Academic journal article IUP Journal of English Studies

Tempestuous Turbulence in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth

Academic journal article IUP Journal of English Studies

Tempestuous Turbulence in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth

Article excerpt

T S Eliot in 1930 said that to read Shakespeare is to know a pattern, which after all is the main thing. Shakespearean tragedies have always been influencing people to know the truth about life. Journeying through them is to realize that life is in the making. In this paper, a comparison has been made of the events that follow in the tragedies with those of the storms. Occurrence of death and devastation in the tragedies is examined and the storms highlight the central reality of pain in life. Storms and tragedies might look natural a phenomenon. But Shakespeare shows in tragedies the darker side of human existence, that of an enfeebled spirit dousing the beautiful life. Shakespearean hero is impacted by the overwhelming conditions as the storms run the creation dry of life. Regrettably, the hero turns out to be just a natural piece, and struck by reality of pain and consumed by his nerves, loses courage and fails everyone. He supremely lacks the undaunted spirit that permeates a spiritually cultivated being, pursuing the art of living.

Shakespearean tragedies have a profound effect on the hearts of the readers. It is a soul-stirring experience for all those who read them. As a great dramatist, Shakespeare touches our hearts and induces tempestuous turbulence. This makes our hearts clean of lowly passions, as stormy tides cleanse the sea, leaving smirch out on the shores.

It is therefore worthwhile to trace out such tempestuous moves in three of his great tragedies, viz., Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth. Such an exercise is an attempt towards a unique and gratifying way to appreciate these tragedies.

Interestingly, Shakespeare has created tragedies which are befitting examples to the definition of tragedy given by Aristotle. He said:

Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete and of a certain magnitude; in a language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action not of narrative, through pity and fear effecting the proper Katharsis, or purgation of these emotions (Butcher, 2002, p. 240).

Aristotle observed that every human heart has emotions of pity and fear in different degrees. These emotions when excited, through the medium of art, give aesthetic joy. In Shakespearean tragedies, we pity others, where under similar circumstances, we should fear for ourselves. Added to this, we experience a purifying tide of human sympathy, giving an ennobling emotional satisfaction. This leaves the reader serene.

It was remarked earlier that Shakespearean tragedies have a tempestuous effect on the hearts of its readers. This statement could now be examined in the light of Aristotle 's definition.

To begin with, it will be worthwhile to have a keen understanding of storms as a natural phenomenon. This could make the comparison of how Shakespearean tragedies develop as a tempest in various acts easier to understand. At the same time, it could be discovered that in life as in nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are only consequences.

The genesis of storms is in bad weather conditions or a tensed atmosphere. From the relief of this area, two anti-fronts develop. One is warm, another is cold. These are directed to different poles and are frictional. This frictional wrestling makes them active and powerful.

All of a sudden, the clashing, spinning movements between the warm and cold antifronts gives birth to the 'Eye' of the storms. The two anti-fronts get caught in its spin. Thus, a storm is bom.

The eye exerts a gravitational pull as a very low pressure area. It becomes a point of convergence and this develops the body of the storms, called 'Vortex'. The vortex is visible as a funnel with the eye as the center. This is the mature phase of storm with the two anti-fronts forming a tight ring around the eye. It is in this stage when nothing escapes the fury of the storm (Lai, 1998, pp. …

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