Sub-plots in Hamlet

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Sub-plots in Hamlet There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras, and the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia. These three sub-plots are crucial to making Hamlet the master piece that it is. In the times that Shakespeare lived ghosts were a readily accepted idea, but one had to be wary of them because it was difficult to decipher a good ghost from a bad one. Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend, first brings that question into our mind when the Ghost is asking Hamlet to follow it. Horatio warned: What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord, Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff That beetles o’er his base into the sea, And there assume some other horrible form Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason And draw you into madness? Think of it. (68) Hamlet disregarded Horatio’s warnings, followed the Ghost of his father, and heard of the murder that took place. This is where he learned of his quest to revenge his father, the main plot of the play. But Hamlet still wasn’t sure of the validity of the Ghost, so he decided to put the Ghost’s accusations to a test. "There is a play tonight before the King: One scene of it comes near the circumstance Which I have told thee of my father’s death. . . Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt Does not itself unkennel in one speech, It is a damned ghost that we have seen" (156). By having a group of play... ... middle of paper ... ...For many authors, to take so much as a word out of their work it is destroying it. For plays though, it is meant for words to be changed and added, but not for whole plots and sub-plots. To take out such a big section of a play is disastrous because it leaves the reader and audience with unanswered questions. The sub-plots add to the plot complexity, let the audiences become more involved, and let them all leave feeling that they had seen some characteristic of themselves in the play. This is what makes a play great, and makes the audience want to see it over and over again. Even a seemingly needless character can relate to someone. The more sub-plots (ones that are well worked into the play) the more people that can relate, the better the play. Works Cited Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Durband, Alan, ed. and modern translation. Hutchinson & Co.: London. 1986.

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