Textual Integrity In Hamlet Essay

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Our personal response to William Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet’ (1603) is informed by our knowledge of the composer’s contextual and political milieu which aids to highlight aspects of the human condition which permeate not only Elizabethan England but also that within our modern context. Shakespeare utilises a variety of dramatic and language techniques, to delve deeply into elements of human nature, thus through the play’s textual integrity, Shakespeare is able to strike a chord with contemporary audiences as we too consider the perilous nature of human attributes such as deception, corruption, and mortality.

Corruption is central to the textual integrity of Hamlet, as it mirrors the political tension that took place during the Elizabethan
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In parallel, Hamlet analyses death as a destined part of life and thus, this existential questioning gives the play its literary value. This is most significant within Hamlet’s well known “To be or not to be” soliloquy, where Hamlet philosophises using metaphors, whether it is nobler to accept fate “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to fight fate “take arms against a sea of troubles,” or perhaps to fight fate by ending life “by opposing, end them.” Hamlet first sees death as more preferable to life, illustrated through the iambic line “For who would bear the whips and scorns of time” before listing problems that make life a burden, this however, is brought further by the metaphor “the undiscovered country/no traveller returns,” where Hamlet compels us to consider the uncertainty of death. Not only is it a philosophical and religious debate, what Hamlet is saying is a question that is fundamental to humanity. From Shakespeare’s use of soliloquy, we gain strong insight into Hamlet’s mind and personal dilemmas, allowing us, to understand his wrestle with his conscience. As we too emphasise with his dilemma of futile values and christian morality Stage directions are also used to emphasise black humour “he digs and sings,” drawing a contrast in the image of the gravedigger singing while at work “Has this fellow no feeling…?” it is…show more content…
In Act 1 Scene 2, Claudius seems a capable king, demonstrated by his eloquent language “Through yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death… to bear our hearts in grief,” indeed our initial reading of Claudius creates a visage of a man who is good for the country. However, the true essence of Claudius is revealed through juxtaposition “one auspicious eye and one dropping eye,” alluding to his dual personality. This is reinforced the paradox “one may smile and smile and be a villain.” As a result, Shakespeare is able to explore appearance vs reality, where many characters of Hamlet, put on facades for self-gain, echoing the ability for deception in humanity. Reflecting this, is Hamlet’s adoption of “antic disposition” which accentuates a feigning of madness in order to safely pursue his revenge “though this be madness, yet there is method in’t”. Thus, Shakespeare colours our understanding and promotes thinking about the capacity for deception in the human
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