The Dramatic Significance of Act 3 Scene 4 in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The Dramatic Significance of Act 3 Scene 4 in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Hamlet is known to be the most popular play written by Shakespeare. It

is also, by a significant margin, the longest of Shakespeare's plays.

It has been translated to many languages and has become the subject of

excited and critical debate more than any other work of literature.

The play was written around 1602 or 1603 at a period of time when

Elizabethan London was a melting pot of unprecedented intellectual and

artistic ferment. In Elizabethan England the conviction that

retaliation for murder was solely the prerogative of the state and its

legal institutions clashed with an irrational but powerful feeling

that private individuals cannot be blamed for taking vengeance into

their own hands, for ensuring that the punishment truly answers the

crime. This response, arguably always lateen in criminal cases, was

likely to become especially forceful when, as sometimes happens, the

law proved impotent or else too corrupt to pass sentence. As Bacon

conceded, 'the most tolerable sort of revenge is for those wrongs

which there is no law to punish; else a man's enemy is still before

hand, and it is two for one'. Reasoning of this kind presumably gave

the 1584 Bond of Association what shaky justification it had. It was

also likely to generate clandestine sympathy for avengers who found

themselves in the position of Shakespeare's Hamlet: unable to obtain

legal justice for the premeditated killing of a parent, sibling, or

child because of lack of circumstantial evidence and/or of a court

prepared to deal with the culprit.

For Shakespeare at the turn of the century, wh...

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... complexity of Hamlet's character and the addition

of characteristics also make this scene important. The complexity of

his character is what makes him interesting and this also allows the

audience to relate to him. The mother-son conflict and rejoining also

seasons the play as this makes the scene a very important climax of

the play. Shakespeare's use of language adds variety to the play and

also keeps Hamlet's description of his words as daggers to one's heart

true. In more simpler terms, Hamlet would have been a big failure if

Act 3 Scene 4 was omitted. Prince Hamlet would not have been so

complex without this scene and so he would not be as interesting as he

would be now. This is probably why Shakespeare's play still challenges

the test of time making him one of the most famous playwrights ever

recorded in history.

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