• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How is the mood (atmosphere) created in the opening scenes of Hamlet and what key themes are established? How does The Revengers Tragedy illuminate your understanding of the core text?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How is the mood (atmosphere) created in the opening scenes of ?Hamlet? and what key themes are established? How does ?The Revenger?s Tragedy? illuminate your understanding of the core text? Some of the most important devices used by Shakespeare to establish mood and they key themes of ?Hamlet? can be found within the opening scenes of the play. Even the setting of Act 1, Scene 1, upon the battlements at Elsinore castle, gives the audience an idea of the militaristic nation in which the play is set and further alludes to the idea of political turbulence within the play. The opening half-line of ?who?s there?? spoken by Barnardo, challenges Francisco, which is contrary to military practice (Francisco should challenge him) and this error further indicates the nervous atmosphere surrounding the scene. The half-line suggest uncertainty and mystery, and as Barnardo continues to say ??Tis now struck twelve? it is clear that Shakespeare has gone to every effort in order to create a setting which transmits to the audience through time and place an atmosphere of suspense. The audience knows that something is untoward as Marcellus asks ?What, has that thing appeared tonight??, and as the ghost of Hamlet?s father enters it must surely have been an electrifying moment in the theatre for a Shakespearian audience. ...read more.

Middle

Both protagonists are also in direct opposition to the establishment and can be seen as the ?underdog?, a position which creates an element of sympathy from the audience and can be used by the authors to portray the protagonists as figures of moral standing of higher prestige than that of the established courts, however as the play continues the endless pursuit of revenge will inevitably colour the audience?s views of the two main characters. The fact that all characters present in the opening scene of ?Hamlet? agree to seeing the ghostly figure helps Shakespeare establish one of the key themes of the play; appearance and reality. The audience had undergone a process of distinguishing between truth and illusion by listening to the arguments about the ghost, but as he appears, their investigative tendencies are approved of, which encourages further questioning to take place throughout the play, helping Shakespeare to get his audience to question the authority figures within the court. Unlike in ?The Revenger?s Tragedy?, the audience must wait until the second scene of ?Hamlet? to be introduced to the protagonist. The opening speech by Claudius gives him an air of political astuteness required of a monarch. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Hamlet responds to the Queen?s request for him to stay in Denmark and not leave for Wittenberg, he replies with the pronoun ?you?, instead of ?thou?, a subtle adjustment by Shakespeare which shows Hamlet?s current state of relations with his mother, in that he would rather address her formally rather than as if they were close family members. Alternatively, he may have chosen this choice of pronoun in order to show respect to the Queen. The soliloquy from Hamlet which follows the King and Queen?s exit is strongly emotional and more fragmented than Claudius?s, showing that it is less rehearsed and founded more on his raw emotions, giving a sign to the audience that his speech can be more trusted. It is similar to that of Vindice?s in ?The Revenger?s Tragedy?, another comparison which demonstrates the effectiveness of soliloquies in enabling the audience to achieve a great understanding of the characters? motives. As Hamlet says ??Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature? he is alluding to his current views on the state of Denmark. His comparison via classical allusions of Claudius and his father as ?that was to this Hyperion to a satyr? shows further his contempt for Claudius? abilities as king, and further demonstrates Hamlet?s scholarly abilities. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    A brown man in a white nation, Kip has grown emotionally detached, aware that people will not always react positively to him. His emotional detachment stands in the way of his relationships, most significantly his relationship with Hana. Kip (In-Depth Analysis)

  2. othello - opening scene analysis

    "Damned in a fair wife", "More than a spinster", "By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster" These are the comments Iago makes about Cassio, he believes he is not suitable to be a lieutenant. Iago refers to him as a mathematician and a counter-cast (accountant)

  1. Analyse the ways in which Shakespeare uses dramatic conventions in his plays and why ...

    This happens when Hamlet attacks Gertrude so violently that she cries out for help. Polonius responds from his hiding place and Hamlet who thinks he is Claudius, stabs through the wall hanging and killing him. He then continues his furious indictment of Gertrude, until the ghost enters, reminding him of his mission.

  2. Analyse Shakespeares presentation of the theme of betrayal in Hamlet and show how far ...

    is her weakness that leads Vindice to believe that she has instigated a degree of betrayal. Gratiana exemplifies female frailty - as a widow, her financial insecurity, lends some explanation to her susceptibility to bribery. Again, women are shown not to intentionally carry out betrayal, rather it is a product of their weakness.

  1. Wuthering Heights Setting

    Later, he reflects on a love he once had, and explains how he loved a woman from behind his emotional and social barriers, but he dared not to express his feelings toward her. When she finally returns his love, he seals his feelings from her and returns to his former antisocial self.

  2. Examine Shakespeares presentation of women in Hamlet. Show how far your appreciation and understanding ...

    act 3 scene iv of the play evidence of the strain this has put on her conscience comes to light during her conversation with Hamlet, as she says ?Take this infectious spot out of my soul?. A feminist reading of the negative presentation of the female characters in the two

  1. Shakespeares Hamlet and Existentialism

    Hamlet has a good reason to kill Claudius, yet he fails to do it. How can Fortinbras sacrifice so much for such a futile purpose? In this scene, Hamlet realizes the brutality of humanity and first ponders the idea that no one is safe?another central pillar of existentialism.

  2. Compare and contrast the ways in which Shakespeare, Plath, and Winterson present characters on ...

    restraints on what she can and cannot do, as well as creating expectations about what she is meant to do and how she should act in line with the church and their ideals. Hamlet is set in Denmark, the tragedy was written towards ther latter half of the Elizabethan period, which is much earlier than the previous texts.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work