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'A' Level students are considering cutting out the first scene from their production of Hamlet - What would be your argument for keeping the scene?

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Scene one or scene one? 'A' Level students are considering cutting out the first scene from their production of Hamlet. What your argument be for keeping the scene? Explain your reasons and why you consider it to be important and how it adds to the overall dramatic effect of Act one and to the rest of the play. The play begins with the changing of the guard on a cold, winters, night at the castle of Ellsinore where the guards are talking about a ghost Bernardo thinks he has seen, with Horatio, a scholar and friend of Prince Hamlet. The short sentences increase the dramatic tension. Horatio is sceptical but the ghost appears again and Horatio is soon won over to its reality. The men liken the appearance of the ghost to the late King Hamlet and wonder whether it is an omen. The men believe the ghost will speak to Prince Hamlet, the dead king's son, and agree to tell him about it. ...read more.


Throughout the dialogue of Horatio, the audience learn of the current political situation, that King Hamlet is dead and that he won his lands after killing King Fortinbras of Norway. The audience also learn at the end of this scene that King Hamlet's Son and heir is called Prince Hamlet and has therefore not succeeded his late father to the throne. The introduction to some of the main characters is important to the rest of the play. Although they are not always directly involved in this scene the information given about them is significant in understanding their parts. Horatio is introduced as a scholar, his knowledge is respected by the guards, who want him to see the ghost. At first sceptical, he soon changes his mind. His sighting of the ghost makes it credible. This knowledge is revealed when he gives details about King Hamlets past, his reference to Rome and Neptune and the way in which he challenges the ghost. ...read more.


"Who's there?" The following lines are short and questioning. This gives a feeling of uncertainty and fear. The scene is set at night it is dark and cold. "............Tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart" This gives the impression of the supernatural in referring to the ghost as "the thing" it is made more mysterious. The fact that the ghost is silent and dressed in armour makes it more menacing. The impact of the first scene is considerable. The King is dead, probably murdered. The Kings death, and his ghost, who will have full knowledge of the death of the body it once inhabited has appeared. The general mood of the play has been established. The dark, cold, silent night and the uncertainty of the men about what they have seen have created an air of tension. The initial scepticism of Horatio has been created and the audience now want to meet Prince Hamlet and learn what the ghost is going to reveal. Alex Cleverly 11cl 850 words ...read more.

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