Literary Genres: Hamlet Soliloquy ‘To Be or not to Be’ Class summary

Hello everyone,

As promised this is a short summary of the Hamlet soliloquy we studied in the classroom together.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?—To die,—to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die,—to sleep;—
To sleep: perchance to dream:—ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

The soliloquy deals with the behaviour of the human being when he is about to take a decision in his life.  We have a choice between  either  being idle and live with our problems and undergo their consequences, or confront them and take a decision instantly against them.

He then thought of sleeping, as with sleep comes rest and comes dreams. Dreams and sleep bring inner peace.  Then he pondered upon the thought of killing himself, about joining the other world. Then he thought of the idea of going to the unknown world crossed his mind.  However he came up with the conclusion that it is better to stay in a world where he knows everything about rather then going to a world which he does not know about.




Renaissance: Group 23-24

Hello everyone, this is your Renaissance class for tomorrow, you can download the hand-out here


Renaissance took place during the 14th, 15th, 16th century and early 17th. New ideas and discoveries emerged during this period. The Renaissance traces its origins to Al Andalus, also known as “Moorish Spain,” a part of Spain which was under Islamic rule for more than seven hundred years. During the early centuries of Islamic expansion ‘Al Futuhat Al Islamya’, one major concern of the Islamic expansion was not power but literacy; Islam brought literacy.

While Europe was suffering from The Dark Ages, the Catholic church was concerned about keeping the power by  destroying  thousands of books with the excuse of ‘heresy’ again “if it repeats what’s in the bible, it’s redundant; if it says things that aren’t in the bible, it’s heresy.” Europe exposed a huge loss that could not possibly regain in a short period.

Why did the Renaissance start in Italy?

City-States: At this time Italy was made up of many states and wasn’t a single country some of the most important were Florence, Milan, Venice and Genoa. These states competed in who had the best art and buildings.
Wealth of Italian cities: During the middle ages, Italy was the centre of trade in Europe. Ideas and knowledge came with them.
They used the knowledge to become patrons of the art.

Major figures of the Renaissance


Gutenberg: Possibility to print in large copies the bible.



Vasco Da Gama (Portuguese explorer)  who was the first to sail from Europe to India


Amerigo Vespucci, who discovered the New World that was named later after him ‘America’


Christopher Colombus, who also discovered the New World’ Americas’ by accident.


Galileo Galilei, the Italian scientist who supported Copernicanism (Earth orbits around the sun) But was tried by the Catholic Church for heresy. He was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life.



Michelangelo: One of the most famous Italian artists, known for the Pieta sculpture and David.


Leonardo Da Vinci: A true Renaissance man, Da Vinci was a gifted artist and designer who worked in the fields of astronomy, anatomy, and mathematics. His most famous works include The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. Leonardo was also from Florence but worked mainly in Rome and Milan.


Raphael: Architect and painter known for Madonnas and the large figure compositions in the Vatican

Raphael Madonna of the Meadow

Donatello : Florentine sculptor who was the first since the Classical period to sculpt a free standing nude.


Niccolo Machiavelli – wrote The Prince which examined politics in Renaissance Italy and stated leaders should be prepared to employ force and deceit as means of maintaining power. This book would influence not only Machiavelli’s contemporaries but rulers throughout history.

Niccolo Machiavelli by Santi di Tito

William Shakespeare: English Renaissance playwright whose plays drew from classical mythology, medieval legends, and history.


Christopher Marlowe : A contemporary of Shakespeare. His plays stemmed from similar themes and, like Shakespeare, human attributes such as jealousy and love.


Is was the time of unpaved roads, diseases, plagues, hard work and high taxes. Most children died at birth and the life expectancy average was 40 years.

People during the 15th century Renaissance called them to Freedom, discovery, dignity. While the church demanded obedience, slavery and fear.

The ‘Pope’ was the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The church was wealthy, corrupt and superstitious and the Christians were made to fear ‘God’ and doubt their salvation.

The English Renaissance and the Reformation of the Church

Henry VIII


Elizabeth I


oldmarytudorBloody Mary

The Tudors(related to the royal dynasty that held the throne from Henry VII until the death of Elizabeth I) The English were preoccupied with the Hundred years War and the Wars of the Roses, that together covered more than a hundred and fifty years. There was less cultural progress during these war years. Tudor kings encouraged cultural activities.

King Henry VIII  ruled England for almost four decades.  His reign began in 1509, and ended with his death in 1547.  This period was one of the most ‘colorful’ in British history, in large part due to Henry’s matrimonial adventures.  In addition, a great deal of religious, political and social change occurred during this time.

The English Reformation started in the reign of Henry VIII. Henry VIII decided to rid himself of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, after she had failed to produce a male heir to the throne, she had a female instead named Marry (who later was known as Bloody Marry) He had already decided who his next wife would be – Anne Boleyn,  his mistress. By 1527, Catherine was considered too old to bear children. However, a divorce was not a simple issue. In fact, it was a very complicated one. Henry VIII was a Roman Catholic and the head of this church was the pope based in Rome.



The Roman Catholic faith believed in marriage for life. This put Henry VIII in a difficult position. Henry asked for a special appeal to the pope so that he might get a special “Papal Dispensation”. This meant that the pope would agree to Henry’s request for a divorce purely because Henry was king of England but that it would not affect the way the Catholic Church banned divorce for others. The pope refused to grant Henry this and by 1533 his anger was such that he ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury to grant him a divorce so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. This event effectively lead to England breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church based in Rome. Henry placed himself as head of the church and in that sense, in his eyes, his divorce was perfectly legal.Henry knew of the Catholic Church’s unpopularity and, therefore, used this to his advantage.

Henry was made Supreme Head of the Church by an Act of Parliament in 1534. The country was still Catholic but the pope’s power had been ended.

Some interesting videos for further learning

Literary Genres: Lesson summary for Group 15-16 (Poetry) with The Daffodils by W.Wordsworth

Additional Class. Literary Genres. Group 15 

Date: 07/03/2013 (+)

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. ” T.S.Eliot


Definition: Poetry is associated with emotions.

Types of poems

The descriptive: It describes people or experience, scenes or objects.

The narrative: Tells a story.

The lyrical: Expresses mood or feeling, very much akin to song.

Poetry differs from the other genres. It has its own pattern and here its own devices.

We can group these devices into three categories.

Sound, sense and structure

Sound devices: 

Alliteration: The repetition of the same sounds or of the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables

Onomatopoeia:  The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to

Rhyme: A word that corresponds with another in terminal sound, as behold and cold.

Rhythm: Movement or procedure with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat, accent, or the like.

Sense devices:

Generally grouped under the heading imagery or  figurative language (the forming of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things. It is also the use of language to represent actions, persons, objects, and ideas descriptively. This means encompassing the senses also, rather than just forming a mental picture.)

Simile: A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind. 

Example:  White as a ghost- Swims like a fish.

Metaphor: A metaphor is there to make an even stronger image in the reader’s head by describing a place, subject or object as something unlikely.  Example:    He was a speeding bullet.  -A sea of trouble.   Drowning in debt.

Personification: Personification is when you make an object or idea do something only a human can do.

Example:   The moon smiled. –The wind wrapped itself around my face.  Death had come for her.  The alarm clock screamed at me this morning.

These devices are meant to free our imagination and give vividness to  meaning.

Structual devices: For the previous devices to be felt, it must be organised, we have:

Contrast: It occurs when we find two completely opposed pictures side by side.

Illustration: The representation in a from of a striking picture to be able to grasp the poet’s intention.

Repetition: Poets tend to repeat lines in their poems in order to emphasise the meaning and to achieve a certain musical effect to their work.


Text studied

The Daffodils by William Wordsworth.

Analysis, explanation



Bridging The Gap. University Press page 181-184