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Discuss the ways in which act 1 is an Effective opening to the play Hamlet.

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Introduction

Discuss the ways in which act 1 is an Effective opening to the play Hamlet. The play Hamlet is a dramatic love story written by William Shakespeare. It is set in the late sixteenth century. Most scenes take place in the grounds of the Danish castle at Elsinore. The play has many characters, and the main ones are members of the royal family or were close to them. It is a very long, complicated story that twists into a tragic end. The main characters are Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius, King Hamlet, Polonious and his two children, Laertes and Ophelia. In this essay I will be analyzing and discussing the opening scenes of Hamlet and the use of dramatic effects and techniques. The main themes I will be looking for are appearance and reality. Scene I introduces an effective opening to the play. The scene is set at the castle grounds of Elsinore. It is bitterly cold "Tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart" and it is twelve o'clock "Tis now struck twelve". This creates an effective opening, as we know it will be dark, and nighttime is useful for portraying supernatural or evil occurrences. The audience will there for be prepared or expecting a supernatural being. ...read more.

Middle

Scene two is set with a party in the royal hall celebrating the marriage of Claudius and Gertrude, as well as paying respects to the death of his brother Hamlet "Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death". This shows on a mixture of joy and grief throughout the hall, which reflects the mood between Hamlet and Claudius. This contrast in mood becomes clearer and clearer to the audience as the play progresses, bringing in the theme of perception. When Hamlet enters the hall he has been mourning over his father, "why is it that the clouds still hang on you?" He is also dressed in black whereas everyone else is dressed in white, showing a contrast between the celebration of Claudius and Gertrude's marriage, and the death of King Hamlet. It also shows a contrast of Hamlets state of mind to everyone else's. We can also tell the mood of Hamlet by his attire and his body language. Hamlet does not show respect to Claudius as he plays with words and is awkward with him, "a little more than kin, a little less than kind". This is said as a comment aside, but is directed towards Claudius. This line is illogical, and Hamlet admits he is a relative, but suggests he is not as enthusiastic or likeable as King Hamlet was. ...read more.

Conclusion

This scene brings great surprise to the audience and amplifies that Gertrude was not as trustworthy as she seemed. This creates an atmosphere of deception around the audience as the audience had been led to believing Gertrude was kind and sweet to Hamlet, and brings in another matter of appearance and reality. This whole Act consisted of different trusts being broken between the audience and the characters. This is why Shakespeare is so clever with his works, as he can play with them mind of the audience through the use of acting. The whole theme of appearance and reality relates throughout the whole of the play, as each character hides many secrets that are all unfolded at the end. Most appearance that are put on, relate around Hamlet. For example, Claudius and Gertrude (who are spying themselves) pay some old school friends of Hamlet to spy on him. Hamlet soon uncovers what they were up to. This theme of appearance and reality relates to many deaths as well. The play finishes up with all the main characters dead, due to conspiracy behind characters backs, that, only the audience knew about. This in turn with deception created a perfect atmosphere of tension, expectancy and anxiety. Ben Sims 10H 23/10/02 ...read more.

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