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Hamlet Act 1 Scene 1

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Introduction

Hamlet Act 1 Scene 1 Aniela Baseley 13FO On the battlements of Castle Elsinore, Bernardo arrives to relieve Francisco of his watch. Horatio and Marcellus arrive and greet Francisco. They talk of the ghost they have seen 'this apparition'. Marcellus has invited Horatio to come and see the ghost for himself. Shakespeare immediately sets the scene, which will be prevalent throughout the whole play, which is concerned with what is truth and what is illusion. Horatio doubts the men's reports, but before Bernardo can reaffirm what he has seen, the ghost appears. Horatio admits that he can see the ghost himself and he recognizes it as the recently deceased King Hamlet. The guards are anticipating this haunting and we can tell this from the line, "Who's there?" This sentence is short and snappy which creates a sense of expectation and tension, which continues into the act. ...read more.

Middle

say the ghost is the king, this would create the feeling in intense mystery- as for the ghost to take the shape of the king would be considered blasphemy as the king would be supposedly chosen by God. Horatio tells Barnardo that the ghost looks like the deceased King Hamlet, also known as Old Hamlet. Horatio sees that the ghost was dressed the same way as King Hamlet was when he defeated King Fortinbras of Norway. 'Where'h the ambitious Norway combated.' The story is that King Hamlet went to Norway and fought Fortinbras in single combat. The loser agreed to yield all his land to the other king. However, in the time since King Hamlet died, the son of King Fortinbras, known as young Fortinbras, has been gathering together troops and is threatening to attack Denmark. ...read more.

Conclusion

Marcellus knows where young Hamlet is and leaves with Horatio to find him. The reader should remember that the Elizabethan audience believed in ghosts, and normally they represent the spirit of God as opposed to witches, who were sent by the devil. The appearance of ghosts could convey a variety of meanings. In this instance, the appearance of this particular ghost, dressed in his armour signifies that he could also be a soldier returning to complete a task. There are clearly religious undertones this play, and scholars argue whether it represents Shakespeare's own Roman Catholic point of view, and he uses Hamlet to express this in Protestant Elizabethan England. The bulk of the play takes place within the walls of Elsinore Castle, which Hamlet later describes as a prison. The walls of the castle will witness many cruel deeds, which will have a dramatic influence on all those contained within the walls. ...read more.

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