Monday, February 12, 2024
Friday, February 9, 2024
Along the Road
On the ribbon of road I’ve traveled,
in my mind I left behind monuments.
Beacons of light and hope and example
for those rising up behind me.
But the road is aged, decaying,
and the monuments are just rubble.
Some rocks tossed from my pockets,
worthless scraps in barren fields.
One day the tears may come
to water the trail of dry and dusty seeds
and flowers will trace the remains of a path
being traversed by those who never knew me.
©2024 Noreen Braman
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
©2024 Noreen Braman
Saturday, February 3, 2024
I knew Hamlet was not done with me. This week, the “slings and arrows” have been targeting me. Allergic reaction to medicine, unresolved claim for storm damage to my house, and a massive mistake at work. My resilience now looks like a splat on the highway. And while I can’t manage to find the humorous middle of this bitter candy, maybe Hamlet and Chat GPT can give me some guidance.
Write a 300 word article on How does Hamlet manage the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?” Does he find humor?
Hamlet, the tragic hero of William Shakespeare's renowned play, grapples with the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" in a way that reflects the complexity of his character. This famous line from Hamlet's soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 1, encapsulates his philosophical contemplation on the hardships of life.
Throughout the play, Hamlet encounters numerous challenges, from the sudden death of his father to the betrayal of his mother and uncle. These adversities provoke Hamlet's introspection and internal conflict, leading him to question the nature of existence and the meaning of life. Despite the weight of his circumstances, Hamlet's coping mechanism is not rooted in humor but rather in a profound sense of melancholy and existential angst.
Hamlet's wit, however, serves as a defense mechanism and a way to navigate the treacherous waters of the Danish court. His clever wordplay and sarcastic comments offer a veneer of humor that conceals his true emotions. This humor is not lighthearted, but rather a form of bitter irony that reflects Hamlet's disillusionment with the world around him.
Hamlet's encounters with the gravediggers in Act 5, Scene 1, provide a notable example of his use of humor in the face of mortality. Despite the grim setting of a graveyard and the impending tragedy, Hamlet engages in witty banter with the gravediggers. This seemingly morbid humor highlights Hamlet's ability to find irony even in the most somber situations.
Ultimately, Hamlet's journey is marked by a profound sense of tragedy and a lack of resolution. While he may use humor as a tool for social commentary and as a shield against his inner turmoil, it does not provide a genuine escape from the harsh realities he faces. Hamlet's quest for truth and justice is a tumultuous one, and his complex character leaves audiences pondering the intricacies of human nature and the enduring impact of life's adversities.
Saturday, January 27, 2024
This is the final column on Hamlet and how he stuck his foot in the door of my deep life purpose contemplation. The final AI essay from ChatGPT, in my opinion, is the best, and the right place to conclude this series. Or until Hamlet tries to visit again.
ChatGPT: Write a 300 word article on how Hamlet demonstrates "to be, or not to be."
Shakespeare's iconic play, "Hamlet," opens with one of the most famous soliloquies in literature, where the eponymous protagonist grapples with the timeless question: "To be, or not to be." In this introspective and philosophical monologue, Hamlet contemplates the nature of existence, the pains of life, and the uncertainties of death.
The soliloquy serves as a window into Hamlet's tortured psyche. As the prince ponders the pros and cons of life and death, he delves into the core of human experience. The opening line, "To be, or not to be, that is the question," encapsulates the fundamental quandary that has intrigued thinkers for centuries – the fundamental choice between enduring the hardships of life or succumbing to the unknown of death.
Hamlet's exploration of the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" reflects the inevitability of suffering in the human condition. The metaphorical "sea of troubles" he mentions conjures an image of life's turbulent and unpredictable nature. The soliloquy resonates with existential themes, echoing the broader philosophical inquiries of Shakespeare's era into the purpose and meaning of life.
The contemplation of suicide in Hamlet's soliloquy goes beyond a mere consideration of physical death. It becomes a metaphor for the internal struggles and conflicts that torment the prince. His fear of the "undiscovered country" – the afterlife – reflects a profound uncertainty about what awaits beyond the threshold of mortality.
Despite the weighty subject matter, Hamlet's soliloquy is not a straightforward expression of nihilism. The struggle to endure the "whips and scorns of time" suggests a resilience, a hesitation to embrace non-existence. The fear of the unknown, the potential for something worse in death, gives pause to Hamlet's contemplation.
In "Hamlet," the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy encapsulates the universal struggle with the complexities of existence. Hamlet's introspection becomes a mirror reflecting the existential dilemmas that have intrigued and haunted humanity throughout the ages. The enduring power of these words lies in their ability to resonate with audiences, prompting reflection on the profound question that defines the human experience: to be, or not to be.
Chat GPT: Write a 300 word article on how Hamlet demonstrates, "Que Sera Sera, Whatever will be, will be."
While the sentiment of "Que Sera Sera, Whatever will be, will be" might seem incongruent with the intense and contemplative nature of Shakespeare's "Hamlet," there are moments in the play where this fatalistic philosophy subtly weaves its way into the narrative.
Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is burdened by a sense of foreboding and a deep contemplation of fate. The ghostly apparition of his father, urging him to avenge his murder, sets in motion a chain of events that thrust Hamlet into a complex web of moral ambiguity and political intrigue. Despite his desire for justice, Hamlet's actions are often paralyzed by doubt and the weight of his predicament.
In the famous "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, Hamlet grapples with the notion of existence and the uncertainties of life and death. While not an outright embrace of fatalism, this contemplation reflects a recognition of life's inherent unpredictability. Hamlet acknowledges the slings and arrows of fortune, painting a picture of a world where external forces shape destinies beyond individual control.
The recurring theme of revenge, central to the plot, introduces an element of predestination. Hamlet is thrust into a predetermined path, compelled to fulfill a filial duty. However, his internal struggles and the complexities of the human condition introduce an air of unpredictability, challenging the fatalistic undertones.
The phrase "Que Sera Sera" implies a surrender to destiny, an acceptance of whatever the future may hold. In Hamlet's case, this resignation becomes evident in moments of introspection and inaction. The unpredictable turns of the plot, including the tragic conclusion, reflect the play's acknowledgment of the capricious nature of fate.
While Hamlet is not a character who explicitly embraces a "Que Sera Sera" philosophy, the play, in its exploration of existential angst, revenge, and the machinations of power, subtly touches upon the idea that, in the grand tapestry of life, certain events may be beyond mortal control. The interplay between free will and fate in "Hamlet" invites audiences to contemplate the inevitability of certain outcomes, echoing the sentiment that whatever will be, will be.
from me: I find a little bit of comfort in the "fatalistic
philosophy" as cheerfully proposed by the song "Que Sera, Sera." Not sure
if that kicks me out of the OverThinkers Club. Thanks for playing along
as I was finding out more about Artificial Intelligence.
Friday, January 26, 2024
As an active member of the Overthinkers Club (using this as a as a bon mot - if there is a real Overthinkers Club - contact me!) I find Hamlet and his issues still stomping around in my head. I began wondering how to get an succinct explanation of his troubles - especially how they relate to two famous quotes on human existence.
Maybe someone could do the research for me. "Someone"such as ChatGPT. So here is what I got in response asking how Hamlet is demonstrative of the expression, "I act, therefore, I am," and, "I think, therefore, I am."
2 essays by chat GPT
Hamlet: The Existential Drama of "I Act, Therefore I Am"
Gilbert Ryle's concept of "I act, therefore, I am" takes center stage in Shakespeare's timeless tragedy, "Hamlet." As the brooding Prince of Denmark grapples with moral dilemmas, existential angst, and the burdens of the crown, his actions become a poignant reflection of his identity and existence.
Hamlet's internal conflicts manifest in his actions, or lack thereof, throughout the play. The famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy, often examined for its existential ponderings, also encapsulates Hamlet's internal struggle with indecision and inaction. Ryle's assertion that actions define one's being finds resonance in Hamlet's hesitations and calculated moves, highlighting the intricacies of his character.
The prince's contemplative nature often leads to prolonged moments of inaction, such as his delay in avenging his father's murder. Hamlet's reluctance to act impulsively underscores Ryle's philosophy that actions are not mere consequences but integral components of one's selfhood. Each pause, every calculated decision, speaks volumes about Hamlet's internal turmoil and the depth of his introspection.
The play's unfolding drama at Elsinore Castle serves as a canvas where Hamlet's actions, or the lack thereof, become brushstrokes depicting the complexities of human existence. His feigned madness, strategic encounters, and internal debates all contribute to the mosaic of a character whose essence is intricately interwoven with his deeds.
In the climactic duel in the final act, Hamlet's decisive actions bring the tragedy to its inevitable conclusion. The duel becomes the crucible in which Hamlet's authenticity is tested, his actions determining the course of his fate. Ryle's assertion that action is the bedrock of identity finds its ultimate expression as Hamlet, in a final burst of agency, takes control of his destiny.
In "Hamlet," Gilbert Ryle's philosophy is embodied in the prince's actions, which become the very fabric of his being. The play invites audiences to contemplate the profound connection between action and identity, leaving them with the enduring truth that, in the realm of Hamlet, "I act, therefore, I am."
and, the other side of the Chat GPT coin:
Shakespeare's masterpiece, "Hamlet," serves as a profound exploration of existential philosophy, echoing the famous dictum, "Cogito, ergo sum" or "I think, therefore, I am," articulated by René Descartes. The play unfolds as a tapestry of introspection, with Hamlet, the brooding Prince of Denmark, becoming the embodiment of philosophical inquiry.
From the outset, Hamlet is thrust into a world of uncertainty and betrayal with the sudden death of his father, King Hamlet. It is in the wake of this tragedy that the prince's introspective journey begins. The ghostly apparition of his father sets the stage for Hamlet's philosophical turmoil, compelling him to question the very nature of reality and existence.
As Hamlet grapples with the weight of his father's murder and the subsequent marriage of his mother to his uncle, his soliloquies become windows into a mind wrestling with profound existential questions. The famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy encapsulates Hamlet's contemplation on the meaning of life and the inevitability of death. In this moment, the prince's thoughts become a manifestation of his existence, a testament to the Cartesian notion that thinking is the undeniable proof of being.
Throughout the play, Hamlet's intellect becomes both his weapon and his burden. His constant questioning of the motives of those around him and the authenticity of his experiences paints a picture of a mind caught in the intricate web of doubt and introspection. The complexities of courtly life at Elsinore Castle serve as a backdrop to Hamlet's philosophical journey, mirroring the chaos and moral ambiguity of the human condition.
In the end, as the tragedy unfolds and Hamlet meets his demise, his intellectual odyssey stands as a testament to the enduring power of thought. The prince's existential crisis, his doubts, and his philosophical musings become the threads that weave together a narrative that echoes Descartes' timeless declaration. In "Hamlet," the tumultuous realm of Denmark becomes a stage for the exploration of the self, where thinking becomes the indisputable proof of existence.
Thoughts on the next Hamlet essay questions: How does Hamlet relate to:
"To be, or not to be."
Que Sera, Sera (whatever will be, will be.)
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
On occasion (ok, fairly often) I stumble across something I’ve never heard of before, only to find out that lots of people have been discussing it for years. I did know that many, many people have written libraries full of the analysis of Hamlet. My recent small discoveries about him pale in the Shakespearean study world, but still mean quite a bit to me. I wrote about Hamlet as part of my contemplations about whether I should focus on what is still “to be” for me, or on what “I am” today. One would think that is enough to occupy life contemplations, at least for a bit. But my brain had other plans.
Why and how, I can’t say, but when the quote from Rene Descartes, “I think, therefore, I am” came across my path, I was pulled out of one rabbit hole and dumped in another. My very first attempt at researching this quote, and what others had to say about it, revealed something surprising. Hamlet stuck his foot in the door.
First, it was a dissertation summary at Texas A&M titled “I act therefore I am: identity and performance in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.” I quickly found out it wasn’t a quote from Hamlet, but was describing Hamlet’s character. The summary ends with “The biblical God asserts, ‘I am that I am,’ philosopher Ren ̌Descartes, ‘I think therefore I am,’ and the character of Hamlet ‘I act therefore I am,’ suggesting that the developing inner self, must find outward expression to be actualized.” (Note: I REALLY wanted to insert commas in the quotes but resisted.)
It took me a while to sort through all the wrong opinions about the expression “I act, therefore, I am,” and finally found it expressed by Philosopher Gilbert Ryle as a disagreement with Descartes. Ryle states that it is behavior that creates “self,” not thought. Right now, I am not so sure who is right as I try to dig my way out of this rabbit hole- both thinking and acting. I dig, therefore, I think.
(I wanted to end this saying that Hamlet is the real Ghost in the Machine, but I thought better about that action.)