Fate as a Pitcher, Life as a Ball

Fate as a Pitcher, Life as a Ball

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Many people go through their lives questioning what would have happened if some aspects had been different. What if a person’s worst enemy had been his/her best friend? Would he/she be a different person if he/she had grown up in a different town? Such questions as these can puzzle a person in reality, as well as in literature. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, the protagonist raises the question of fate in the second scene of the fifth act, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends.” Through the actions of the characters, a disastrous outcome is unfolded. Claudius’s designs to kill Hamlet ultimately kill Laertes and Gertrude. Polonius finds his death by spying on Hamlet’s conversation with his mother. Finally, many of the tragic elements stem from the ghost of Hamlet’s father speaking to Hamlet about his murder. Hamlet’s quote shows that fate is a divine force at work to create an outcome. Each character’s decision marks the curves that fate pitches into their lives.
In the seventh scene of the fourth act of Hamlet, Laertes joins Claudius in order to kill Hamlet. They devise a plan to have Hamlet and Laertes participate in a fencing match, in which Laertes used a pointed blade tipped with poison. Claudius intends to infect a glass of wine with poison in the case that Laertes fails (4.7.133-162). “And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe, but even his mother shall uncharged the practice and call it and accident” (4.7.66-69). These are Claudius’ words concerning Gertrude’s knowledge of his plan. Such a phrase is foreshadowing of fate. During the match, Gertrude drinks from the poisoned cup (5.2.295-296). Laertes is also victim to fate when he and Hamlet trade swords. “Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric. I am justly killed with mine own treachery” (5.2.311-312). Neither Laertes nor Gertrude would have suffered their poisonous fate had Claudius not devised this plan to kill Hamlet.
Furthermore, Claudius would not have had this plan if Polonius had never been killed. “And so have I a noble father lost” (4.7.25). The death of Polonius is the incident that prompted Laertes to visit Denmark in search of vengeance. However, the death of Polonius would not be a factor in this fate if he had not been conspiring against Hamlet. “My lord, he’s going to his mother’s closet. Behind the arras I’ll convey myself to hear the process” (3.

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2.27-29).This quote reflects Polonius’ designs to hide in Gertrude’s room while she is speaking with Hamlet. While Hamlet is talking Polonius makes a noise from his hiding position, and Hamlet kills him. “How now! a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!” (3.4.25). His decision to spy on Hamlet caused fate to exact his death.
Finally, every twist in fate can be traced to an initial event, the appearance of the ghost to Hamlet. “Revenge this foul and most unnatural murder” (1.5.25). “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown” (1.5.39-40). This is the message that Hamlet receives from the ghost of his father, who was murdered by his brother, the very brother that married Hamlet’s mother. From this message, Hamlet decides to act as if he is mad in order to gather information from the people around him (1.5.169-175). Had Hamlet never met this ghost, the family would have gone on their way believing that a snake was the reason for the death of old Hamlet.
Through the character’s decisions, a divine power creates an outcome that is designed by fate. If Hamlet had never met the ghost, he would never have learned the truth about his father’s death. By this, he would have never pretended madness, causing Polonius to spy on his conversation with his mother. If Polonius had not been spying, Hamlet would not have killed him and Laertes would not have come to Denmark for his revenge. Without Laertes’ revenge, neither Laertes nor Gertrude would have died from the treachery of Claudius. Like fate, a pitcher’s job is to throw a ball from his glove; sometimes a curveball must be his choice of action in order to achieve his goal.

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