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Hamlet Scene 1 Act 1

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HOW EFFECTIVE IS ACT I SCENE I AS THE OPENING TO THE TRAGEDY? Thomas Kyd is the author of the 16th Century play A Spanish Tragedy which was highly influential and introduced a new variant of tragedy that includes a ghost and a mad hero. Many subsequent works followed that developed Kyd's original idea into the sub-genre known as revenge tragedy. A piece of literature that falls under this genre is Shakespeare's Hamlet and in order to meet the specification to become an effective tragedy it is heavily based upon Aristotle's criteria used to measure tragedies and Ancient works of literature such as Virgil's Aenied. In Hamlet dialogue accomplishes a variety of things. It develops relationships but most importantly displays the hostility of the characters towards the "strange" and "gross" ghost. Shakespeare uses dialogue to describe the setting including the "cold" weather and the time so that a contemporary audience in an Elizabethan theatre would be able to imagine the scene. The description is able to evoke a mood and create and sinister atmosphere. ...read more.


I charge thee speak!" Despite all best efforts made by Horatio the ghost seems unable to communicate. This adds to the sense of terror as the ghost doesn't act human and pays no attention to any human interaction. The ghost's presence enforces a sombre atmosphere, allowing the seriousness of the play to develop. In the 1964 Russian film versioni of Hamlet, the ghost conjures both fear of the ghost and pity towards the other characters in the audience as the ghost is dressed in a full armour suit, has shadows concealing its face and identity which is disturbing to see and the scene is directed so that the ghost appears much larger than the other characters. The intensity of the scene is exaggerated by the dramatic music used to influence the atmosphere and the large and threatening appearance of castle in the background. Similarly the Westminster School productionii of Hamlet presents the ghost as being twice the size of other characters with its face glowing an unnatural green colour. The ghost was uplifted by the other characters who echoed the ghost's booming words. ...read more.


Shakespeare uses this word to visualize how the ghost lacerates or distresses the feelings of those witnessing his appearance. Marcellus questions whether he should "strike [the ghost] with [his] partisan" illustrating the premonitions of the ghost as being evil. Shakespeare uses violent imagery to convey a sense of terror in order to establish the opening scene of Hamlet as a tragedy. Francisco admits to being "sick at heart" which emphasizes the mood of the play and suggests the impact the ghost has had upon the characters. The characters describe the ghost as a "thing" and refer to the "illusion" in the singular neuter pronoun, "it", which is dehumanising and objectifying. This provides the ghost with a sense of mystery, but more importantly it reinforces the differences between the earthly matters and the supernatural element of the play. Shakespeare uses the main characters name as the title of the play to focus the audience's attention on the tragic hero. This is similar to Homer's Odyssey and Virgil's Aenied both of which are ancient epic poems feature aspects of tragedy such as death, tragic flaws and the supernatural divinities. ...read more.

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