HAMLET, Act 3, Scene 3 - Shakespeare Navigators
More loosely, Tolkien relies on structural twinning or duplication to create parallels such as doubles, conflicting aspects of personality, and through The Lord of the Rings, even if the oppositions are not essentially necessary to define each other in strict structuralist terms. Marjorie Burns notes several examples of this. For "doubles," she points to the similar roles Goldberry and Galadriel play in their respective domains. Minas Tirith and Minas Morgol, the two towers echo each other. For conflicting aspects of personality, Burns shows how Tolkien creates oppositions between the staid Baggins and the adventurous Took sides of Frodo's family, showing a split or internal division in Frodo himself. A more schizophrenic split between Sméagol and Gollum serve as manifestations of his split desires. For foils, she points to the way Gandalf contrasts with the Balrog in Moria. There, he declares himself a "servant of the secret fire" and a "wielder of the flame of Anor," but he faces his opposite in the Balrog, "the flame of Udûn," a "worker of dark fire." Trolls and Ents serve as opposites for each other, and both Trolls and Ents in their massive size serve as foils to the little people of the hobbits during battle scenes. Boromir and Farmir contrast, with Boromir being proud and rash in his desire for glory while Faramir is "wiser, more restrained, and more peaceable," and so forth. For extended discussion, see Burns' entry on "double" in Drout 127-128).
Act 3, Scene 3 of Shakespeare's HAMLET, with notes and line numbers.
Creon comes to office throuigh the rather dubious claim of being the only male in the family who has not either killed his father and slept with his mother(or been killed by) his brother recently." Creon must ear...
LaMar in “Hamlet: A Man Who Thinks Before He Acts” describe precisely the perspective that a reader or viewer would find most helpful in solving the “Hamlet problem”: Much of the vast literature on this play has concentrated on the interpretation of Hamlet’s character, particularly in attempting to explain his inability to take decisive action, his tre...
Shakespeare's Hamlet with explanatory notes and study guide.
In more recent examples, in Richard Connell's short story, "The Most Dangerous Game," the reader is in suspense regarding whether or not the hero or the villainous hunter will survive as the two face off in a final battle. In Hamlet, much of the suspense arises from the protagonist's continuing procrastination--will he or won't he take up the task of killing his uncle? The more Hamlet delays, the more bodies pile up until the final climactic scene in which swordfights, poison, and invading foreign army all collide on stage practically simultaneously. Other authors might frustrate the reader's desires deliberately, as in Frank Stockton's "The Lady or the Tiger," in which a somewhat sadistic narrator describes a thought-provoking scenario. In this scenario, a young man is to be put to death. He is locked in an arena with two adjourning gates, and his young lover must decide his fate. This jealous young girl must choose whether to open a gate releasing a starving tiger into the arena from one gate, or instead open a second gate that would release a beautiful girl into the arena with him, a sexual competitor for the young man's attentions. The narrator describes at length why she might open one gate or the other, either saving her lover but throwing him in the arms of another woman, or killing her lover but blocking the advances of her rival. In the final lines, however, the narrator declares he is not a position to know what happened "historically," and thus leaves it to the reader to determine, "which came out of the open door--the lady, or the tiger?"
This, however, is by no means the whole story
Claude Leví-Strauss and other structuralists proved especially influential in cultural studies, literary theory, and interpretation of mythology. A common approach to understanding narrative structure in folklore and stories is to use structuralism. We might, for instance, apply it to Tolkien's Silmarillion, noting the connections of the Valar and the Maiar in relationship to Ilúvatar, and how Melkor is defined completely by his rebellion against Ilúvatar while the Valar are defined completely by their obedience to him, and so forth. Oppositional binaries in the creation account there rely on opposites for contrast (hot versus cold) just as in the Old Testament creation story, oppositional binaries between light/dark or land/sea or male/female only have existence because they appear in contrasting pairs, and so forth.
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STRUCTURALISM: The idea in sociology, anthropology, literary theory, or linguistics that the best way to understand a cultural artifact (like family units, religious rites, or human language) is not to define each component individually, as its own unique element, but rather to define each component by its relationship to other parts of the same structure. To give a rough example, consider a concept like "father" in American society. If we were attempting to define this concept and how the role functions in American society or in a traditional family from the 1950s, a nonstructuralist might define a father as "a male adult figure who provides income for the family and who serves as an authority figure or protector." Such a definition seeks to define the role based on what it does or what it is, per se. In contrast, a structuralist might instead seek to define a "father" by showing the relationship that figure would have in the larger structure of the family, i.e., a "father corresponds to a mother, but is of opposite gender, and the two together may have children, forming a larger structure called a family, and within that family the father traditionally protects the children and labors outside the household while the mother nutures them within the home." For the structuralist, it makes no sense to define a father without considering the other parts of the family structure and explaining the father's role in relationship to those other parts. The role of father cannot exist if the roles of mother and children do not exist. They are interdependent in ontology.