Essay on William Shakespeare 's ' Hamlet '

Essay on William Shakespeare 's ' Hamlet '

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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 period and still resonates within today’s social fabric. “Hamlet” focuses upon the heir of the Denmark monarchy, who faces the assassination of . Shakespeare utilises the setting of the king’s castle in relation to the idea of corruption emphasising the unsettling impact of a monarch acquiring the position of the throne through dubious conditions.Shakespeare informs our understanding of this connection through the personification of Claudius “the serpent that did sting.” Foreshadowing disease imagery demonstrates this most clearly; “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” is both interpreted as the threat of war, but also Claudius’ corruption that affects the ‘health’ of the kingdom. Moreover, the vivid imagery “Blister on the fair forehead of an innocent love,” further exemplifies Hamlet’s disenchantment with Gertrude’s “o’er hasty marriage” to Claudius. “The unweeded garden that grow to seed, things rank and gross in nature,” as a biblical allusion provides a metaphorical image of corrup...


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...h 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 condition.

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