Essay On Patternicity In Oresteia And Hamlet

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Michael Shermer introduces us to the idea of patternicity, the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise (Shermer, 2010). There are said to be type I and type II errors in patternicty. Type I errors are when you believe a pattern is authentic when it really isn’t; you find a nonexistent pattern. Type II errors are when you do not believe in a pattern that is really there; not recognizing a real pattern. These errors are examples of self-deception. Our minds trick us into finding patterns that aren’t really there. Oresteia by Aeschylus and Hamlet by Shakespeare both display the self-deception of their main characters and ultimately that error costs them, however it helps future generations. Oresteia’s first play; Agamemnon, is heavily rooted in the theme of deception, but most importantly, self-deception. Before the play even begins Agamemnon tells himself that if he kills his daughter Iphigenia he will have a better fortune in his journey to Troy. His wife Clytemnestra is distraught over his decision and his decision ultimately leads to his demise at the hands of his wife. When Agamemnon returns home…show more content…
Hamlet does not believe that he is actually insane when he really is. He truly believes that his insanity is an act to gather evidence against Claudius. This insanity leads him to take Polonious’s life which he justifies by saying that Polonius was dishonestly spying. This self-deception leads Hamlet to believe that he is self-righteous and better than his uncle however he is hypocritical in this way as he leaves Ophelia and Laertes without a father in the same way that Claudius did to Hamlet. Hamlets obsession with proving Claudius guilty and killing him in the name of justice eventually leads to Hamlets own murder. By the end of the tragedy eight people including Laertes, Claudius, and Hamlet die for the sake of Hamlets obsession with
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