have witnessed.

Hamlet is fraught with grief and anxiety. Making matters more complicated is the young Ophelia
who seeks Hamlet's attention. Hamlet is determined to see his father's ghost for himself and
seeks him out only to get the confirmation that he has been called upon to avenge King Hamlet's
death. Though still uncertain about the validity of his father's ghostly apparition, Hamlet vows to
avenge his father's death.

Sensing Hamlet's unease and hearing complaints of Hamlet's erratic behavior towards Ophelia,
King Claudius and his new wife Gertrude solicit help from two of his friends, Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern to get to the bottom of his strange behavior. Hamlet senses his friends have been
sent as spies and is resentful. He accuses Ophelia of immodesty and assembles the court to watch
a play that he has commissioned. It tells the story of Claudius poisoning King Hamlet. Claudius
arises during the scene of the poisoning which to Hamlet proves his guilt.

Following the play, Hamlet's mother Gertrude demands an explanation. Claudius meanwhile,
debates repenting his guilt whilst praying. During his prayer Hamlet has the opportunity to kill
him but cannot, believing the killing Claudius during his prayer would send him to heaven
instead of hell. Gertrude and Hamlet have a bitter altercation, during which Polonius is hiding in
the corner and startled to hear Hamlet's accusations. When he makes a noise, Hamlet thinks it is
Claudius and stabs Polonius to death.

Following his error, Hamlet berates his mother for believing Claudius, only to be reprimanded by
the ghost of his father for his cruelty. Gertrude cannot see her departed husband's ghost and
believes her son to be insane. Claudius demands that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern accompany
his nephew to England for his immediate execution. A grief stricken Ophelia descends into
madness as her brother Laertes arrives back in Denmark enraged at his sister's condition and his
father's death.

Hearing that Hamlet has arrived back in Denmark against his wishes, Claudius attempts to use
Laertes as a means to his demise by arranging a fencing match where Laertes will use a poison
tipped foil. Should Hamlet win, Claudius is prepared with celebratory poisoned wine. This match
occurs prematurely and without the poison though, at Ophelia's funeral when Hamlet proclaims
his love and fights Laertes by her graveside. The duel is broken up for sake of the later battle.

During their next match Hamlet is winning, causing his mother to toast him and accidentally
drink from the poisoned wine glass. As she collapses and dies, Laertes reveals Claudius' plan to
Hamlet, and Hamlet rushes to Claudius and kills him. Hamlet has been slashed by Laertes
poisoned sword and is slowly dying. Hamlet pleads with his friend Horatio to "tell his story," and
dies, just after proclaiming "the rest is silence."
Haiku

Mellow May
Mellow, mild, May day,
calling children out to play.
Summer's on her way!

Butterflies in trees,
brilliant sunsets, starry eves.
Time for ice cream, please!

Autumn
A misty morning -
Pumpkins in the air, while boots
Crunch on autumn leaves.

Life And Death


for all life on earth
death is inevitable
so make life last long
Epic
The Trojan War
The Trojan War is probably one of the most important events that have been narrated in Greek mythology.
It was a war that broke out between the Achaeans (the Greeks) and the city of Troy. The best known
narration of this event is the epic poem Iliad, written by Homer.
Zeus believed that the number of humans populating the Earth was too high and decided it was time to
decrease it. Moreover, as he had various affairs with mortal women and fathered demigod children, he
thought it would be good to get rid of them. He formed a plan after he learned of two prophecies; one of
them said that he would be dethroned by one of his sons, just like he had done with his own
father, Cronus; the other prophecy mentioned that the sea nymph Thetis, for whom Zeus had fallen, would
give birth to a son that would surpass his father in glory. So, Zeus decided to marry Thetis to King Peleus.
The god of gods organised a grand feast in celebration of Peleus' and Thetis' marriage, in which all of the
gods and important figures were invited, except the goddess of strife, Eris. The goddess was stopped at
the door by Hermes, infuriating her. Before she left, she threw her gift amidst the guests; the Apple of
Discord, a golden apple on which the words "to the fairest" had been inscribed. Hera, Athena,
and Aphrodite started quarreling over who should be the one to take the apple, and demanded
that Zeus decide on this matter. Zeus knew that if he made a choice, he would cause the anger of the other
two that wouldn't be picked, and decided to abstain; instead, he appointed Paris, the young prince of Troy,
as the judge. Paris could not make a decision, even after seeing the three goddesses naked, so they started
bribing him; Hera said that he would get political power and be the ruler of the continent of
Asia; Athena would give him wisdom and great skills in battle; and Aphrodite offered him the most
beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite, and returned to Troy.
Peleus and Thetis had a son, Achilles, for whom two prophecies had been made; one was that he would
either lead an uneventful but long life, or a glorious one but he would die young at a battlefield; the other
prophecy was that without his help, the city of Troy would never fall. Afraid for her son's
life, Thetis decided to grant immortality to him. When he was still an infant, she took him to the
River Styx, one of the rivers that ran through the Underworld, and dipped him in the waters, thus making
him invulnerable. However, Thetis did not realise that the heel of the boy, from which she was holding
him, did not touch the waters and remained mortal; this would later be the doom of Achilles, and is the
origin of the modern day phrase "Achilles' heel", signifying a vulnerable point. After the ritual, she
dressed him as a girl and hid him at the court of King Lycomedes of Skyros.
Meanwhile, the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen, was the daughter of King Tyndareus of Sparta,
and many noble suitors had arrived to claim her hand in marriage. Tyndareus did not want to make a
choice for fear of causing political tensions, and stalled the decision. One of the suitors, Odysseus, offered
to help solve the situation, asking in return for the hand of Penelope; Tyndareus agreed,
and Odysseus asked that all suitors swear an oath that they would protect the couple no matter who the
groom would be. After the oath was taken, Tyndareus picked Menelaus as his daughter's husband,
effectively making him the successor of the Spartan throne through Helen.
However, Menelaus caused Aphrodite's wrath, after failing to sacrifice one hundred oxen for her as he
had promised; this is why Aphrodite decided to help Paris win Helen's heart. The goddess made a plan
and disguised Paris as a diplomatic emissary. He then went to Sparta, where Helen welcomed him, while
her husband was away in Crete to bury his uncle. At that point, the god of love, Eros, shot an arrow to her,
thus causing her to fall in love with the Trojan prince. The two lovers eloped and left for Troy.
Menelaus returned home and realised what had happened. Along with Odysseus, they went to Troy to
get Helen back, but all diplomatic attempts failed. So, Menelaus invoked the Oath of Tyndareus, and,
helped by his brother Agamemnon, called all Achaean leaders who had previously been the suitors
of Helen to fulfill their oath. They also needed the help of Achilles, as they knew of the prophecy
that Troy would only fall with his help. Odysseus, Telamonian Ajax and Phoenixwent to Skyros where
they knew Achilles was hidden disguised as a woman. There, they either blew a warhorn, on the sound of
which Achilles was the only woman that took a spear in hand; or they appeared as merchants selling
jewels and weapons, and Achilles was the only woman interested in the latter.
Having Achilles with them, all leaders gathered at the port of Aulis. A sacrifice was made to Apollo, and
the god sent an omen; the Achaeans saw a snake appear from the altar that slithered to a bird's nest, where
it ate the mother and her nine babies before it was turned to stone. The seer Calchas said that this
meant Troy would fall in the tenth year of the war. The Achaeans set sail for Troy, although no one knew
the way. By mistake, they arrived in Mysia, ruled by King Telephus; after a battle, during
which Achilles wounded the king, the Achaean ships sailed but a storm scattered them. Telephus' wound
would not heal, and an oracle told him it would be healed by the person who inflicted it.
When Telephusconfronted Achilles, he said he did not have any medical knowledge; Odysseus then
proposed that the spear that caused the wound might help, so pieces of metal were used and the wound
was healed. Telephus then told them how they would reach Troy.
Due to the storm that scattered the fleet, the Achaean leaders eventually gathered in Aulis again eight
years later. However, they were unable to set sail because there was no wind. Calchas realised that this
was a punishment from the goddess Artemis, who was furious at Agamemnon for killing a sacred
deer. Artemis demanded that Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia be sacrificed.
Although Agamemnon initially refused, he reluctantly agreed in the end, and tricked his
wife Clytemnestra and Iphigenia to go to Aulis, saying that Iphigenia was to marry Achilles. When they
arrived to Aulis and understood what was going on, Clytemnestra cursed Agamemnon and was the reason
she murdered him after the war was over. Iphigenia gracefully accepted her fate and placed herself on the
altar; however, just as Calchas was about to sacrifice her, Artemis substituted the woman for a deer and
took her to Tauris where she became the goddess' high priestess. Nevertheless, no one saw what happened
on the altar except Calchas, who was bound not to say anything.
The winds picked up again after the sacrifice and the Achaean fleet was finally able to set sail. They made
a stop at the island of Tenedos, where Achilles killed the king, who was the son of the
god Apollo. Thetis had warned her son not to kill the king, lest he be killed by the god himself. This was
also a foretelling of the hero's fate. While on the island, the Greeks sent a diplomatic mission
to Troy asking for Helen, but it was refused into the city. So the fleet sailed on its final leg of the journey.
When the fleet arrived, they were all reluctant to disembark, as a prophecy said that the first Greek to step
on Trojan soil would be the first to die in the war. Finally, Odysseus decided to disembark first; however,
he threw his shield on the ground and stepped on it, while Protesilaus who followed him landed on the
ground. Thus it was Protesilaus who died first, during a single combat against the Trojan prince Hector.
The siege of Troy lasted nine years, but not being complete, Troy was still able to maintain trade links
with other Asian cities, as well as get reinforcements. At the end of the ninth year, the Achaean army
mutinied and demanded that they return home, but Achilles eventually convinced them to stay longer.
On the tenth year, the priest of Apollo, Chryses, went to Agamemnon and asked for his daughter Chryseis'
return, who had been taken as a concubine. Agamemnon refused, and Chryses prayed to Apollo, who
inflicted the Greek army with plague. Agamemnon returned Chryseis to her father, but instead
took Achilles' concubine for his own. Achilles, infuriated, said he would no longer fight and stayed in his
tent. Although the Achaeans initially won a few battles, Achilles' refusal to fight led to a series of defeats,
to the point that the Trojans almost set fire to the Greek ships. Then, Patroclus, a close friend of Achilles,
took command of the Myrmidon army, but was slain in battle by Hector. Achilles, maddened with grief,
swore vengeance; Agamemnon returned the concubine back to him and the two leaders reconciled. The
Greek army was again victorious, and Achilles eventually managed to kill Hector; he refused to
give Hector's body to the Trojans for burial, and instead, he desecrated it by dragging it with his chariot in
front of the city walls. He eventually agreed to return it, after King Priam of Troy pleaded for his son's
proper burial.
Achilles later died by a poisonous arrow that Paris shot against him. The arrow was guided by the
god Apollo and hit Achilles on his heel, which was the only vulnerable spot of the hero's
body. Achilles was burned on a funeral pyre and his bones were mixed with those of his close
friend Patroclus. Paris was killed later by Philoctetes, using Heracles' bow.
Odysseus devised a plan to end the war for good. He asked that a wooden horse be built that was hollow
inside. Soldiers hid in the interior of the horse, which was brought in front of the city gates, saying that it
was a gift from the Greeks, showing the withdrawal of the Greek army and the end of the war. The
Trojans happily accepted and brought the horse inside the city. They then started feasting and celebrating
the victory. During the night, the Greek soldiers went out of the horse and started slaying the drunk
Trojans. In the battle that followed, a huge number of soldiers died but eventually, Troy fell. The Greeks
burned it and raided it, at the same time committing offences against many gods, by destroying temples
and sacred grounds. Although victorious, most heroes and Greek soldiers either never returned home or
returned after many adventures, as the gods were infuriated.
The Trojan War marked the end of the Heroic Age of Man, according to Hesiodus, and the transition of
the world to the Iron Age. Zeus' attempt to depopulate the earth and kill a number of demigods
and heroes proved successful.
Limerick

Limericks
By Edward Lear
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared! There was an Old Person of Ewell,
Two Owls and a Hen, Who chiefly subsisted on gruel;
Four Larks and a Wren, But to make it more nice
Have all built their nests in my beard!' He inserted some mice,
Which refreshed that Old Person of Ewell.
There was an Old Person of Ischia,
Whose conduct grew friskier and friskier; There was an old man in a tree,
He dance hornpipes and jigs, Whose whiskers were lovely to see;
And ate thousands of figs, But the birds of the air,
That lively Old Person of Ischia. Pluck'd them perfectly bare,
To make themselves nests on that tree.
There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, 'I'm afloat, I'm afloat!' There is a Young Lady whose nose
When they said, 'No! you ain't!' Continually prospers and grows;
He was ready to faint, When it grew out of sight,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat. she exclaimed in a fright,
"Oh! Farewell to the end of my nose!"
There was a Young Lady of Hull,
Who was chased by a virulent bull; There was an Old Person of Dean,
But she seized on a spade, Who dined on one pea and one bean;
And called out, 'Who's afraid?' For he said,
Which distracted that virulent bull. "More than that would make me too fat,"
That cautious Old Person of Dean.
There was an Old Person of Ems,
Who casually fell in the Thames; There was an Old Person of Dover,
And when he was found Who rushed through a field of blue Clover;
They said he was drowned, But some very large bees,
That unlucky Old Person of Ems. Stung his nose and his knees,
So he very soon went back to Dover.
There was an Old Man who said, 'Hush!
I perceive a young bird in this bush!' There was an Old Man of Peru,
When they said, 'Is it small?' Who watched his wife making a stew;
He replied, 'Not at all! But once by mistake,
It is four times as big as the bush!' In a stove she did bake,
That unfortunate Man of Peru.
There was a Young Lady of Russia,
Who screamed so that no one could hush There was a Young Lady whose bonnet,
her; Came untied when the birds sate upon it;
Her screams were extreme, But she said: 'I don't care!
No one heard such a scream, All the birds in the air
As was screamed by that lady of Russia. Are welcome to sit on my bonnet!'
Free Verse
Come slowly – Eden! (205)
BY EMILY DICKINSON

Come slowly – Eden!


Lips unused to Thee –
Bashful – sip thy Jessamines –
As the fainting Bee –

Reaching late his flower,


Round her chamber hums –
Counts his nectars –
Enters – and is lost in Balms.
Sonnet
There's No Obscurity
As I gaze into his liquid gold eyes,
Poetry radiates from his warm soul
His lips brush mine and I soar through the skies
Passion seizes me; I loose my control

An amalgam of thoughts pierce through my mind


There is love, trust, yet I feel petrified
I know destiny; our fate's intertwined
But what if he's a dream, one I'm denied?

A thousand years I could spend with those suns


Amid his presence I've conquered all realms
I've witnessed beauty that forever stuns
And have basked beneath his forest of elms

Then and there, I grasp truth with clarity


He's in my arms; there's no obscurity