William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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William Shakespeare's Hamlet

When first introduced to Hamlet he is a character full of pain and confusion, still mourning his father’s death, ‘But two months dead-nay, not so much, not two’.[1] The punctuation here highlights Hamlet’s anguish. Significantly, Hamlet is already portrayed as a misfit, as no one else within the court but Hamlet is wearing mourning clothes; in Shakespeare’s time it would have been worn for at least a year following the death of a king. This gives an immediate and striking indication of the character’s isolation, his alienation and the power Claudius has already obtained within the court.

The rhythm of Hamlet’s words in first soliloquy ‘How weary, stale, flat
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Hamlet is tormented by images of Gertrude's tender affections toward his father, believing it was pretense to satisfy her own lust and greed. Hamlet dismisses Gertrude's initial grief over the loss of her husband. She cried ‘unrighteous tears’[5]. Hamlet’s disgust at his mother is revealed in the imagery and sibilance of his words. Evidence of this is ‘Oh most wicked speed! To post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets’[6]. This is significant, as it highlights how impossible he finds it to come to terms with the incestuous relationship between his uncle and mother and the haste of the marriage and this continues to play upon his mind throughout the play. The Elizabethan audience would see the incestuous marriage as an emblem of the corruption at the heart of the Danish court. The hastiness of the marriage is an indication of the masterful political mind of Claudius at work, as a quick marriage makes it easier for him to take over the throne. Equally, however, today’s society would also be disturbed by the incestuous undertones of the relationship.

His father had been ‘so loving’[7] and gentle to his mother and she had seemed to return his affection, ‘would hang on him as if increase of appetite’ as if the more she was with him the more she wanted him. In my reading I have observed that

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