Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hamlet passage

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Passage #1

Act 1, Scene 5 of Hamlet opens with the ghost of the late King Hamlet leading his son Prince Hamlet to a secluded area. He informs Hamlet of his “foul and most unnatural murder” committed by his very own brother. Throughout lines 15-57 Shakespeare describes in great detail the betrayal and murder of the King Hamlet along with the skeptical and awestruck reaction of Prince Hamlet.

The unique style and structure that Shakespeare uses in his writing creates a suspenseful, dramatic, and gripping conversation. The language he uses is a combination of the poetic and the dramatic that condenses the thoughts, intentions, and emotions of the drama. The king begins his story uttering “I could a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood.” (15-16) Shakespeare’s word choice makes the kings story sound a bit exaggerated. It expresses the kings loathing towards his unloyal backstabbing brother. “O God! … Murder!” Hamlet responds surprised and disgusted when he learns that his fathers death was not natural. Shakespeare adds the love affair between his brother and his wife to intensify the conversation and create an atmosphere of mixed feelings for the audience. He presents the hatred in the kings heart and also his sorrow when the king adds that his corpse “Will sate itself in a celestial bed, and prey on garbage.” (56-57)

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Shakespeare adds figures of speech to allow the audience to use their imagination. The ghost uses a metaphor to express Claudius’s villainy when he says, “A serpent stung me,” which adds an attitude of surrealness like a story too horrible to be true. He uses simile’s to add to this feeling. The ghost spoke to Hamlet explaining how his treacherous story would “Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres, / And each particular hair to stand an end, like quills upon the fretful porpentine.” These simile’s are also hyperboles that Shakespeare uses to capture the audiences imagination and also to make the king death seem much more dramatic. Shakespeare adds to the late King’s character further by having him question Hamlet about his marriage vows and pondering what went wrong. This clever questioning causes the audience to think of the great warrior king in a more solemn way. This scene creates a sense of rising action in the play and introduces Hamlets main conflict throughout the whole play. Shakespeare paints a clear picture of the murder and Hamlets purpose for revenge through his brilliant usage of language and figures of speech.

Passage #

Act , Scene confirms Hamlets suspicion of Claudius and his mother the Queen being affiliates in the assassination of his father. In the closing lines of the scene Hamlet is called upon by his mother and is pondering how he should react when he meets with her. Shakespeare portrays Hamlets ambivalence toward his mother to the audience vividly through lines 404-417.

Shortly after learning of the betrayal of his two closest friends, Hamlet doesn’t know whom to trust. Shakespeare creates a dark and gloomy feeling by casting Hamlet in “the very witching time of night, when churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out.” (404-406) Hamlet feels lost and betrayed by everyone he has ever loved and Shakespeare displays his enraged state of being when he quotes Hamlet thinking, “now could I drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on.” (407-410) Shakespeare refers to the old superstitions that the devil lurks at night and sins are much more easily committed. Hamlets anger is heightened to its greatest extent when he says that “let not ever the soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.” (41) Nero was a Roman emperor notorious for his debauchery and cruelty. He had his mother Agrippina murdered and Shakespeare uses his name, as a reference to show that even in an unstable state, Hamlet still loves his mother.

Shakespeare continues Hamlets mental struggle using the metaphor “I will speak daggers to her, but use none.” (414) This statement shows that Hamlet only wishes to condemn his mother verbally for her actions, and not take any physical action. Shakespeare portrays Hamlet to the audience as a confused youth who is struggling with his feelings, but still is very virtuous. He would only like to wound her emotionally but is afraid that his words and his actions be a bit different stating, “My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites.” Shakespeare paints an emotional picture of Hamlets ambivalent struggle to the audience and in the last two lines “How in my words soever she be shent, to give them seals never, my soul, consent!” gives a bit of closure Hamlets mixed up feelings. (416-417) Hamlet decides that once he has shamed his mother with his accusations, he will feel better.

Shakespeares ability to portray feelings and emotions to the audience through vivid descriptive words, metaphors, and references seem to make the story come to life. Throughout the play he expresses Hamlets change in emotions by using soliloquies to allow the audience to get inside the actors head and hear what he is thinking. This tool is used to give the audience a better understanding of the story.

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