Hamlet Essay Holly Silm

1491 WordsApr 1, 20156 Pages
Hamlet Essay Holly Silm ‘Explore how time and place are used in Shakespeare’s Hamlet to shape the audience’s understanding of corruption’ The attribution of universality to a particular text is a prerogative of literary criticism that is fraught with the responsibility of contriving reconciliatory persuasions in preservation of the fundamental textual integrity of that text. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet has inspired diverse interpretations regarding its authorial preoccupations, structure and language choices, peculiar to the ideological, historical and cultural lenses of its commentators. The consequent reception and significance assigned to this text over the centuries simultaneously betrays the polyspersectivity of critical…show more content…
Shakespeare reflects the wider tensions of his own context regarding the conflict between filial duty and Christian morality in the execution of vengeance to shape the responder’s perception of the fraudulence required to commit murder. Shakespeare develops the conventions of the revenge tragedy to reflect his society’s changing code of honor, from the medieval duty of revenge to a value of individual conscience revived by the Protestant Reformation. The question of Christian morality reveals itself in Claudius’ prayer as he shows genuine remorse for his act of murder: ‘It hath the primal eldest course upon’t/ A brother’s murder.’ This allusion to Caine and Abel emphasises the sin of killing one’s ‘kin’, encouraging the audience to question Hamlet’s justification for vengeance as a filial duty to his father and the state, (what he believed) to restore stability to his own context. Hamlet’s driving sense of filial duty is reinforced, as he believes ‘the villain kills my father, and for that/I his sole son do this same villain send/to heaven’. The parallel of ‘son’ and ‘father’ conveys this, while the repetition of ‘villain’ is an unconscious attempt to justify his intent. However, Hamlet’s dilemma between filial love and Christian

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