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What Aspects of Hamlet are likely to have been of particular interest to Elizabethan and early Jacobean audiences, and how different might a modern audience's response to the play be?

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Introduction

What Aspects of Hamlet are likely to have been of particular interest to Elizabethan and early Jacobean audiences, and how different might a modern audience's response to the play be? Hamlet in a way is a play that any audience of any time can relate too. People can sympathise with Hamlet, on an individual level. The play's power to activate complex, multiple perspectives on a single issue or event resides in its sensitivity to the competing prejudices and sympathies of a diversely minded audience. The play has a different impact on every person therefore Hamlet himself is a character people could relate too. Elizabethan attitudes were incomparable with societies current attitudes. Shakespeare lived in a time of great change and excitement in England a time of geographical discovery, international trade, learning and creativity. It was also a time of international tension and internal uprisings that came close to war. It is no coincidence that such events take place in Hamlet the play as well. It is apparent that Shakespeare wanted to strike a chord in the play so that people could relate to in the play sensitively. There is a sense of international conflict in Hamlet because of the advancing army of Prince Fortinbras heading towards Denmark. ...read more.

Middle

Hamlet may have been written by Shakespeare as a controversial this is probably unlikely as in the period he lived in he would have been severely punished by the government if his play had been deemed to be an attack upon the religion of the day. In terms of making the play seem rotten and disorderly, poison and disease played an important role in the play. Old Hamlet's cause of death of course, was poison that was poured into his ear by his brother. 'Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatch'd, Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,' (Act:I Scene: v Line:74-76) Claudius had managed to get rid of allot of his problems but such behaviour would have been considered blasphemous by an Elizabethan audience for a man to kill his brother and lust after his sister-in-law. The religious beliefs of the audience would have made them hate the character of Claudius and consider him an evil villain. To an Elizabethan audience women would have been considered the misfortune of all the male characters, which caused many conflicts within the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

'A villain kills my father, and for that I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.' (Act:III Scene: iii Lines: 76-79) A modern audience would rather have Hamlet kill Claudius quickly and not dwell on the matter for days on end, it is moral for Claudius to die because the audience knows it is a just act of revenge and the only way for old Hamlet to go to heaven. So when a modern audience looks at Hamlet they see the negative effects of his hesitation. The political themes high-lighted in the play would not have a downbeat impact on a modern audience because we live a democratic society with law and order orchestrated by diplomatic governments and there is democratic control on the way of life and how people conduct them s elves. The exploitation and suffering of women in the play is one of the few things that would disturb a modern audience. The fact that women are treated as property raises concern about the ill treatment of women at the time Hamlet was written. Ophelia is suppressed by her father and brother and Gertrude is stuck between supporting her son or husband. ...read more.

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