Analysis of Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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Analysis of Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The play begins on the outer ramparts of Elsinore castle. It is late and Francisco, a guard, is on duty waiting for Bernardo to relieve him from his watch. Francisco is nervous because the previous two nights he and Bernardo have seen a figure who appears to be the ghost of the recently deceased king wandering around.

Bernardo approaches, accompanied by Horatio (Hamlet's only friend and confident). Even though Horatio dismisses the idea of a ghost, the guards start to retell the previous nights' encounters. As the guards begin, the ghost appears before them- much to Horatio's surprise.

The guards urge Horatio to speak with the ghost. Because Horatio is a student, they feel he should be able to communicate with the ghost, and their previous attempts to talk with it have failed. Horatio's attempts also fail. The scene ends with Horatio stating that he will go and inform his friend Hamlet of these incredible events.Text: Act I, Scene i

Act I, Scene ii:

This scene opens in contrast to the first scene. The first scene takes place on the dark, cold isolated ramparts; this scene begins in a brightly lit court, with the new king, Claudius, celebrating his recent wedding to his new wife, Gertrude.

Everyone in the court appears happy and joyful, except one character who is sitting off to the side. He is dressed in black, the colour of mourning, and does not like what he sees. The lone figure is Hamlet, the main character of the play. He is wearing black because it has been only two months since his father, Hamlet senior the ghost on the battlements, died and he still is mourning his father's death.

To further upset Hamlet, Claudius' new bride is Hamlet's mother, Gertrude. Hamlet is upset because his mother married Claudius so soon after becoming a widow. To add to all the injustices Hamlet is feeling at this time, Claudius is also related to Hamlet. Hamlet's uncle is now his step-father and Gertrude's brother-in-law is now her husband.

Claudius conducts several pieces of business during the beginning of this scene. He first tries to take measures to prevent a war with Norway, then discusses Laertes' request to leave court and go back to school. Claudius agrees with Polonius, Laertes' father, that Laertes' plan of going back to school is a good one. He gives Laertes permission to go.

This familial scene brings Claudius' mind to Hamlet.
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