I struggle to catch on to big themes in individual works of literature. I really need the help of a teacher to point me to what the author intends for his reader to see. If I do catch on to something, it is usually a small quote from a character that cuts deep into my core. When a moment like this comes, I usually always relate to a character who commits some grave sin or to one who is deeply troubled.
Hamlet, when he confronts his mother on her act of marrying his Uncle 2 months after the death of her husband, tells his mother, “You go not till I set you up a glass (mirror) / Where you may see the inmost part of you!” The purpose of literature accomplishes this very idea to the reader. It sets up a mirror to flesh out the inner core of the reader by way of the action on the page.
While Hamlet is definitely a troubled character, something the Uncle/murderer/king said really stuck out to me after Hamlet, through the play, exposes the actions of his Uncle.
“Try what repentance can. What can it not?
Yet what can it when one cannot repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that struggling to be free
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay.
Bow, stubborn knees, and, heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe.
All may be well…
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”
Does anyone else ever feel this way?