Tutor profile: Paige P.
What are "be" verbs, and why shouldn't I use them?
"Be" verbs are any form of the verb "to be." (Are, is, was, were, be, being, been.) Usually when you use a "be" verb, you end up using passive voice. Most people find passive voice undesirable because it forces the author to use more words to communicate their message. Also, passive voice drains any story of its action. For example, the sentence "The ball was thrown by Bob" is less exciting than "Bob threw the ball." Eliminating "be" verbs allows the writer to be more economic with their word choice and use more descriptive verbs.
In Hamlet, what does the rooster crowing as the Ghost disappears symbolize?
The rooster crowing is a hint for the Ghost's identity as Hamlet's father. A biblical reference that nearly everyone in Shakespeare's day would understand, the rooster's call symbolizes betrayal, since in the Bible, Peter denies Jesus three times before the rooster crows. By having the Ghost disappear right as the rooster crows, Shakespeare is hinting the Ghost's cause of death and one of the major themes of the play.
What is the significance of sight and blindness in Oedipus Rex?
The motif of sight and blindness in Oedipus symbolizes knowledge of the truth. At the beginning of the play, Tireseas, the blind seer, knows the identity of the murderer who must be banished, and consequently, he knows Oedipus' fate. When the blind Tireseas reveals his knowledge to Oedipus, Oedipus thinks he is lying and refuses to believe. When Oedipus finally realizes that he has fulfilled the prophecy, he blinds himself. Those who can see, do not know, and those who are blind know the truth.
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