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Symbols and Symbolism in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie

Symbols and Symbolism in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie illustrates how Tennessee Williams incorporates symbols to help express the central theme of the play. One of the recurring symbols, apparent throughout the play, is that of the “glass menagerie” – symbolic of Laura herself. Another symbol for Laura is the glass unicorn. Still another symbol is that of the picture of the father – symbolic of freedom. These symbols play an important part in the development of the plot, as well as the theme of the play.

The glass figurines that reside in Laura’s menagerie are symbolic of Laura herself. Laura is “like a piece of her own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf” (849). Because of a slight defect, magnified several times over by her own mind, Laura’s self image is as fragile as her collection. Because of her low self image, she is extremely withdrawn, even to the point of avoiding contact with others as much as is possible. Laura escapes “to the world of her menagerie where she is safe from the world of people” (Kahn 74)…

Free Hamlet Essays: Finding Fault

Finding Fault in Hamlet

The old English is difficult enough to understand when it is clearly spoken in a direct manner, but it is even more difficult when Hamlet, Prince of Denmark speaks so sarcastically and indirectly. Throughout Shakespeare’ play, Hamlet is very indirect and speaks in a way that is not easily interpreted by the other characters. It seems as though he never speaks in an honest manner, never disclosing his true thought to anyone. Even if Hamlet ever says something that sound sincere, the audience is not sure of whether it is yet another of Hamlet’s games, or if he is really telling the truth. The ambiguous way that he speaks is however, not the cause of his downfall; the actions of all those involved is what causes everyone to either kill or be killed.

In numerous scenes throughout the play, Hamlet uses sharp wit and sarcasm to speak in a way, that confuses the other characters. For example, in Act 2 and Scene 2, with Polonius and Hamlet, Hamlet is speaking in a very sarcastic and confusing manner to Polonius, but he in turn doesn’t notice the meaning of Hamlet’s words because he just assumes that Hamlet has gone crazy, resulting in his awkward speech. In a scene with Hamlet and Ophelia, Hamlet tells her that he never really loved her and that she should “get to a nunnery”. She believes him, because Hamlet speaks in an honest way; however, later at Ophelia’s funeral we discover that he had lied to her, and that he did really love her.

In his famous “to be or not to be” silioque, Hamlet is, again, very ambiguous. In this speech, he seeks as though he is contemplating suicide or weather to just keep living. He makes himself look like a confused and crazy young man; however, he tells Horatio that he is truly not crazy. No one knows what to believe from whom. Hamlet always says two things at once, and he then acts in a way, that is completely unpredictable. I think he played crazy to confuse Claudius and Polonius in order to avenge for his father’s death. At the same time that he is playing the mad man, to Claudius, Polonius and his mother, he plays the untruthful and confused boyfriend to Ophelia. No one ever knows what Hamlet’s true intentions are.

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