Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Poetry and Prose

What makes a story triumph against the test of time? Is it a fantastic plot, or beautiful writing? Is it both, or something more? Well, I am not sure what the correct formula is to overcome the ultimate critic of time, but I do know that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a work that has conquered the years. While reading this play I could feel the changed times, for Shakespeare’s language is antiquated, his setting is from an older time period, yet this work remains beautiful.

I think that it is amazing to read Shakespeare and still be able to admire his writing capabilities. In general I prefer poetry over prose, so mostly, I prefer to read Shakespeare’s sonnets over his plays. However, large portions of Hamlet do have metric structure, setting it apart from the normal prose, and in in my opinion these are the portions of the play that stand as the most beautiful.

Take for instance, Prince Hamlet’s “To be or not To be” soliloquy, one of the most famous of all time. In this speech the reader sees Shakespeare’s writing abilities in a way that can be hidden by prose. From this personal discourse I see beautiful illustrations and deep questions contemplated, both which make wonderful poetry. “When we have shuffled off this mortal coil” these words illustrate death in such a lovely way it makes one think that death may not be such a harsh happening, and this is of what Prince Hamlet is trying to convince himself. Like I stated earlier, I don’t know what makes a piece of literature great for eternity, but I do know what makes it great for me, and Hamlet is great because it has a powerful plot, yet maintains its poetic allure.

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