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Explore the thoughts and feelings of Hamlet and Claudius in Act 2 Scene 1.

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Introduction

Explore the thoughts and feelings of Hamlet and Claudius in Act 2 Scene 1 To many people William Shakespeare's Hamlet is the most vivid and descriptive tragedy that he has ever written. In all classic tragedies the hero suffers, and usually dies at the end. Othello stabs himself, Romeo and Juliet commit suicide, and like them, Hamlet kills the traitor but also dies himself. The speeches of Claudius and Hamlet are one of the main features of the play that focus on their own personal feelings and the ways in which the audience react to them and their actions. Claudius makes his speech in the Great Hall of Elsinore Castle surrounded by his lords and associates. The purpose of his speech is to make everyone aware that he is King and he is now the new ruler of Denmark. He starts off by addressing the crowd by talking about his late brothers death. His use of 'our dear brother' makes it seem he was a close relative of the King and not one who had hatred towards him or indeed one that would kill him. Throughout the addressing he reflects back to his brother but then adds himself afterwards by ensuring everyone knows that he is now King. The use of the word 'our' is repeated frequently, 'our hearts...' 'our whole kingdom...' ...read more.

Middle

His mother has no empathy towards Hamlet and is not sympathetic to her sons' grief. He expects his mother to be in mourning as well but she shares her views with Claudius. His disbelief causes him to be angry towards her. Claudius tries to belittle Hamlets death and tells him he is next on line to the throne and to forget about his father and take him on as the fathering role. Claudius then brings round to the subject about not wanting Hamlet to go back to Wittenberg, 'we beseech you bend to remain'. He doesn't want Hamlet to leave his sight and wants him where he can keep an eye on him 'in the cheer and comfort of our eye'. He makes it seem he doesn't want him to go and that he is part of the family and that he should stay because of his mother, she to, thinks he should stay, 'I pray thee stay with us'. Hamlet replies to this, 'I shall in all my best obey you madam'. This is a slightly different connotation to that that have been used and it seems that Hamlet will only obey his mother and not Claudius. Claudius tries to end on a high note celebration, 'no jocund health that Denmark drinks today'. In his speech Claudius has managed to attain himself as the rightful monarch and allay any fears of people or subjects about the war with Norway and his future as King of Denmark. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is as if Hamlet cannot deal with or, indeed, stand the physical side of life anymore; he needs to get rid of his body to be able to deal with the inner conflict going on in his head. The poetry of these lines and the image that is expressed serve to reveal not only the tragic nature of his problem, also highlighted by his allusions to suicide, but also create a link between him and the audience. In fact, the entire soliloquy establishes a connection between the audience and Hamlet, a concept that is essential in the play. The structure of the piece also communicates the nature of Hamlet's thoughts as he is constantly changing subject, 'let me not think on't, frailty thy name is woman', and is doing so by using short, broken sentences. These help reveal and suggest the depth of Hamlet's thoughts; he has so much going in his head that he wants to commit suicide and is therefore trying to rationalise his feelings. This soliloquy shows the communication of the emotional state of Hamlet to the audience because it reveals the true nature of Hamlet's feelings not only through the diction itself but also through the imagery, language and underlying messages of the text. His true feelings contrast highly to that of Claudius's. Siobhan Maine ...read more.

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