Human beings are commonly accepted as social creatures. They are considered evolved due to the fact that they were the first animals to develop a written language to help with communication. In the book, As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner compares the characters to less evolved species. The resemblance between the characters and their inanimate counterparts in nature is used in the book to show how inhuman they are in personality. Many birds are carnivorous, that is, they prey upon other animals for food. In this book, Faulkner uses the character of Anse Bundren to personify a vulture. Anse is compared to predatory birds in order to expose the similarities of the nature and behavior, of the human and the animal species.
Anse resembles a vulture when Addie first sees him. She describes him as a tall bird hunched in the cold weather (170). Anse is often depicted as having a humped, motionless, and cold silhouette (51-52). While he gazes at Addie lying in bed, he partakes an “owl-like quality of awry-feathered, disgruntled outrage within (49).” Anse is often unshaven, dirty, seeming dark and dreary. He is selfish and continually on the prowl, like a culture, for more money and extravagance.
The Latin meaning for the word “vulture” is the basic nature of these birds: breeze scavengers. Rarely flapping their large wings, vultures cruise by on air currents, searching for dead animals to eat. Anse grabs Addie’s attention by driving past the school house watching Addie. He drives by, trying to catch a glimpse, almost stalking her, as a vulture would stalk its prey before attacking. Anse is not gentle and loving. He stands, stiff as a scarecrow, silent, and grotesque. His position evokes fear in others and makes them do what he desires. When Addie excepts Anse’s proposal to marriage, he takes her from her home and place of birth, and brings her to his farm. Addie’s life, from that point on, is harsh and ungratifying. It is when Addie is with Anse, that she realizes that her father’s beliefs are true — the purpose of life is to get ready to be dead.
Anse, like a vulture, is cool and calculating. As Addie is lying in bed, Anse sits on the front doorstep of the house waiting for her to die.
The Importance of Fortinbras
In many plays there is a central character who believes that something is rightfully theirs. In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the character Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, is portrayed as this central character hoping to reclaim the land Denmark that his father lost in battle to Hamlet Sr. Fortinbras is also characterized as Hamlet’s enemy and throughout the play he tries to gain advantage over Hamlet. In Franco Zeffirelli’s movie version of Hamlet, Fortinbras is not present in the movie at all. Since Zeffirelli did not include the scenes with Fortinbras, the question brought to viewers is why this character is so carelessly left out of the movie. By leaving Fortinbras out of the movie Hamlet, an element of contention and collation between himself and Hamlet is absent that is present in the play.
In the play, the background stories of Fortinbras and Hamlet are similar. Both of their uncles are king, when the rightful throne should be theirs; however, the two princes deal with the aftermath differently. While Fortinbras deals by going out and conquering other countries, Hamlet distracts himself with thinking and plotting against Claudius. In Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 4, he compares and contrasts the differences between himself and Fortinbras. Hamlet explains that he would be more like Fortinbras with his actions.
Witness this army of such mass and charge/ Led by a delicate and tender prince,/ Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed/ Makes mouths at the invisible event,/ Exposing what is mortal and unsure/ To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,/ Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great/ Is not to stir without great argument,/ But greatly to find quarrel in a straw/ When honor’s at the stake. BLOCK QUOTATION
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… he believes is rightfully his. Fortinbras also serves as the equal to Hamlet and whose actions are compared to those of Hamlet’s as how Hamlet should behave. The young Prince of Norway is known for is conquest in countries and also for what he hopes to accomplish in the end. At the end of the play, when the royal family collapses and Hamlet is dead, Fortinbras is the character who receives the crown. Without this element in the movie, who could take over the helpless land and been able to keep it together and successfully rule the kingdom? Only Fortinbras is the prime choice to rule this kingdom because of his clear motive, direction, and his will to succeed.
Hamlet. Dir. Franco Zeffirelli. Perf. Mel Gibson and Glenn Close. 1990. Warner Bros., 2004. DVD.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. A. R. Braunmuller. New York: Penguin Group Inc.,2001. Print.