Shakespeare’s Brilliant Use of Symbolism

3556 Words15 Pages
“To be or not to be - that is the question” (Kittredge, 993). This is one of William Shakespeare’s best known and used quotes. Many who use it do not even know what piece it is taken from, or what exactly it means. It just sounds like a cool, tragic, Shakespearean quote to use to sound more intelligent. And that is the sad truth. Shakespeare’s works are filled with quotes, soliloquies, and experts, like this one, that are filled with innuendos, imagery, word choice, etc. One very important literary technique used by Shakespeare, in all of his works, is his symbolism, which portrayed Shakespeare’s life, time period, and messages he wished to get across to his audience. He also used his symbolism to satirize whomever he wished. Shakespeare’s…show more content…
(Act III, Scene I, ll 56-69).
Hamlet’s uncertainty of death is felt throughout this entire soliloquy. Later in it he says, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover’d country from whose bourn No traveler returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? (Act II, Scene I, ll 78-82).
In this expert the traveler and the undiscovered country symbolizes someone traveling in death onto the unknown after life. This entire soliloquy symbolizes Hamlet’s uncertainties of death. One other example of symbolism that is used in Hamlet is a serpent. The serpent, which Hamlet’s father’s ghost refers his uncle to, represents the evil and deceit that the uncle used to get the crown. A serpent, many times in literature, represents something that is secretive, evil, and tempting, just as Lucifer, in the form of a serpent was in the garden of Eden. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made” (Genesis 3:1). The ghost of Hamlet’s father says of his uncle, ‘Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark Is by a forged process of my death Rankly abus’d. But know, thou noble youth, The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown. (Act I, Scene V, ll 35-39).
And just as the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, Hamlet’s uncle tempted his mother and
Get Access