• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do you respond to Shakespeare's presentation of the impact of Christian belief in Hamlet?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

June 2001 - Question (b) How do you respond to Shakespeare's presentation of the impact of Christian belief in Hamlet? You should base your answer on a detailed examination of at least two appropriate sequences of your choice. Christianity and Christian beliefs are not explored in a necessarily extensive way in Hamlet. This is because matters of religious significance could be said to have been common knowledge as the religion of the country was Christianity in some denomination or another. It would therefore seem, then, that such beliefs would be upheld, and held in respect at that, being a canon for which probably everybody accepted as being correct. However, there are instances in the play where it seems that the Bard has used religion as a means of creating a deep reaction in the audience. In Act I scene ii, Hamlet mentions God and his canon, in Hamlet's opening speech, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon 'gainst self slaughter. ...read more.

Middle

I am thy father's spirit, Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, And for the day confined to fast in fires, Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature Are burnt and purged away. These notions of purgatory and the plane of limbo are beliefs that the Elizabethans would also have been familiar with, being the beliefs of the Catholics, which, as I stated earlier, the people had just departed from. The Protestants, however, didn't believe in purgatory, and the spirit must therefore definitely be evil. This would definitely have caused a stir amongst the Elizabethans, for it would make the apparition become strangely dark and enticing, in the way that even people today are attracted to that which is forbidden. Shakespeare then re-introduces the notion of revenge and murder not as wrong, but as something that was honourable to do, something that had to be done, Ghost Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

The most impacting line of the play, to do with religion, is in act I scene v, Hamlet states, The time is out of joint. O, cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right! Here Hamlet states that he was born into this family, royalty and country, and it is therefore his duty to revenge his father. This puts the audience in Hamlet's shoes. Would they oppose their own religion, for the sake of upholding the honour of their family's name? This was an especially challenging question for the Elizabethans at a time when they were in religious confusion. Shakespeare uses religion as an amazing dialogue technique of pulling the audience into the lives of the characters in the play, by putting forward question of faith and belief, and questioning an abstract creation such as honour. His manipulation of the aforementioned things is quite simply, amazing. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work