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Show an understanding of the dramatic devices used by Shakespeare to substantiate Hamlets view that 'Denmark's a prison'.

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Show an understanding of the dramatic devices used by Shakespeare to substantiate Hamlets view that 'Denmark's a prison'. Shakespeare uses a number of dramatic devices in order to portray the isolation and entrapment that Hamlet feels, in a clear understandable manner, thereby allowing the audience to clearly identify and sympathise with his feelings. He is successfully able to establish this through a number of dramatic devices, such as the effective use of soliloquies, the detailed settings in the play, the behaviour of the other characters, the language used throughout the play and finally the situations in which Hamlet finds himself. " Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (Act 1 scene 4) As soon as the play begins immediately there is an atmosphere of intrigue; the line above clearly indicates and suggests to the audience that there is going to be turmoil and trouble surrounding the play and this statement clearly fits in with the idea that "Denmark is a prison". The first scene is full of short, quick questions and statements, which adds to this overall atmosphere of the play. "Who is there?" "Stand ho! Who is there?" (Act 1 scene 1) There are many images in the play of Hamlet which add to this claustrophobic, trapped atmosphere, including a number of recurrent images, dealing with disease, corruption, pain, suffering, death and the breaking of the laws of nature. An early reference of the unwholesomeness of the time occurs in Act 1, scene 2, 135-7 when Hamlet views the world as: "an unweeded garden That grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature possess it merely." ...read more.


He quickly realises that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are in the pay of his uncle; this shatters his trust of people further as they are supposed to be his friends, 'Be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for or no.' One of Hamlets main reasons for feeling so imprisoned is the fact that he can trust no one. He feels isolated and alone. He feels anger towards his mother and therefore cannot confide or rely on her, he also feels same way about his uncle. It probably feels worst to him that he cannot trust his own friends, however he manages to console himself by saying that it is probably because they are being paid. It probably affects him the most when he finds out that even Ophelia cannot be trusted. Gertrude, Claudius and Polonius all spy and interrogate Hamlet on his supposed madness. Polonius does not even mind eavesdropping on conversations between Ophelia and Hamlet, and Gertrude and Hamlet. The idea that there is always someone around the corner creates a huge amount of intensity and this very claustrophobic feeling. In the film of Hamlet, Brannon is extremely effective in creating a claustrophobic setting for the film. There are a lot of corridors and corners in the castle for which people can hide behind and around. Also during Hamlets encounters with the ghost, the atmosphere was dark, gloomy and very foggy, which was effective in creating an uncertain feeling. Hamlets character, in general is an extremely important asset in creating this impression of claustrophobia for both Hamlet as well as the audience. ...read more.


Hamlet is a complex play, which deals with several interrelated themes. The most obvious theme in the play and the one, which reflects the cause and intensity of Hamlets feelings of imprisonment, is the theme of taking revenge. Hamlet feels even more pressure due to this theme than anything else due to the fact that others around him such as Fortinbras and Laertes attempt taking revenge for their particular causes. Fortinbras wants to take revenge on Denmark for the losses sustained by his father in a duel with Hamlets father. Laertes seeks to avenge the death of his father and the insanity and subsequent death of Ophelia. This contrasts with Hamlets personality and lack of action. Hamlet has lost a father and he has also been hurt by the over-hasty marriage between his mother and uncle and yet this is not enough for him to leap to action and even attempt to take revenge. This play clearly reflects and substantiates the reasons as to why Hamlet feels so claustrophobic thereby driving him to describe his own home as being a 'prison'. Shakespeare uses a number of different devices in order to create this impression, such as the effective use of soliloquies, the detailed scenes in the play, the behaviour of the characters, the language used throughout the play and finally the situation in which Hamlet finds himself. All of the Devices, which have been used, add to this very dramatic atmosphere of intrigue and menace throughout the play of Hamlet, thereby creating a very claustrophobic atmosphere. Bilkiss Bashir ...read more.

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