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With particular reference to the language of the play, discuss the development of Hamlet's revenge in the first three acts

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English Coursework: With particular reference to the language of the play, discuss the development of Hamlet's revenge in the first three acts. Shakespeare's Hamlet belongs to a genre of plays known as Revenge -Tragedies popular in Elizabethan England, it shows how Hamlet's life is transformed when his father is murdered, and in the first three acts the audience sees how his revenge develops towards the three most important people in his life: Gertrude, his mother; Claudius, his step-father and uncle; and Ophelia, the woman he loves. From Hamlet's very first lines it is clear that he dislikes Claudius, and his mother's "o'er hasty marriage" to him. It is also obvious that he is desperately unhappy and angry at how close he is to Claudius now: "A little more than kin and less than kind"; "... I am too much in the sun." This word play showing that he doesn't consider himself Claudius's son. Hamlet has his suspicions about his stepfather but doesn't have any evidence to prove what he suspects; his desperation, frustration and anger are all seen in his first soliloquy: "O that this too too sullied flesh would melt ... married with my uncle, / My father's brother - but no more like my father / Than I to Hercules. ... She married - O most wicked speed! To post / With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!" ...read more.


A fishmonger in Elizabethan times could have meant pimp, showing that Hamlet thinks that Polonius is using his daughter to gain favour within the court. Hamlet's madness convinces everyone, even Ophelia who cries for him in act 3 sc 1, "O, what a noble mind is here overthrown" and hopes that he returns to normal. Claudius is the most affected by Hamlet's madness and appears to be quite shaken: in the first act he delivers long speeches, but by Act 2 he is reduced to short sentences like "We will try it." In Hamlet's third soliloquy, at the end of the act, Hamlet shows his true feelings behind the veil of madness he has conjured. He is angry with himself that he cannot like Pyrrhus covered in blood "total gules, over-sized with coagulate gore " avenge his father's death, while one of the players can cry over Hecuba's speech, a fictional woman to whom he is not related: Hamlet reproaches himself for his apparent cowardice and lack of action "o what a rogue and peasant slave am I!" He still maintains his hatred towards his uncle: "Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! He plans to use the "Mouse-Trap" play to test whether the ghost is honest or an evil spirit sent to trap him into eternal damnation "The spirit that I have seen /May be a devil. ...read more.


Dismissing Polonius without much regret " Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell. / I took thee for thy better." Hamlet continues to insult her: " In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, / Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love/ Over the nasty sty. Hamlet is reminded by the Ghost of his duty to his dead father: "Do not forget. This visitation / Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose." Showing that Hamlet has been deflected by his anger at his mother's betrayal from avenging his father. This Act finishes with a renewal of a calmer Hamlet's trust in his mother " Mother, good night indeed." And the promise of a final outcome when his plans and Claudius's plans coincide. "When in one line two crafts directly meet." Hamlet is the most complex of Shakespeare's tragic heroes - there isn't one specific character flaw that leads to the failure of his mission - his tragedy stems from the fact that he cannot act quickly enough to exact his revenge; Hamlet prefers to be a thinker, but is cast in the role of an avenger, his need for absolute proof of Claudius' guilt, his fear of precipitate action gives rise to his need to be absolutely certain of the justice of his actions, and results in him plunging the Danish court into further tragedy and needless deaths. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rob West 10W 08/05/2007 English Miss Kitson Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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