Literature represents much of the very best of humanity's writings, and it is not by any accident that, after bestsellers and sensationalized books have faded from memory, literature continues to thrive and remain intensely relevant to contemporary human conditions. Literature's stories and texts survive the fires of time.
Gertrude and Claudius, by John Updike reviewed by James Yerkes February 22, John Updike's 19th novel, plotted as a "prequel" to Shakespeare's Hamlet, is a beautifully crafted, captivating story.
Updike owes much of his thematic treatment to Shakespeare and to modern Shakespeare scholarship, but it is his own fertile imagination that generates the novel's compelling narrative.
This is his best book since The Witches of Eastwick. Queen Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, is the central figure and heroine. In depicting her warm and cogent feminine sensibility, Updike convincingly refutes the charges of misogyny often directed against him.
He expertly unfolds the tortured complexity of human motivations, rooted in nature, driven by spirit and unavoidably "under God's gaze. James Yerkes James Yerkes is a retired professor of religion and philosophy who lives in Surry, Maine. He is the editor of John Updike and Religion: Feb 23, issue Gertrude and Claudius explores "the human soul with its shadows.
Before he becomes King Claudius, the king's brother, Feng, observes to his then sister-in-law Gertrude that in falconry there is "a beauty that puts our thoughts of good and evil at the mercy of the real.
Our sin has been these many years one of denying our natures," he tells her.
Gertrude answers that we are indeed rooted in nature, but disquietingly so. His characters embody the erotic perspective on life and love, married and not, which Updike discussed in an early review of Denis de Rougemont's Love in the Western World and Love Declared Feng, unmarried and 59 years old, reflects that erotic love is "less the gift bestowed than the Heavenly graciousness of bestowal.
Every married person who reads this novel carefully and honestly will recognize that Updike, without endorsing infidelity as unavoidable therapy, clearly understands how poignantly difficult is the struggle to keep a marriage alive. In that respect, this novel could serve as a realistic resource for pastoral counseling.
Biblical references dot the book. Bathsheba and Jezebel are mentioned, as is Eden, but the image of Mary Magdalene kneeling in front of the resurrected "ultimate Man" is especially important.
Her exposed pink knee and her hand raised "as if to ward off the blessing gesture" function as religious and moral symbols expressing the peculiar ambiguity of human existence. We are "sent from the bode of angels to live on this earth among beasts and filth, and sentenced to die in a misery of foreknowing.
Updike once told an interviewer, "My overall theory, if I have one, is that the life of a piece of fictional prose comes from its relationship to reality, to truth, to what actually happens.Reggae Playground [Sound Recording] Vol IV, Jackson Joe Martin Van Buren - The Little Magician, Pierre-Marie Loizeau Border-line Insanity, Tim Ramsden The Brave and the Bold, v.
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Hamlet: A Sane Character - The story Hamlet was composed by the playwright William Shakespeare, and is regarded as a timeless piece in both literature and theatre. In William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Gertrude is Hamlet's mother and Queen of vetconnexx.com relationship with Hamlet is somewhat turbulent, since he resents her marrying her husband's brother Claudius after he murdered the King (young Hamlet's father, King Hamlet).Gertrude reveals no guilt in her marriage with Claudius after the recent murder of her husband, and Hamlet begins to show signs .
FEW critics have even admitted that Hamlet the play is the primary problem, and Hamlet the character only secondary. And Hamlet the character has had an especial temptation for that most dangerous type of critic: the critic with a mind which is naturally of the creative order, but which through some weakness in creative power exercises itself in criticism instead.
Similarly, in John Updike’s prequel Gertrude and Claudius, Polonius acts as the liaison between Claudius and Gertrude, even going so far as to permit adultery to take place and knowingly to allow the royal bed of Denmark to be besmirched by incest.
Gertrude and Claudius John Updike, Author Alfred A. Knopf $23 (p) ISBN Gertrude's loyalty to her husband and her royal duties, her initial resistance to adultery and her concern.