The Irony in Hamlet
In the book Hamlet by Shakespeare, irony is used numerous times in order to give the reader insight on what is going on. As stated in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, irony is an action that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play. If this strategy were not included in this drama, it would take away the whole purpose. This play would consist of no suspense and would be extremely boring to the reader because the characters would know as much as the readers know. This allows for incite to what can happen in the future or what has happened in the past. The irony in this play ultimately revolves around Hamlet and his plan to achieve revenge with Claudius. From the play that Hamlet organizes about the death of his father to the ending where Fortinbras happened to be at the right place at the right time to take over the throne in Denmark; this paper examines the cases in where irony is used to show how Hamlet is preventing his murderer uncle from getting away with his fathers death.
Claudius and Hamlet exchange lots of verbal irony. There is two-facedness going on and its very ironic when they says one thing but mean another. For example, in act 1 scene 2 Claudius says “Through yet of Hamlet our dear brothers death… Together with remembrance of ourselves.” The king is mourning over the death of the former king. However this is ironic since he killed him only two months ago. Furthermore, in this scene Claudius asks hamlet “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” and Hamlet responds by saying “I am too much i’ the sun.” These play on words really mean he is much of a “son” and is suffering grief of his father’s death. Both Claudius and Gertrude are unaware of this pun leaving th...
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...here are no longer any successors to the throne, and therefore he “claim my vantage doth invite me.” (Act 5, Scene 2, Line 412). He was at the right place at the right time. This situation is tragic because throughout the novel the irony makes Hamlet look like the protagonist. The reader wants him to succeed with the killing of Claudius and regaining his throne. But as everything occurs Hamlet was killed by the poisoned-tipped sword of Laertes and was not able to become King. It is tragic that things do not turn out as expected, leaving Fortinbras able to exploit the chance to crown himself as the King of Denmark.
The irony used in Hamlet is used to create suspense and character development of characters relationships. This can be seen through the animosity between Hamlet and Claudius’ relationship and eventually the rise of Fortinbras, the new king of Denmark.
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Although the play Hamlet is largely centered around the “tragic hero” Hamlet, it is the minor foil characters that gives us a deeper understanding of the text and a more conscious understanding of the internal struggles experienced by Hamlet. Each of these characters contrasts a specific aspect of Hamlet that would otherwise be overlooked. Horatio consolidates all of the desirable features that Hamlet wants to be into one person. Fortinbras, although in the exact same situation as Hamlet with his father dead and his uncle on the throne, is the complete opposite of Hamlet by choosing action over inaction. Finally, Ophelia personifies Hamlet’s innocence and the death of his innocence after the death of his father. Despite being opposites of each other, each of these characters bring a new outlook on the tragedy of Hamlet.
Arguably William Shakespeare’s great tragedy, and perhaps his greatest work overall, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a gripping tale of betrayal, insanity, and grim horror that captures the imagination of the reader. This tragic play centers around the titular character, Hamlet, and his quest to kill his Uncle, Claudius. Although it sounds to the common ear to be merely a story of revenge, the play contains vivid characters that bring the play to shocking light for the reader or the viewer. Controversy is common in discussion of Hamlet due to the choices of the main character to reject his love, spare his traitorous uncle for a brief moment in the pursuit of a ruthless revenge, and the accidental killing of an innocent man, having mistaken him for the aforementioned uncle. These actions can be seen as mere plot devices, or sloppy writing on behalf of Shakespeare. They can also be seen as the literary genius that enriches Hamlet, depending on the point-of-view of the reader or the viewer. This essay will be an examination of the idea that, while these actions may not be genius, and they are in-fact simple plot devices, the actions taken by Hamlet in this play are deliberate, as the author intended them. Hamlet’s actions during this play, sparing his uncle and banishing his love, and also killing an innocent man, are a masterful portrayal of justified retribution turning into hate-driven revenge and its consequences.
William Shakespeare, the author of Romeo and Juliet used irony very well. Juliet wants to be with her new secret husband, where as many have told her she has to marry. She does not want to do so, she and the Friar decide that she will fake her death and send a letter to her husband, Romeo, to tell him to get her away from Verona, Italy. Ironically, Romeo does not get this letter and thinks that she really is dead. He then kills himself to be with her. When Juliet awakes from the forged demise, she establishes that Romeo is dead and ironica...
“Have more than you show, speak more than you know”, a quote from King Lear, written by the great man himself William Shakespeare, explaining how you may have lots but show little and you may not know a lot of things, but put forth that you do. Such as in Hamlet, the entire play is themed around dramatic irony and how you show more but the characters know less. This affects everyone in the play, and directly coincides with the madness of Hamlet. From Act 5 Scene 2 the quote “Let four captains/Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,/For he was likely, had he been put on,/To have prov’d most royal; and for his passage,/The soldiers music and the rite of war/ Speak loudly for him./Take up the bodies. Such a sight at this/Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. /Go, bid the soldiers shoot” has a direct impact on the context
Revenge has caused the downfall of many a person. Its consuming nature causes one to act recklessly through anger rather than reason. Revenge is an emotion easily rationalized; one turn deserves another. However, this is a very dangerous theory to live by. Throughout Hamlet, revenge is a dominant theme. Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet all seek to avenge the deaths of their fathers. But in so doing, all three rely more on emotion than thought, and take a very big gamble, a gamble which eventually leads to the downfall and death of all but one of them. King Fortinbras was slain by King Hamlet in a sword battle. This entitled King Hamlet to the land that was possessed by Fortinbras because it was written in a seal'd compact. "…our valiant Hamlet-for so this side of our known world esteem'd him-did slay this Fortinbras." Young Fortinbras was enraged by his father’s murder and sought revenge against Denmark. He wanted to reclaim the land that had been lost to Denmark when his father was killed. "…Now sir, young Fortinbras…as it doth well appear unto our state-but to recover of us, by strong hand and terms compulsative, those foresaid lands so by his father lost…" Claudius becomes aware of Fortinbras’ plans, and in an evasive move, sends a message to the new King of Norway, Fortinbras’ uncle.
Throughout history, from ancient Rome to the present day, comedy has always been used in all forms of entertainment to instill the audience with feelings of pleasure and joy. Shakespeare’s use of comedy in the play Hamlet, has been analyzed in many different ways. Some believe that comedic themes in Hamlet, such as him developing a cynical attitude towards other after the passing of his father, are the real meaning of the comedy in this play. Although people may interpret that theme, the true purpose of comedy is to deflate scenes of high tension following a serious moment in the story, its simply for the comic relief of the audience. Every tragic event that is occurring or upcoming, Shakespeare incorporates comicality to release the build
Hamlet, after learning that his father's death was a murder and vowing to take revenge, wants to be certain that what he has been told is the absolute truth before he attempts to take revenge on Claudius. Even after Hamlet is sure beyond any shadow of a doubt that Claudius is the murderer, he hesitates to kill him. Fortinbras, on the other hand, has been taking action even before the play begins. As the play opens, the audience learns that Denmark is in a state of alert; the country has been preparing for a war. From Horatio, the audience also learns that the young Fortinbras is getting ready his "lawless resolutes"(I.i.111) for action against Denmark for the killing of his father and for the return of lands previously owned by Norway (I. i. 79-107). These differences between Hamlet and Fortinbras' actions are further mentioned in Hamlet's last soliloquy (IV. iv. 32-66).
Hamlet is self centered and irrational throughout most of the play. He goes through various stages of suicidal thoughts that all revolve around a multitude of selfish reasons because he can not deal with his problems. His outbursts, mood swings, and constantly changing character have led to a multitude of reasons for his decisions to not kill himself. Think of this, it is much easier to die for a cause than to live for a cause, and yet all Hamlet wants to do is take the easy way out. There are three major soliloquies that Hamlet has that prove as major turning points of his emotions. Hamlet’s suicidal thoughts ring loud and clear for most of the play, however they do change constantly and play key pieces that provide well written and thought provoking soliques.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a tragic story about two lovers who are from two disputing families, and their eventual suicides. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony throughout the play to create tension for the audience and foreshadow the ending. Dramatic irony is when the words or actions of characters in a story have a different meaning to the reader than to the characters. This is because the reader knows something that the characters do not. Romeo and Juliet’s death could have been prevented if the characters in the story weren’t so ignorant of their situations, and often times the reader recognizes this.
Juxtaposition is a device that is often used to enhance and relate certain aspects of a writing piece. William Shakespeare uses this device in his plays to emphasize characteristics, themes and even scenes. He does this so that the elements that are being highlighted show major significance throughout the tragedy. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet juxtaposition is evident in the circumstances of the characters as well as their morals. Characters in the play that are juxtaposed against each other are Hamlet with Laertes, Hamlet again with Fortinbras and Ophelia with Gertrude. Overall they are parallel to each other and are considered foil characters due to their similarities and even differences.
The theme of revenge is expanded and created by the ghost of King Hamlet because not only does he instruct others to seek revenge but he has such a powerful reach that characters, mainly Prince Hamlet, become driven by this want for revenge. Prince Hamlet shows his eagerness for revenge by saying that “Hast me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift / As meditation or the thoughts of love, / May sweep to my revenge” (34). As the text progresses the message or theme of revengeance fully surfaces when those who are driven by revenge, Laertes and Prince Hamlet, lure themselves to their own demise and this showcases the evil in chasing revenge. In addition, Shakespeare not only uses the theme of revenge but also uses the almost opposite theme of patience to show what mankind “should be and what not to be”. The following shows the outcome of Fortinbras’s patience, “I have some rights of memory in this kingdom, / Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me” (177). In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the ghost of King Hamlet as a representation and establisher of the theme of revenge and by the end of the tragedy shows how the characters, Prince Hamlet and Laertes, who followed this path lead themselves to their deaths; however, Shakespeare uses Fortinbras to represent the theme of patience and how not seeking revenge or acting upon impulses, like Hamlet and Laertes, led him to the throne of Denmark. Moreover, even though the King Hamlet’s ghost appears in the text for a limited time he plays a significant role in the development of other
In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the theme of revenge is very palpable as the reader examines the characters of Hamlet himself, as well as Laertes, son of Polonius, and Fortinbras, prince of Norway and son of the late King Fortinbras. Each of these young characters felt the need to avenge the deaths of their fathers who they felt were untimely killed at the bloody hands of their murderers. However, the way each chose to go about this varies greatly and gives insight into their characters and how they progress throughout the play.
Sarcasm is used in the play “Hamlet” to enlighten the story. It can help with the mood of the characters and helps to convey their feelings. One of most memorable quotes of sarcasm from act 1 was said by Hamlet, “The funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (1.2 .180-181). Hamlet is clearly upset about his mother’s marriage to his uncle and he is being blunt about how quickly the marriage was arranged after his father’s death. In this moment there is a glimpse of the mental illness that was present in Hamlet’s psyche. Hamlet used sarcasm to explain his feelings towards the death and marriage. It contributes to the sassiness and conveys his annoyance towards the situation. “A little month, or ere those shoes were old with which she followed my poor father’s body.”(1.2.147-148) His animosity towards his mother shows through when he describes how his she had not broken in her shoes for the funeral by the time the wedding occurred. Hamlet shows anger towards his uncle as well when he describes his actions. “As he guzzles down his German wine, the musicians make a ruckus to celebrate his draining another cup” (1.4.11-13). Obviously Hamlet does not approve of his uncle’s behavior as king. He sees flaws in everything Claudius does and seeks to annoy him. The message behind his d...
In Hamlet's first few lines of the play he expresses his deepest feelings through his wit. Hamlet's sarcastic conversation with Claudius and Gertrude lets the reader know that he is extremely unpleased with the relationship between his uncle and mother. Specifically, when Claudius refers to Hamlet as his "son," Hamlet uses the word "sun" in such a way that Claudius can also interpret the word "sun" as the word "son," which would imply that Hamlet was glad to be the newly adopted son of Claudius. Hamlet is obviously being sarcastic, because Hamlet resents Claudius for marrying his mother and referring to him as his "son"(1.2.62-67). Hamlet has barely spoken his first few lines of the play and Shakespeare is already showing the witty side of Hamlet's personality. This speaks for how important Hamlet's wit is to the understanding of Hamlet's character. Shakespeare uses Hamlet's sarcastic remarks to portray Hamlet as cunning and to foreshadow how Hamlet will most likely deal with any problems that may arise later in the play.