Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bestiality is the new incest

Bestiality is becoming the best. Voltaire suggests that the natives have sex with monkeys. There are two monkeys that are lovers to the native women. Candide shoots the monkeys because he is afraid of them. Voltaire is European and thinks less of the native people. He basically thinks they are animals, which is why he writes them as having sex with animals.

Voltaire is a savage

Voltaire is the greatest savage of the 18th century. He attacks virtually every group of people he can think of. He calls the native people "Biglugs" as a way of referencing their earrings. However "biglugs" also sounds gross. It makes them sound fat. At the time, Europeans thought they were better than everyone, especially native peoples. He also attacks the aristocracy. He tells a story of a slave and the suffering this slave has endured to produce sugar to export to Europe. He tries to prove that the Europeans are cruel to other people has long as they get what they want. He also can't forget about his savage "division of booty pun."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

humanities in real life

Over the break I took the time to fill out several college applications. While researching one college, it described the campus as having a lot of "Doric Columns." I immediately thought back to when we had to memorize and label three different types of columns for one of Ms. Quinet's tests, "Doric" being one of the types. If I was not in humanities, I would have no clue what that meant, and that statement would mean nothing to me. It made me think that humanities class is a great source of information that is immediately relevant to the world around us.


The most fascinating link in the Great Chain of Being is man. Humans straddle both the spiritual world and the physical world at once. Humans are described as having spiritual capabilities such as having emotions and knowledge. However, humans are also weighed down with a physical body and sins and pains that come with it. For example, lust, hunger, thirst, etc. Humans are in an interesting place where they are part of both worlds. We saw parts of this explained in Plato's allegory of the cave earlier in the year. The separation of spiritual and physical worlds also reminded me of the lightness vs. weight theme in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Humans are described as being weighed down by their physical body and sins. The Chain goes most in depth and descriptive about the link of man most likely because the Chain was "invented" by man.

Great Chain of Being

I always thought that the Great Chain of Being just referred to a sort of chain reaction, but never really thought of it to have specific order. In doing research for my project,  I learned that the Great Chain of Being is structured and has many divisions and subdivisions. The Chain starts with God and progresses its way through angels, the moon and stars, humans (separated in social classes), animals, all the way down to minerals. In reading Macbeth last year and Hamlet this year I have seen references to the Great Chain of Being but never understood or appreciated it fully for what it was. I initially thought the Great Chain of Being was a sort of omen or response where nature reacted to some sort of bad event. I now know the chain is broken down and each division effects the other.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Killing yourself

The suicide Motif is frequently brought up in Hamlet with the purpose of showing Hamlet's depressed state and overall outlook on life and other people. His indecision goes back to the thought Motif which causes him to delay in his task of avenging his father. I believe at this time period, suicide was not accepted because the grave diggers wonder if Ophelia should have a Christian burial or not. Hamlet and maybe Shakespeare go against this value by saying that the only reason people don't commit suicide is that they are scared of the unknown afterlife. Hamlet frequently calls himself a coward like this when debating the best time to kill Claudius.

The art of being savage

The part that I enjoyed most about Hamlet is the wit and sarcasm of Hamlet. Throughout this whole play, Hamlet is consistent with this. His words often include double meanings that go over the heads of other characters, which makes it even more comical for the reader. One of my favorite parts is how after Hamlet stabs Polonius, he tells his mother that this murder was almost as bad as killing your husband, which is intense sarcasm directed towards his mother.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Does Hamlet think incest is the best?

As we all know, incest is the best.  But does Hamlet think so? I would be mad too if my mom married my dad's murderer who is also my uncle. It is very strange that Hamlet is so interest in his mother's sex life. That's pretty gross. But he's REALLY mad about her incestuous relationship. Its all he talks about with her. He just keeps berating her and calling her a whore. He needs to calm down. Clearly, he does not think incest is the best.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


So, whats up with Hamlet? Is he crazy? When he is talking to Gertrude in the closet, he sees the ghost of his father and even speaks to it. However, Gertrude does not see or hear anything. This really raised into question the existence of the ghost. The guards have seen the ghost, so why can't Gertrude? Maybe this is because King Hamlet is furious with Gertrude, so he does not allow her to see him. Is that how ghosting works?

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Puns play a major role in the dialogue of the play. When Hamlet is talking to someone he often throws in a pun somewhere, that the other person will not pick up on. For example, Hamlet's first words of the play are "a little more than kin and less than kind," referring to Claudius. Here Hamlet is really saying that Claudius is "a little more than kin" because he is now technically his father and uncle. Also, Hamlet is saying that , while he is related to Claudius, he does not like him and is not like him. This is just one example of the many puns that Hamlet uses throughout the play. Hamlet's ability to craft these puns to the disregard of the other characters helps portray Hamlet as more intelligent than the others. The craftiness of the use of puns in Hamlet's speech shows how skilled and clever Shakespeare was as a writer.

Christian faith and afterlife

In Hamlet's famous "to be or not to be" soliloquy, he says that he and all humans would not be reluctant to kill themselves if they knew what the afterlife consisted of. The main fear is the dread of the afterlife, but it also could have Christian implications of fear. Suicide is a terrible sin in the Christian faith, and the afterlife is vague and not guaranteed. The Christian afterlife consists of Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory, but does not ensure that you will be happy after your death. This is especially the case for someone who commits suicide, as we saw in Dante's Inferno with the Wood of Suicides. Hamlet states that all people who fear the afterlife, including himself, are cowards for not killing themselves. Hamlet's view is very morbid because he hates his life on earth and would rather be dead, though this could be a part of his madness act.

Friday, November 11, 2016

to be mad or not to be mad

One of the most debated topics from Hamlet is if Hamlet is actually acting the part of being mad or if he is in reality mad. It is hard to tell and can be argued either way. He specifically says that he plays the fool and will act mad to achieve his purpose of killing King Claudius. The movie interpretation of Hamlet shows the madness of Hamlet in a very exaggerated way through things such as weird facial expressions and the skull mask that are the director's interpretations. Contrarily, when Hamlet stands in front of the mirror and says his "to be or not to be" lines, he is most likely not aware he is being watched, but still argues the benefits and detriments of suicide. Therefore, I would say that Hamlet is mad in some way or another because of his actual depression and the weight of his responsibility to kill King Claudius. Hamlet is so intelligent and has so much control that it is hard to tell if he is acting or letting his own emotions out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Incest strikes again

This is the 4th instance of incest we have seen so far in Humanities. Why? Because I guess incest really is the best. In Hamlet, Claudius marries his dead brother's wife Gertrude. Even though they are not technically related, this is still considered incest at the time. I do not understand why they would marry each other even though it was considered incest. I know the English and Spanish royal families committed incest, but I do not know if the same applied to Denmark. Hamlet is shocked at his mother and uncle's action. Perhaps this is an indicator that incest was not accepted.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Final thoughts on dante

Overall, I was simply amazed by the creativity of Dante in the Inferno. It was very brave of him to write about Christian teaching in this way. Not only did he greatly help average people to understand the Bible. Not only that, he also wrote it in vernacular. Overall, it is really apparent how much Dante cares about spreading knowledge to the average person .


I think that Dante thinks a little too highly of himself. Why does he think that he is so great to go on this journey? He tries to act humble by saying that he isn't Paul or Aenas, but he goes on the journey anyway and he wrote the poem telling everyone how hell is. Why does he think he is worthy enough to come up with the idea of hell?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Aeneid vs. mythology

Throughout the entire scope of Dante's Inferno, we see him put ideas from the Aeneid above traditional mythology. For example, the oarsmen for the rivers of Hell are in different rivers than traditional mythology dictates. Dante does this because he follows the Aeneid most of the time. Another example is the queen of the underworld, Proserpina. In actual mythology, Hecate is the queen of the underworld, but Dante has changed it to go in accordance with the Aeneid. The purpose of idolizing the Aeneid shows Dante and his belief of the optimum form of society. He wants to restore society to the unity and peace that was achieved under the times of the Pax Romana, as opposed to the discord that he sees in his current time period.

Old Man of Crete

Of all the many allegories that Dante utilizes in Inferno, the Old Man of Crete is the most unique and interesting in my opinion. It alludes to the Bible by having the different body parts made of a decreasing level of sturdiness, all the way from the head of gold until the right foot of terra cota. Dante uses these aspects from the Bible to show his idea of the decline of human history over time. He therefore idolizes the Roman unity and peace that was achieved during the time of Augustus's rule. Augustus's rule would be represented by the gold, and the current time for Dante would be representative of the clay. Since most of the weight is on the right foot of clay, Dante foretells an upcoming collapse of society. Not only does the Old Man of Crete symbolize the Bible, but it also relates to the mythological story of Saturn eating his kids. Therefore it also mixes classical and Chrisitian. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why do we read so many books that have incest?

In Circle 2, Lust, we meet Francesca and Paolo. Francesca was married to Paolo's brother. Francesca and Paolo were caught having an affair and damned to Hell. This isn't directly incest, but it still counts. Francesca's husband is damned to Caina for murdering them. However, shouldn't Francesca and Paolo join him? They betrayed family, yet they are in circle 2.

Et tu Brute?

One of the main subjects of Dante's Inferno is his use of Roman tradition in combination with Christianity. A prime example is in the deepest portion of Hell, Judecca, Satan has the three worst sinners in his mouth. It makes perfect sense that Judas would be considered the worst sinner because he betrayed Jesus, the Son of God. The other two sinners are Brutus and Cassius, the murderers of Caesar. In my opinion, this is the most outright merger of Roman tradition with Christianity.  At other points in the epic, Dante uses mythological figures from Roman tradition, or mentions characters from Rome. However, no other points seem as blatant as when he groups Brutus and Cassius on almost the same level as Judas. Dante could have used other, more world renowned or more evil sinners, but instead he chose Brutus and Cassius. To Dante's audience, this probably made perfect sense and people would agree. However, reading it today, there is many other sinners Dante could have used.