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Hamlet - themes and speeches in Act lll

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Introduction

´╗┐ACT III 1. ACT III SCENE II lines 1 ? 36 ?Speak the speech? In this extract Hamlet discusses the difference between ?good? and ?bad? acting with the players, this can be seen as a cue from Shakespeare on his views of acting and theatre. Shakespeare uses a number of alliteration ?speak the speech...? and ?trippingly on the tongue...? to illustrate Hamlet?s instructions. 1. Hamlet?s soliloquy ?to be or not to be? Hamlet?s third soliloquy is established through the use an antithesis ?To be or not to be?; this rhetorical device contains a contrast of ideas which draws attention to the theme of moral legitimacy of suicide in an unbearable world, uncertainties that exist outside the realm of our understanding and Predetermination and Freewill. ?To be or not to be? also serves as a rhetorical question that reveals Hamlet?s internal conflict and turmoil. His internal struggles between Predetermination and Freewill is highlighted through the ?slings? and ?arrows? which constructs rhetorical images of instruments associated with war that relates capriciousness of fate suggested by the ?outrageous fortune?. ?To take arms? juxtaposes the idea ?to suffer? and is further continued with the use of ?opposing?, Shakespeare uses the proverb ?to take arms against the sea of troubles? to express hamlets futility, this metaphor is used to compare Hamlet?s ?troubles? to a vast and seemingly boundless sea. ?To die, to sleep? suggests the theme of mortality; the significance of this caesura slows the pace of the soliloquy and allows emphasis on the comparison of death and sleep. Here he devoutly denotes a meaning of "earnestness" rather than its more traditional religious association; this soliloquy, unlike Hamlet's first soliloquy, is heavily rationalised. A metonymy substitutes death for an endless sleep, emphasising Hamlet?s attitude towards death. Death is used to escape the ?heart-ache and the thousand natural shock that flesh is heir to?, this quote evokes his belief that life is synonymous with suffering. ...read more.

Middle

This lends a new theme to the play for a modern interpretation, which sees Hamlet as a man struggling with his own mind, rather than as a vengeful loyal son. This interpretation is ultimately open to each individual reader/viewer, but to spectators brought up on modern values and education, this element of the plot could prove of more interest than it?s original intention, if you delve deeper than a tale of ghosts and revenge and find a man struggling to maintain his sanity in the wake of his father?s apparent murder. It is only one interpretation, but Hamlet as a psychological play would leave more leeway for audience engagement and sympathy in the 21st century than Hamlet as a bloody and murderous tale of ghosts and vengeance. Other interpretations would declare Hamlet to be as sane as any of the other characters and simply consumed with hatred and revenge, so it is this open-to-interpretation nature of the play which makes it such a universally popular play to both study and watch. Even for today?s modern audiences, Hamlet remains a shocking and graphic play. Of great historical importance (Hamlet is often cited as the most famous English play ever written) and with themes still considered controversial in the 21st century, there is no doubting that Hamlet is still of huge educational and cultural interest in this modern era. This is reflected in the successful transfers of the play onto modern stages, and into films and television. The fact that people still want to watch Shakespeare?s most famous play in the modern media is testament to the longevity of the play and its principle themes, and also to its lasting popularity. Bearing in mind that a lot of these adaptations stick quite closely to the recognised ?official? scripts, this shows that Hamlet transcends a play of fantastical scenarios and has entered the public consciousness as a piece of classic and enduring literature, fantasy or no fantasy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The contrasting colours of red and white emphasise his predicament. ?My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.? The repetition of the word ?my? emphasises his possessive character, the juxtaposition created by this quote and his reasoned catechism of justice suggest the passions that has overwhelmed his mind. The repetition of the word ?o? suggest a complete a change is verbal control, Claudius?s speech is now recognizably marked by this sound of suffering. ?O? creates a sense ambiguity and its auricular power as a vocalized sound reveal that his deepest thought is expressed in inarticulate speech. 4. The setting of the closet scene emphasises psychological importance in connection with the Oedipus complex. In this scene Hamlet insults his mother, emphasising her lust, infidelity and weakness. Hamlet states the consequences associated with Gertrude?s actions ?blush of modesty?, ?as false as dicers? oath?. Hamlet is disgusted by Gertrude hasty remarriage and feels that it is an indication of the downfall in her principles that was to be followed in her marriage with King Hamlet. He has very strict views of how people should carry themselves. Hamlet considers the queen too mature to succumb to the ?rebellious hell? that is sensuality. He cannot understand why Gertrude?s ?heyday in the blood? is not tame. Gertrude?s intimacy with Claudius is socially condemnable because it transgresses from the idea that women only engage in sexual acts to have children. In this scene Hamlet and Gertrude are discussing Gertrude sexuality and her relationship with Claudius, he uses imagery of their incestuous relationship ?to live in the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, stewed in corruption, honeying and making love over the nasty sty?. Towards the end of the scene Hamlet instructs his mother to abstain sexual activity with Claudius, ?refrain tonight and that shall lend a king of easiness to the next abstinence...? The closet scene reveals the degree of Hamlet?s concern with his mother?s sexuality, interpretations and readings can arise from this as he may have feelings and other motivations towards his mother which can be seen as an oedipal complex. ...read more.

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