Ambivalence and Death in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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In act IV, scene III, Shakespeare addresses the play’s themes and messages; those being ambivalence and how people are one and the same in the end of life. Hamlet speaks in an eccentric riddle form but there are underlying messages communicated through Hamlet’s craziness and Claudius’ confusion. The ideas are conversed through Claudius and Hamlet and convey the morals of the drama, Hamlet. Shakespeare also takes the liberty in this section to show how diverse and opposite the characters of Claudius and Hamlet are by differentiating their literary devices. Although Hamlet and Claudius are related to one another by the law and by both of their needs to achieve self-fulfillment; In act IV, scene III, it is clearly conveyed how the two principal characters vary from each other by creating such a vivid foil. Shakespeare portrays this by having Hamlet speaking in elongated riddle, such as; “But if, indeed, you find him not within this month you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.” (39-41), or “Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a / certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at / him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we / fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves / for maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is / but variable service, two dishes, but to one table: / that's the end.” (23-28) Hamlet’s riddles were using oddly matched words and phrasing and not giving the audience a clear view of what exactly he was talking about. In order to give the distinction between the characters of Hamlet and Claudius, Shakespeare writes Claudius’ dialogue in short and choppy phrases. Notice how “So is it, if thou knew’st our purposes.” (55) Or “Alas Alas” (29), is incredibly d... ... middle of paper ... so he could overthrow the task of killing Claudius. Shakespeare may be trying to tell us that no matter what we amount to in life- it will result in the aftermath of amounting to nothing. Though it seems that this passage of Hamlet is all a bunch of mumbled riddles thrown together, it is one of the highest theme concentrated areas of Hamlet. Shakespeare focused on having the audience coming to a realization of what the drama Hamlet was all about throughout these few lines. Going through the details of these lines gives everyone a better feel for what Shakespeare intended- but does it truly matter? Because everyone knows that this paper may end up in the landfill to be eaten by worms, only to be dug up by a fisherman to be food for the fish which could possibly be somebody’s dinner or pet. I never realized Shakespeare would lead to so many possibilities!

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