Premium Essay

A Literary Essay of Hamlet

In: English and Literature

Submitted By zv16
Words 865
Pages 4
Zach Van Der Paelt Van Der Paelt 1
Mr. Hughes
ENG4U-01
20 July 2010

Shakespearian Literatures Effect on a Modern Audience

Throughout the Folger Library edition of Hamlet written by William Shakespeare and edited by Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar there is an obvious relationship between the dramatic works and their target audience. A good example of this relationship can be found in a speech given by King Claudius in act IV scene V from lines seventy seven to ninety seven. In this speech Claudius is attempting to gain the sympathy of the audience. However it has the opposite effect with a modern day audience due to current social, cultural, and economical perspectives. This effect is clearly demonstrated by the following three points.

During his speech King Claudius twists and forms the words in an attempt to distance himself from any wrong doing. When giving his speech Claudius states, “Next, your son gone, and he most violent author of his own just remove.” (Hamlet IV.IV. 107) referring to Hamlet being taken from Queen Gertrude. These words would suggest that Hamlet was taken away solely due to his own actions and that he deserved this punishment. When in fact Claudius had banished Hamlet to England where he was to be killed by the King of England. The audience is fully aware that Claudius was behind the removal of Hamlet his choice of words portray him as a liar to the audience. In todays
Van Der Paelt 2 society lying is frowned upon. People deem those who lie as untrustworthy and associate other negative behaviors to them. Modern social views do not support the deceitful lies that Claudius is feeding the audience. His attempt at distancing himself from Hamlet’s removal by lying actually has the reverse effect, increasing the audience’s distrust of King Claudius.

Within his speech Claudius again tries to deflect…...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Hamlet Literary Essay

...Hamlet: Literary Essay NAME: _______________________________ As part of this unit’s summative, you will be required to write a literary essay on an element related to Hamlet. Here are some points you will need to consider and be aware of:     • Your essay will be 5 paragraphs (typed, 12 point font, double‐spaced) • Your essay MUST include specific and direct proof from the play Hamlet • Your essay will focus on ONE of the following topics • Your essay must be proofread and free from grammatical errors • Your essay must follow MLA citations and include a Works Cited list • Follow the guidelines and requirements, as stated in the rubric • Submit a rough copy, polished copy, and rubric on _________________________________________________________ SAMPLE TOPICS: 1. Describe and explain the ways in which Laertes is a foil to Hamlet’s character. 2. Was Hamlet truly mad, or did he fake his madness? Explain fully. 3. Describe and explain the roles played by Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and the gravediggers. Explain the purpose each one of these characters serves in the play, and explain whether or not their roles are vital in the play. 4. Describe and explain the treatment of the female characters in Hamlet. Do these women “get what they deserve”? Explain, using specific details from the text to support your arguments. 5. “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.” Defend or refute this statement, using specific details to ...

Words: 453 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Hamlet Essay

...Ms. Masciantonio AP English Literature 23 February 2012 Hamlet Analysis Essay “It’s is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane”. (Philip K Dick). Hamlet is always questioning himself about his father’s murder, his mother’s guilt and his life. His obsession causes his insanity. Hamlet is depressed, confused, and paranoid the traumatizing events on his life. Hamlet is depressed at his mother’s lustful behavior towards his uncle, so he’s taking his anger out on Ophelia. In doing so, Hamlet was saying mean things that made her feel bad about her especially when he told her “Get thee to a nunnery, why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me,” (3.1. 123-126). Hamlet shows a strange way of loving Ophelia because one minute he loves her the next minute he’s rude to her. These actions prove his instability. Normal people do not love someone one minute and curse her the next because that is just unrealistic. Lidz said, “Perhaps he seeks to hide the meaning of his embittered and melancholic behavior under the guise of being depressed over Ophelia’s withdrawal of her affection, but it seems a cruel and deceitful way to treat his beloved” (Lidz, Theodore). Hamlet is depressed because of Ophelia’s withdrawal even though he is just being manipulative to her. Hamlet is confused and disorientated. He considers killing......

Words: 697 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...great suffering, destruction, and distress. Arthur Miller's essay, 'Tragedy and the Common Man', contributes many different ideas on how he perceived tragedy. Trying to fulfil one's lives and personalities is usually how a tragic story happens. Hamlet tries to get revenge on Claudius when he find out what really happened to his father, starting his tragic story. He feels betrayed and is working hard to get his rightful position back. There is always the possibility that Hamlet is going to succeed in his mission. Tragedy is something that happens to everyone that is trying to fulfill themselves as a person, someone that is on a mission to get what they want. Hamlet starts with the plan of trying to get revenge on Claudius when he find out what the complete truth of what happened to his father. This is explained when he says, "As meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge." (Act 1, Scene 5, lines 30-31). He is a tragic hero, in which he goes on this mission of trying to get revenge for himself and his father, and ultimately succeeds, but then dies. He had a plan throughout the play, had many chances to fulfil the plan, but never went through with it. In Arthur Miller's essay, this is explained when he says "The tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing--his sense of personal dignity." (Miller, pg 1). Hamlet was doing all of this just for his father and for......

Words: 1088 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Hamlet Literary Devices

...William Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Hamlet is a magnificent piece of literature that is teeming with numerous themes. The most prominent theme brought out in this play is that revenge can consume every part of one’s life. William Shakespeare develops this theme through the use of foreshadowing. The mood that is set from the very beginning of the play prepares the reader for the obvious evils that the act of vengeance can lead to. The play is set in Denmark and is centered on Prince Hamlet’s revenge that he seeks for the death of his father by the hand of his uncle, Claudius. Claudius killed his brother in order to gain the throne and marry Gertrude, his brother’s wife. All seems to be in favor of the deceptive pair until one night when Hamlet’s father’s ghost appears to his good friend Horatio and two castle guards, who promptly tell Hamlet. Not believing them, Hamlet waits one night on the rampart of Elsinore Castle to see for himself. He is convinced when the apparition appears and speaks to Hamlet. His father tells him of the injustice that has befallen the family and tells Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (I.v.25). He wants Hamlet to destroy the man who had him murdered and who married his widow. Hamlet wants to know of every detail of the crime and tells the spirit “Haste me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love, / May sweep to my revenge” (I.v.25-31). Hamlet promises to devote himself to this......

Words: 1011 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...revengeful and ambitious. The one thing all scholars unanimously agree upon is that Hamlet is a multi-faceted individual who is, while noble, also arrogant, revengeful and ambitious. This is the dilemma that Rosenberg (1992) feels lies behind the drama and puzzle of Hamlet which in turn makes choosing a character that can adequately play Hamlet’s role very difficult: “There have been gentle Hamlets, fierce hamlets, intellectual Hamlets, passionate hamlets, sophisticated Hamlets, naïve Hamlets, melancholy Hamlets; spirited Hamlets, and more” (Rosenberg,1992) each trying to capture and create the perfect Hamlet. Not only must actors adapt Hamlet’s character to their own, and, therefore, the individual perceives Hamlet according to his own image, but the actors themselves have a difficult time interpreting the intent of Hamlet’s actions. Rosenberg (1992) observes that “in every single scene in which Hamlet appears… choices must be made.” Why, for instance, did Hamlet withdraw from killing Claudius in the prayer scene; why do his objectives shift from returning at once to Wittenberg? The diversity of Hamlets character affects his ability to properly rule his country. He needs to not be so focused on his personal life. Hamlet is a very multi-faceted person who is noble but is too proud, revengeful and ambitious. Thus it is his downfall and prolongs his countries turmoil. Different authors have portrayed Hamlet in different ways. Goethe has portrayed him as too delicate for......

Words: 1394 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Hamlet Cause and Effect Essay

...Effect Essay – Elizabethan Target Audience “Always mystify, torture, mislead, and surprise the audience as much as possible (Roff).” Hamlet is a dramatic production written by William Shakespeare. “The play, set in the Kingdom of Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius for murdering the old King Hamlet, Claudius's own brother and Prince Hamlet's father, and then succeeding to the throne and marrying Gertrude, the King Hamlet's widow and mother of Prince Hamlet ("Hamlet”).” Shakespeare’s main objective was to impress his Elizabethan audience because entertainment through theater was extremely important to everyone in the era ("Elizabethan Theater"). Shakespeare successfully captivated an Elizabethan audience with this production (“Hamlet”). This essay will explain how an Elizabethan audience was targeted by Hamlet’s final monologue (act 4, lines 32-66). This speech effectively targeted and engaged an Elizabethan audience because its format, mentions of revenge and exciting nature caused the audience to sympathise with Hamlet’s decisions and feelings, and become enthusiastic and involved in the play. The format of this speech is a key factor which explains why the Elizabethan audience is effectively targeted. This speech is written and delivered in the form of a soliloquy. This means that it is an “uninterrupted speech delivered by a single character to the audience but not to other characters” (Jaber Al-Ogaili 48). Soliloquies are a literary......

Words: 1719 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...fulfillment and endless enjoyment. Sometimes, however, peace and happiness does not last forever and comes hardships. These hardships are something that the characters in Hamlet have to deal with, and it is also something the audience can relate to. This way of life is very relevant in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, which covers the competency of love, hate and power struggles found within the characters which later leads to an unfortunate ending. Hamlet, the main character of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, is one of the most complex characters ever created. His intricacy can be seen in the amount of soliloquies he speaks throughout the play. Each one of Hamlet’s soliloquies reveals his innermost thoughts and gives the reader or audience insight as to what he is feeling at that time. The audience cannot help but to show some feeling towards the characters such as Hamlet, Fortinbras and King Claudius. All throughout the play, Shakespeare uses various characters to represent the social, economical, and cultural effects that are shown in Hamlet that may also correspond to the Elizabethan audience. Some characters that represent these effects include Hamlet, Fortinbras, Claudius, and Rosencrantz. It is through these characters’’ speeches and actions that really target the audience. The numerous soliloquy presented by Hamlet is one of the speeches in the play that captivates the audience. This is because the audience can relate to it, and they can anticipate what's to come and......

Words: 2124 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...Stephanie Crisostomo December 16, 2010 ENC1102 Final Exam Part IV Hamlet is considered a classic example of a tragedy. The primary reason it is considered a tragedy is because he dies in the end and is unable to see the full outcome of his actions. However, the reason for his death was his tragic flaw of error in judgment. According to Aristotle a tragic hero must have certain characteristics that make him a tragic hero. For example the definition of a tragic hero is, “A character of noble stature and has greatness. They must occupy a high status position but must also embody nobility and virtue as part of his innate character.” (Litonline) This is exactly the type of person that hamlet portrays to be. Another characteristic of a tragic hero that Hamlet has is his downfall that is his own fault. This is a result of his free choice, which in fact was triggered by some error of judgment or some character flaw that contributed to his lack of perfection. Although Hamlet is depicted as being predominantly great, it is clearly evident at the end that he is not perfect. Although his fall is considered tragic because it resulted in death, his fall is not pure loss. Since there was some increase in awareness, gain in self-knowledge, and discovery on his part, his reason for doing what he did was not a waste of time because it had meaning that other people were able to learn from his errors. Although Hamlet arouses solemn emotion because of his death, tragedy is not meant......

Words: 443 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...Noor Bhatti Mr. Frank English 12 AP 05 March 2014 The Ghost in Kenneth Brannagh’s Hamlet: A Masterpiece William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy known for its drama and portrayal of its characters. For many decades, the play has undergone different interpretations as well as criticisms. An important factor of the play that has gone through this criticism is the character of the ghost who appears to be Hamlet’s dead father. After the first encounter between Hamlet and his “father”, it seems apparent that the ghost is in fact Old Hamlet, returning to Earth to have his son avenge his treacherous murder. In spite of this encounter when looking more closely at the text, various signs appear to lead readers to see that the ghost is actually a demon. Joseph Addison in his essay, published in The Spectator 1711 states, “The Appearance of the Ghost in Hamlet is a Masterpiece in its kind…but every Time he enters he is still more terrifying” (Addison 2). Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 production of Hamlet vividly portrays these signs of malevolence, of this being originating from Hell. Baranagh brilliantly depicts the demon that Shakespeare wrote in the early 1600’s from Act I Scenes I and IV/V as well as Act III Scene IV in his movie. As the play begins the first mystery that the characters come across is the “ghost” that embodies their old King. Horatio, Hamlet’s old friend as well as a noble scholar approaches the ghost, commanding it, “By heaven I charge thee,......

Words: 1893 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...humorous play that is William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" is a story of complete lunacy. Prince Hamlets Uncle Claudius kills his father King Hamlet so he could have the throne. After becoming King, Claudius takes the opportunity to become Prince Hamlet's "Uncle Father" by marrying Queen Gertrude (Prince Hamlet’s mother, King Hamlet's easy, now ex-wife) in what seemed like a mere minute after King Hamlet's funeral. Prince Hamlet was told by the ghost of his father that Claudius was his murderer. Hamlet goes mad at the fact that not only was his mother now his "Aunt Mother", and his Uncle was now his "Uncle Father", his dead father appears from the dead telling him to avenge his murder that came at the hands of his now "Uncle Father" aka King Claudius. Hamlet is just as mad (only in love) with Ophelia, who is daughter of Polonius (King Hamlet's ex "right hand man"), whom Hamlet ends up killing during the story. Ophelia ends up killing herself because Hamlet makes her go insane. Hamlet is torn between how he should deal with all of the drama surrounding him. He sort of taunts Claudius with the fact that he knows what he's done to King Hamlet and tries to expose his guilt by directing a performance of how the murdered played out during a pageant. Claudius tries to have Hamlet killed during his return to studying abroad. Hamlet knows that Claudius tries to have him killed and outsmarts him completely. Upon returning from his schooling, Hamlet finds out that Ophelia drowned herself......

Words: 559 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...Actions always have consequences; an essay about Hamlets obsessions and passions In this essay, the main character Hamlet from the play “Hamlet” written by William Shakespeare will be analyzed to find out what consequences he had to deal with due to his obsessions and passions. In this play, Hamlet’s obsessions and passions represent who he is and what he stands for; moreover, his obsessions with seeking revenge on his father, religion, and love cause Hamlet to have to deal with many consequences due to his actions which leads to his death. One of the main themes in this play is revenge, and Hamlets biggest obsession in this play is seeking revenge on Claudius for his father’s death. Hamlets plot for revenge starts after he speaks to The Ghost a.k.a his father who tells him that his brother killed him (Claudius). The Ghost ““But know, thou noble youth. The serpent that did sting thy father’s life. Now wears his crown.” (Act 1 Scene 5, Line 38 – 40). After Hamlet hears this, he goes insanely mad and becomes extremely obsessed in getting revenge for what his uncle did to his father. This obsession that takes over his life causes him to lose his self-control which leads to his death and other mains characters deaths. During the Elizabethan Era, religion was something that people, as well as Hamlet took very serious. Religion effected a lot of Hamlets decisions, and in Act 3, Hamlet had to a chance to kill Claudius while he was praying but he didn’t because he......

Words: 555 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...Dolabaille ENG 4U Tuesday, July 17th, 2015. Hamlet William Shakespeare's longest play Hamlet is a late 16th century tragedy set in Denmark. It revolves around the son of a deceased king, Hamlet, of which the name of the play is coined. Hamlet is perturbed by the death of his father, and becomes vengeful upon learning the truth about his murder. This play takes a twist by involving the subplot romance between Hamlet and Ophelia, and the dangerous role their love plays in the death of majority of the characters. This play crosses the importance of many of the characters values, the problems ensued, and the consequences. In this essay I will argue that the audience's cultural, economic, and social values do affect their interpretation of the play by using the speech given by the gravedigger. "Her obsequies have been as far enlarged As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful, And, but that great command o'ersways the order, She should in ground unsanctified have lodged Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her. Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants, Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home Of bell and burial." (V, i, 200-208) Culturally, suicide is considered a sin or an act of blasphemy to a Christian. In Shakespeare's Hamlet the character Ophelia was thought to have committed suicide after the loss of her father, Polonius, and her love, Hamlet. She is denied a full Christian funeral......

Words: 685 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet experiences his mother’s remarriage to his uncle and Ophelia’s rejection which makes him feels very upset and angry about women. “Frailty, thy name is woman.”(1.2.146) This suggests that Hamlet thinks that all women in the world are weak and act in the same way. At the beginning of the play, Ophelia describes Hamlet’s love for her that Hamlet has a great affection on her and he has made the holiest vows to her. However, Polonius still asks Ophelia to leave Hamlet. Later in the play, Ophelia follows her father’s advice and rejects Hamlet’s love. Hamlet starts to treat Ophelia terribly. It brings to a question that whether Hamlet loves Ophelia or not. Hamlet is angry for Gertrude’s remarriage to Claudius because he loves and cares about his mother. It is the same for Ophelia. His mad and angry acts towards Ophelia show readers that he loves and cares about Ophelia because no one will be mad if he is betrayed by someone who is insignificant to him. The ways Hamlet talks and treat Gertrude are almost the same with the ways treats Ophelia. This shows Ophelia is as important as his mother. Hamlet is upset for his mother’s hasty remarriage and his thought of his mother worsen when the ghost tells him that Gertrude marries to a person who is the murderer of his father. He loves his mother so much that draws him to madness. He starts to treat his mother badly. “What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me? Help, help, ho!” (3.4.22-23) He is......

Words: 1060 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Literary Essay Hamlet

...and Guildenstern. The monologue earlier in the story paints the picture that Hamlet is still struggling with his thoughts of all the events that are happening and he is still unsure of what to do. He is adamant that murdering his uncle is against his character so he finds himself in a dilemma. Following the soliloquy in act 4, the Elizabethan audience is left with a favourable scenario. The lords would favor his philosophical thought process and the lower classes would favor the anticipation of bloody mess end of the act brings. The main reason for this is Hamlet’s soliloquy. This soliloquy serves as a continuation of the monologue to show the audience that Hamlet is getting over all that and is finally set on his mission. It also serves to show the audience how Hamlet came to those final decisions and gives the audience something to be excited for. As Hamlet approaches his destination England, he comes across Fortinbras marching with his army to Poland to fight a way for merely nothing. Hamlet in shock claims that man will fight and act so violently for something of little gain. This encounter reminds Hamlet of what he has to gain from his plan of murdering the king. Following this encounter is when Hamlet recites the soliloquy mentioned before. It is at this point that Hamlet realizes that his duty to his father to revenge his death is so great that the end will definitely justify the means. Hamlet begins to think this because he started to think about how Fortinbras and......

Words: 744 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hamlet Essay

...Hamlet Essay Nicole Schinke Truth is seen differently through different people, for example in Hamlet people appear as one way, where in reality they really aren't like that (Claudius), as well as others in the play who just hide behind a mask. They differentiate between what is a lie/ fake and what is the truth. Some people think that the truth hurts so they try and avoid it. Other people may think that the truth can set you free. The pursuit of truth is a challenging and satisfying affair. In this play, Hamlet is more looking for the pursuit of truth rather than revenge. He’s been looking for his father’s killer. He wants to know who killed his father just so he can act upon it and get revenge. He ends up finding out that the killer was his uncle who ended up marrying his mother. Truth can cause so much curiosity that can really make or break some people in life. Claudius is a big liar and coward in Hamlet, he is a master of deception. He shows that he is grieving and sad about his dead brother but in reality he is very dark and is the killer. We know since the beginning of the play that Hamlet does not like his uncle being married to his mother which is another reason to get rid of the king. The ghost of Sir Hamlet gives him a plan that seems like a great idea. “ The serpent that did sting thy father’s life/Now wear his crown” (1.5 39-40) This was still at the point where he didn't know the truth that Claudius did kill his father so he waited and didn't jump to the......

Words: 1016 - Pages: 5