I am a student, a Lincolnite, a daughter, and a user of social media. While I am happy to be apart of all these communities of people, I would be lying if I said that they were all perfect. When there are imperfections in these communities though, people may refuse to face them and attempt to cover up their imperfections. There are even times when they intentionally use others for their own selfish gain, but again put up a front. For these reasons I chose the theme façade to encompass how the communities in which I live tend to cover up their imperfections. In an age where social pressures are high, money holds power, and technology makes it easy to create a false image, it’s no wonder these communities do their best to hide their blemishes. This is also the case for the characters of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. While technology wasn’t as advanced, news still traveled fast, power fueled ambition, and, especially as a royal member, social pressures were great. This forced the characters to cloak their own imperfections from the world, especially when it came to the character Gertrude.
In my community, fads come and go. I have seen many of these fads with my peers at school and even participated in them myself. The above picture represents this idea quite well. In a community with so much technology I often find myself surrounded by it and even using more than one device at a time (in fact, I’m doing it right now). I move from one device to the next doing different things on each of them while completely disregarding the other. It’s much like how we treat fads. We give them attention then throw them away. Gertrude treats people the same way we treat these fads. This is most seen in the play with her moving on from her old husband. In the quote above she very quickly passes him off as dead as an excuse to get married. She used the previous king then moved on to further her own gain. In the case of my community, it would be to further their enjoyment, but for Gertrude, it’s to find perfection.
Paycheck advance is a thinly veiled scam store that I see in various locations around Lincoln. I flipped the picture around to show how backwards their intentions are from their claims. They claim that they are there to help people until they reach their next paycheck, but really they are only there for personal gain. The put interest on it so the people have to end up paying more money than they otherwise would have had to pay. The customer becomes trapped though and has to continue paying this extra fee making the customer more desperate and allowing the company to make money. Gertrude also uses deceit for her own gain. For example, in the quote above she convinces Guildenstern and Rosencrantz that Hamlet admires them both greatly and that they will repay them for helping him. The real reason she brings them in though is because she is running out of options on how to calm Hamlet down and figure out what is wrong. She is using them so she doesn’t have to do it herself.
The above photo contains a display of Valentines Day chocolates in Barnes and Noble. The chocolates are set up nicely and on a table pushed out further than the others and with a pink top to complete the theme of the display. Many different stores have this sort of set up, and it’s quite obvious what the store keepers want to do. They are drawing attention to that display to sway the community of Lincoln to buy that product from their store. How this store accomplishes it is by pushing the display further into the aisle, contrasted by the far less colorful displays next to it and, in the top right corner you can see, is set up where the shopper has to see it on their way to their café. Gertrude also would seem as a box of chocolates throughout the tragedy (and not in the Forest Gump sense). She constantly tries to bring the focus back to herself as it benefits her. In the quote example she is at Ophelia’s funeral, but even there when she is supposed to be honoring the life of the deceased, she brings it back to herself. How many times she referred to herself in that short line was far too much, not to mention that she hardly honors her life. Gertrude essentially goes on about how it was a shame that she was not able to use Ophelia for what she wanted to use her for but in a way that made it seem as if she cared. In the end, she is simply drawing attention to herself.
Keep Up Appearances
In this picture, we see a picture of a family. It seems like an average family taking a photo, but there is no story behind it, as with the case of many family photos. I have gone to a number of houses where family photos hang on the wall and received a number of cards depicting a perfect family with no issues. It’s a snap shot taken of a staged moment, meant to represent the family it depicts, but it often doesn’t. For that reason I took the picture so that it was a little out of focus with poor lighting becauseIt’s the same situation in Hamlet for the royal Denmark family. I imagine Gertrude would stage a very similar family photo to send out on the royal family news letter. She spends so much time keeping up her own and her family’s appearance. In the quote above though there is finally an incident where Hamlet kills Polonius and she no longer can keep up this appearance. In response, she and Claudius decide to send Hamlet off to England to keep this incident as far away from their family image as possible. They also make sure that people understand that it was Hamlet’s doing and not their own, completely washing their own hands clean of the situation. In the end, the photo Gertrude cares about most is the portrait of herself.
In the picture above there is a girl taking a selfie. Before she takes the picture though she has to fix her hair, angle the camera, make a face, adjust the filter, and basically work to make herself look perfect. She may take multiple shots before she finds one that she is happy with. I see this all the time in my community on social media and in my school. The reason I left her eyes out of the photo is because often when people do this they are not reflecting who they really are but instead they portray a more perfect version of themselves which is taking away their identity. Gertrude would revel in this selfie era and being able to take pictures until they look perfect. She pushes the imperfect parts of her life as far away as possible and focuses on the perfect parts. To keep her perfection she keeps people away from herself and will send others to do the dirty work for her so she can continue in her perfect bubble. She does often does this with Hamlet, where she sent other people to help him with his issues, but in the quote above she is doing the same thing with Ophelia. She refuses to talk with her, because she knows that Ophelia will expose her imperfections. Gertrude just wants her selfie of perfection.