“To be, or not to be—that is the question.” So begins Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. Almost too famous, right? You’ve heard this phrase and heard it spoofed in pop-culture since you were small. It means almost nothing. Yet, if if you can look at it new, you see that it is the great human question, the underpinning to our whole lives, the single truth both of Hamlet’s character and of the play itself. Hamlet asks: “Should I even live given these circumstances in my life? And if I do live, what does it mean for me to live?”
The Youngers, in Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun,” must also answer these questions for themselves, and like most American families, must make hard choices about living—What will we do now? Where will we make a life? What does it mean to be?
Think about the idea of “being” as you delve into the questions below.
Begin by reviewing the Module 4 Exploration, which offers a brief overview of drama.
Read either Shakespeare’s Othello or Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.
With respect to the play you’ve chosen, reflect on 3 of the following questions in your post:
Why did you choose the play you did?
How do the aspects of written drama (plot, theme, characters, dialogue, rhythm of language) make a story come to life?
Do you think plays are easier to read or harder to read than fiction? Explain and support your answer, using the play you chose and one of the stories we read earlier in the course.
In 2021, “being” feels particularly important as we address a variety of social and economic challenges. How do these plays help you understand your own state of being in the context of our world right now—the choices you make and have to live with, and/or the way you create your life to make meaning? Do you see yourself in Hamlet or one of the Youngers?
Scholars across the decades have argued that reading drama is important for our emotional growth, because we enter the lives of the characters so completely through their dialogue. We feel what they feel, resolve what they resolve, or end tragically with them. The dramatic term for this is catharsis, which means emotional release. Do you agree or disagree? Is this still true of drama, or are other genres of literature more conducive to catharsis?
As you reflect on these questions, be sure to support your response with textual evidence and examples, that is, details and quoted passages from the play you chose. Point out lines/words that you appreciate, tell us why.
Ideally, your post should consist of 3-4 well-developed proofread paragraphs.
Be sure to make use of proper MLA style.
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